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Should You Buy Used Warehouse Equipment?

04 May 2016

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When new warehouse businesses start up or are in between spending tons of money for an overhaul of old equipment, then the temptation is to buy new equipment. Buying new is okay. However, it might not be the best move for your company under all circumstances.

For example, a startup may have issues concerning financing. Under these circumstances it may be more cost effective buying used equipment rather than new equipment so you have extra money for some other important segment of the business including hiring personnel and selecting and renting or purchasing a facility. This is also true if you plan to expand the business.

Courtesy: UNEX Manufacturing at flickr.com)

Courtesy: UNEX Manufacturing at flickr.com)

For example, a startup warehouse is going to need container-handling equipment. There are a number of benefits to buying used rather than new. For example, such a move can:

·      Reduce startup costs.
·      Offer a higher and quicker Return on Investment (ROI).
·      Save money for expansion.
·      Receive equipment immediately rather than wait to have it manufactured.
·      Permit you to buy name brand equipment at a reduced cost.
·      Save money for other uses like upgrading preventive maintenance or allow you to take a machine out of service for maintenance work while using other machines.
·      Be eco-friendly because the equipment has already been made, so there is no need to use more raw materials to make more.
·      Save a lot of money. In some circumstances, used equipment could cost less than 50 percent of a new machine.

Finding good used equipment may not be as difficult as you might think.  Many companies have been known to divest themselves of good reliable used equipment.

The same philosophy can be used in purchasing used office furniture. However, you need to take the time to inspect the used products. If the quality of the used furniture is bad, then it could fall apart on you only months after you purchase it.

Used office furniture that might have spots, nicks or scratches can easily be refurbished. For example, putting vinegar on a cloth and then rubbing that cloth over a surface can restore furniture so that it looks like new.

So now that you know there is another alternative to buying new equipment the obvious next question is: how do I go about selecting used warehouse equipment?

Exploring how to select used pallet racks can provide you with what you need to know when buying other used equipment.

Things you must do to select the right used pallet racks include:

·      Inspecting the product.  Take a person who is very familiar with the product, in this case pallet racks, with you so that he can inspect the item and ask pertinent questions. A person who works with the equipment can determine whether a used version is up to snuff.
·      Asking if the equipment can be refurbished. There is a distinction between offering just used products and refurbished products. Used products are sold as is while refurbished products have been restored to like new condition.
·      Selecting an established company from whom you can buy the used product. You want a company that has been in the industry for a number of years and has a tradition of performance and satisfied customers. Buy the used equipment from a company that has substantial stock. Make certain that the company you buy from will service what they sell. Ask about the cost of repairs. In short, get all the information you can and make sure you understand it before making a purchase.
·      Making sure that the product fits the specifications you need and will do everything it is supposed to do.

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Traffic congestion on I-75 between Macon and Atlanta is some of the worst in the US. But Georgia drivers may soon get a reprieve when the state completes a 40-mile-long, trucks-only freeway that runs parallel to the highway.

The first-of-its-kind publicly-funded highway is designed to help ease existing traffic and prepare for the anticipated increase in truck traffic resulting from the ongoing expansion of the Port of Savannah. The project will be funded by a mix of new taxes and fees imposed as part of the state’s transportation funding bill.

Statewide Expansion

If the new trucks-only freeway relieves current traffic woes the way state transportation officials expect, the idea could be expanded throughout the state — and possibly beyond.

The cargo container port in Savannah is expected to become one of the busiest in the nation within the next decade. That’s because it’s one of the first stops along the East Coast where “Supermax” cargo ships passing through the newly-widened and deepened Panama Canal can make port.

Highways leading out of the port already are crammed with trucks, crowding out automobile traffic. So when the port gets even busier, truck traffic is expected to double, or even triple, in volume, causing a traffic nightmare for drivers.

40% Traffic Reduction

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal recently cited an independent report that the new trucks-only highway will reduce congestion by up to 40 percent.

