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Updated: Jan 25

DCwise.eu shares in this post ideas on how you can improve your solutions ➟

When running a logistical operation - due to its nature often a very complex environment - there is a major benefit to be received from setting up conveyors and slides.



1️⃣ The "Need"


Something peculiar is going on with slides & conveyors. Although as a kid everybody wants a slide and just seeing one made you smile; once you come into a logistical environment the enthusiasm is gone.


⭐ In this we might be overlooking a large potential for improvement!? ⭐


Today there is a lot of talk and direction towards mechanisation automation especially towards the newer AMRs, Drones, Robots, and much more. But there are few more simple ways to automate manual steps then by using slides/conveyors. This while they move your goods without much effort from point A to point B.


👉So in this blog post we suggest a review of the potential for these type of resources; wondering if it wasn't overlooked.


Note: as of now we refer to conveyors but know that this also can be a slide, ramps or other similar resources that facilitate movements.


2️⃣ The "Review"


Question is how to approach the review?

Start by looking at the repetitive movements in your operation as there are:

- (un)loading upon a dock

- moving boxes over a distance in receiving sorting/packing cells

- throwing waste in the dumpsters

- moving back empty totes/handling box to the workstations/cells

- moving pallets and boxes up and down between levels

- and so on


✔ Important first of all is to validate if the material is suited or can be made suited for conveyors/slides. Are these standard pallets or bulldozers? The first one is eligible the second one will be hard.


✔ Second element to validate is the volumes. What is the number of moves or frequency of use in this going from the same starting to the same ending point. The higher the volume the more interesting a conveyor or slide becomes.


👉 Where the review often breaks is that "all" volume is requested to move over the "tool". This includes the oversize, peakvolumes, fragile, etc... which might not match up with a standard solution. Often at this point the idea is dumped although the majority of the volume might be suited!


⭐Question is why not let that portion of the volume that fits move through the improvement and capture the related benefits. Practically there just needs to be left space for the remaining (exceptions) to move through another process.


Examples:

- Install on a limited surface/docks conveyors to cooperate with the (un)loading process. Oversize can be placed next to these docks and docking can be aligned to the different docks depending of the truck content.

- Use a slide from a second level mezzanine to supply only the "small boxes" to a packing station. The other orders pass through the current process of using a gate, elevator, etc


✔ Another element is the cost and ROI.

A gravity conveyor for boxes or pallets is not that expensive. Once that one can be supported by the improvements more complex concepts can even be reviewed.

Also a gravity conveyor is a good first step to become familiar and get acceptance.

Note: that it works well together with the automation (AMR etc) while the workload can queue (buffer) on these. Explaining why one sees a lot of conveyors in automation environments.


✔ Last but not least there is the acceptance.

With every new idea there is the resistance, opinions and fear ...

⭐ To overcome this why not install one testing ramp... use it, abuse it, and see how it works and fits in with your operations.

E.g. Just by installing maybe a drop with just 3 palletspots. This is also an ideal way to get familiar and the best end-result in place and work out the potential kinks before moving a larger impacting setup.


👉 For sure a good rack-supplier will assist in working out such concepts.



3️⃣ The modern variants


Its important to know that even the conveyor-technology is constantly evolving...


⭐ Modern conveyors are more flexible in nature then their older counterparts.


E.g. there are now (powered automated) conveyors which can be

- easily moved (while they are for example on wheels),

- easy to set up (while powered through one connection and a plug and play steering) - are made up out of "lego" pieces which are just connected to each other as per need.


👉Its easy to see that these types of conveyors can be used in flexible ways to support changing needs and processes over the course of time and again new opportunities are opening... while the volumes needed to pay back the investment become easier to be found.

This works immediately into the analysis of the volumes and the "from-to" relation. While before an installation might be fix in nature, now it can be moved and used to set as per need, as per project, as per job, etc.


☞ Now you should be (more) empowered to improve your operation and hopefully we will see more smiles and slides 😊


More interesting information can be found @ our blog.


To further enable your transformation journey & understand better the potential of the platforms feel free to get in touch in 👉 jan.baert@dcwise.eu

#warehousing #warehousesolutions #warehouseoptimization



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Updated: Jan 26

With years of warehouse process-, storage- and systems engineering experience DCwise.eu is there to support any warehouse operation to pick-up and deal with the current and future challenges. In this post we high-light the (regular) review of your warehouse Lay-out.



1️⃣ The "Benefits"

First of all why would you do a review of your warehouse lay-out?


✔ As per experience while an operation and its challenges are part of "living environments" (i.e. changing over time) the lay-out might need to be changed too to accommodate.


What a typical review does for you is improve your lay-out to claim following improvements:

➕ Safety => optimizing such people, resources and goods are more safe

➕ Space => as in better utilization of the available cube

➕ Processes => the better structured your lay-out the better the flow

➕ Operational control => more flow and overview means better management


One of the main elements to pick-up is that a lay-out review is like maintaining your "car". You can deal with it when you get it in trouble when it doesn't work anymore, but better is to regular take a look to prevent issues... So before your processing or storage space get into trouble "lubricate" your processes to keep them flowing.



2️⃣ The "Start"

Next question is then how to start with this? There are many ways, but lets for now assume that we have an up running layout and we would like to limit the (regular) review to the minimum.


👉One way to approach your warehouse lay-out in practical way is to link this to the more common "traffic element". In this you can start by asking the following types of questions:

✔ Does it flow?

✔ Can it take the different volumes? Or is there a frustration with regular congestion or even traffic jams?