“These results are a testament to the positive impact this investment will have on Georgians in the near future and in the long-term,” Deal said in a news release. “This report confirms what we’ve been saying all along: That these projects will move the needle when it comes to driver and freight mobility.”

The new highway will be comprised of two designated, separated truck lanes in the northbound direction only, accommodating trucks leaving the port hauling cargo. State transportation department officials said southbound lanes could be considered in the future.

The proposed freeway links I-75 in McDonough to where it connects with I-475 in Macon, a distance of about 40 miles. The lanes would be separated from other lanes by a barrier.

Trucking industry officials already have publicly supported the proposal, citing the fact that it would be free from tolls for trucks.

Changing the Cargo Channel

The $6 billion Panama Canal expansion project allows significantly bigger cargo ships to make their way to ports along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast from Asia for the first time. Before the project, these Supermax ships could only make port along the West Coast cargo ports, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Seattle, and Oakland.

In preparation, $706 million in state and federal funds was spent on a dredging project to expand the port and deepen the Savannah River.

With the anticipated cargo boom at the Port of Savannah already underway, the area has become a focal point for new distribution centers and warehouses for some of the country’s biggest retailers, including Walmart, Ikea, Home Depot, Target and Pier 1 Imports.

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Here is a special sneak preview of some of the stories you will find coming soon on the Bahrns blog:

  • A busy stretch of interstate in Georgia will soon be reserved from truckers only as part of a multi-billion plan by the state to ease traffic congestion. We’ll tell you why it could launch a national trend toward truck-only turnpikes …
  • Should you purchase used warehouse equipment? Buying new is okay. However, it might not be the best move for your company under all circumstances. We tell you the pros and cons …
  • Self-dumping hoppers may be one of the simplest tools, but they are also one of the safest, most convenient, and easiest to use. We’ll take a look at these gravity-fed tools and how they could help your workplace become more efficient …

All this and much, much more can be found coming soon on the Bahrns blog … so stay tuned!

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fall preventionThe third annual national “Safety Stand-Down” — in which businesses nationwide take a time-out to review safety procedures with employees — is scheduled for May 2 through 6.

The event, which is sponsored by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, will once again focus on recognizing the hazards and prevention of falls in the construction industry, as well as other workplaces.

Most Falls Preventable

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls were the leading cause of death in construction site accidents, accounting for 337 or the 874 workplace fatalities in 2014. Plus, fall prevention safety standards were among the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards during that same fiscal year.

Last year, more than 2.5 million workers participated in OSHA’s Stand-Down event. This year, the agency hopes to double the participation, reaching a minimum of 5 million people — or approximately half of all the construction workers in the US.

Raising  Awareness about Fall Safety

Every construction business, work site and company are encouraged to participate in the event, in which work is temporarily suspended while employers talk directly to workers about fall prevention and other important safety issues. Other activities can include conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job specific hazards.

Employers seeking information to share or ideas on how to conduct their own Stand-Down events can visit a special website set up by OSHA with suggestions, materials, and highlights from previous successful events. They also can download a Certificate of Participation signed by US Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez that can be presented to workers participating in the event.

Free Events Open to Everyone

OSHA also is sponsoring a series of free training events in cities nationwide in which anybody is welcome to attend. In the Midwest, the training will be held from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at the Kirkwood Continuing Education Center, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. While the event is free, registration is required.

In addition, two larger scale events will be held in the Washington, D.C. area. On Tuesday, May 3, work at the MGM National Harbor Resort will be suspended do that all workers can participate in a mass meeting, during which construction company officials will give presentations and training on fall prevention.

And on Thursday, May 5, a safety fair will be held at The Fairgrounds at the Nationals baseball stadium, near the Navy Yard, which will include vendor exhibits, safety demonstrations, and other interactive events.