✔ Is it safe? Are there many accidents or near-misses? Does the team feel safe?

✔ Is the direction clear? Do new-comers quickly see how to move through it?

And so on.


A very negative answer to one of the questions will indicate the urgency and direction where to look for improvement. Is the issue largely safety or more optimization related... this can be immediately linked to the need and depth of the review.



3️⃣ The "Review"

Once its clear what the goals and needs of the review are the next step is to start the review itself.


👉 A basic method to do this is to use value stream mapping; ie map out all the relevant (main) streams and quantify. This is then done at the proper level of depth (high level vs detailed) based on the previous. Make sure in this to get the relevant data; e.g. number of trips and make it graphical. Either right on a lay-out or on a simplified version of the lay-out.


Next question is how to analyse this?

👉 This is done by mixing following elements:

- the available data and its representation,

- a good understanding of the business needs,

- experience in warehouse processes,

- expertise in drawing lay-outs including leveraging warehouse "best-practices".


✔ Important during the lay-out review is to make the link with the other elements such as the processes, resources, etc. What is the capacity used of the resource, including driving aisles, etc. All needs to be in sync and supporting the overal warehouse performance. Start by looking at resources running at high and low capacities..

✔ Another indication for issues is "spaghetti-flows"; meaning if there is too much movement back and forth, across, and so on there is a high risk for efficieny loss and safety issues.

✔ Depending the need and situation this analysis is done 2D, 3D or even 4D (taking time into account - see also "Why more "3D-thinking" is needed in warehousing" for more information).



⭐ Goal of DCwise is to help you build a healthy warehouse operation.

By now it should be clear that one of the main elements driving your operations health is the lay-out.


👉 If you want to know more see www.dcwise.eu or get in contact jan.baert@dcwise.eu


A specific project scope or starting from a "Facility Health Scan", we help in generating the plan and guide you through your warehouse transformation.


#logistics#warehouse#warehouseoperations#storage#transform



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Updated: Jan 25


A typical issue in warehousing is running out of space... with potential grid-locks and operational impact looming. In this post DCwise.eu gives practical tips on how and where to look for solutions to improve your warehouse capacity to be leveraged for more storage and/or processing space.



1️⃣ Stocking policy

First start with a review of the goods you are currently storing.


Are you stocking the right materials, at the right quantities, in the proper condition from raw materials over finished goods up to also indirect materials? And what about items that are only supportive of the operation up to archives littering around.


Go beyond the typical "supply optimization":

✔ For sure do regularly scrapping; to push out obsolete materials, optimize your stocking of indirect materials, archives cleaned, etc.

✔ Bring the management of your non-direct materials (packing materials, pallets, etc) to the same levels as the direct materials.

✔ Review supporting elements to see if they really need to be on site, in-doors, as sized as they are, etc.

✔ Drive in this towards digitization in tracking and keeping of samples, records, ...


⭐Best practice is to map out what is taking what portion of number of pallets or cube (m³) and then relate this to its movement &/ need. "Oversimplified" if it doesn't "move"/"is needed" why is it then part of the (core) warehouse?



2️⃣ Processing & supportive area's

Next review the area assigned to processing. In this see if you can reduce the space needed by improving your processes and by this freeing it up for other purposes.


✔ Having a more balanced (work)load can drive that you need less processing area to process the peaks.

✔ Other example would be to optimizing the tools present in the area and/or processing quicker (leaving less non processed queue).

✔ Also validate if you can or even should reduce (by outsourcing, pushing-out, scrapping, etc) all area's that are just there for support.


⭐Important is to regularly question the space assigned. While there is a naturel tendency to systematically increase the processing space; which is typically driven by the need on the extreme moments.



3️⃣ Storage methods

Once its clear what needs to be stored (see 1️⃣) and what overall space is available to do this (see what is left from number 2️⃣); next question is how use the space most efficiently to store these.


So what "Storage methods" are being used? Just using "floor space" or "standard solutions" such as normal racking & shelving?

✔ Biggest improvement lies typically in: "Looking up!" Do you still have space above your goods then this might be a path to investigate. Even if the material is not stack-able then many solutions exist.

✔ Similar to the above; is there systematically air left above the goods "within" their locations? Then maybe a re-profiling is in order.

✔ Other option lies in going into more depth with your goods. Either by making it a natural flow for goods (flow- &/ drive-in racks, etc) that are moving or by placing material more in depth that is not needed constantly/urgently.


⭐In all of this an experienced "rack-supplier" is often a good partner to review the potential of improving the density of goods per available warehouse cube.



4️⃣ Slotting

Last but not least there is the "slotting". Here you determine what goes where on a sku level. In optimizing this one can drive a better use of the available space. See what happens if you play with the parameters. Maybe by increasing a parameter a little bit -items can be pushed to another differente storage solution enhancing the overall storage health.


✔ Best is to start from an overview with the current occupancy and the slotting parameters used. Storage Solutions that have still space left can be leveraged to make grid-locked solutions healthy again. Either by moving stock to them by tweaking the parameters or when the combination of surplus and shortage is structural to change them over to storage methods that are structurally more needed.

⭐Just make sure to take into account the process impact of the moves/re-directions/changes.


☞ Overall you will see that applying these tips leads to a better utilization of the total available cube! 😊


If these basic solutions did not solve the trick then it can be used to advocate more drastic ones such as expansion, externalization, etc.

To further enable your transformation journey & understand better the potential of your operations feel free to get in touch in 👉 jan.baert@dcwise.eu or DCwise.eu

#warehousing #warehousesolutions #warehouseoptimization




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