‘Share Your Story’

Companies that participate in the event by hosting free events that are open to the public are invited to share their information on a special events web page designed to spread the word about local participation. Or they can use the Twitter hashtag #StandDown4Safety to spread the word on what they are doing.

 

 

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Working in a warehouse environment can be a dangerous undertaking. Workers who move heavy loads from one place to another can suffer injuries to the back, neck, shoulders, or legs. Workers assigned to the dock are susceptible to accidents due to lack of concentration or quick closing doors.

Two new products have been introduced that relieve both situations and ensure more safety.

Caster Concepts, makers of casters and based in Albion, Michigan, has introduced the first motor-powered caster. The motor is battery powered and the casters can be integrated on to tugged carts. Because of the motor on each caster, the need for manually pushing or pulling heavy loaded carts has become obsolete.

Drive casters come with either a 0.25- or 0.5 horsepower motor that provides enough power to move loads of up to 6,000 pounds at speeds up to 5 mph. Moreover, you can add a second drive caster to handle double the load capacity and permit tank-style steering with each caster pushing in opposite directions to turn.

The casters can be equipped with a quick-change battery or with a power regenerated device that permits recharging.  The casters engage when the cart is removed from the train.

This product obviously makes the chore of material handling easier with less chance of injury for workers.

The second product is designed for dock use. Rite-Hite, manufacturer of loading dock equipment, industrial doors, safety barriers and more and headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,  has introduced an LED Virtual Vision® system that alerts dock workers using colored LED lights if there are pedestrians or a forklift approaching the other side of a closed

The Virtual Vision® system from Rite-Hite could eliminate accidents caused by opening high-speed doors. (Courtesy: Minercorp at flickr.com)

The Virtual Vision® system from Rite-Hite could eliminate accidents caused by opening high-speed doors.
(Courtesy: Minercorp at flickr.com)

high-speed door.

A plethora of accidents resulting from workers or forklifts entering through an opening door are avoided. The system includes the LED lights and a motion sensor on each side of the door. When the sensor detects a forklift, person, or other object approaching the door area, a strip of red light emitting diodes will flash on the opposite side of the door.  The lights are commonly placed on either side of the door outside the frame. However, they can be located anywhere that offers the best visual warning.

The system can complement or serve as an alternative to high-speed doors that include clear plastic vision panels.

Use of the Virtual Vision® system is sure to reduce and maybe even eliminate a major source of accidents in a warehouse environment.

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Here’s a special sneak preview of some of the stories you will find coming soon on the Bahrns blog:

  • If one of your workers is exposed to caustic chemicals or other hazardous materials, emergency showers and eyewash stations could save their life. We’ll tell you how these essential workplace tools can help make your business safer …
  • Finding new ways of ensuring more safety in the warehouse is always at the forefront of every warehouse manager. A couple manufacturers have been working on new product to assist warehouse management and worker safety …
  • It’s that time of year again: Next week is the third annual “National Safety Stand-Down”, in which construction companies and other businesses take a time out to teach workers about fall safety and other common workplace hazards …

All this and much, much more can be found coming soon on the Bahrns blog … so stay tuned!

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Emergency Shower at the Titan Missile Museum in Arizona (Photo by Jeff Keyzer via Wikimedia Commons)

Emergency Shower at the Titan Missile Museum in Arizona (Photo by Jeff Keyzer via Wikimedia Commons)

Businesses that expose workers to potentially hazardous chemicals that could cause blindness or damage to their eyesight are required by law to have working emergency eyewash stations available at all times.

In some cases, an emergency shower that can wash hazardous materials — especially corrosive chemicals or radiation — from workers’ bodies also should be used.

Using an Eyewash Station

In the event of an exposure to hazardous chemicals, flushing the eyes of an affected employee in a timely manner is critical.

Eyes should be flushed continuously for a minimum of 15 minutes, even if it seems as if most of the chemical has been removed. Even small amounts of corrosive chemicals and other hazardous agents can cause damage or blindness.

While flushing, the affected worker should keep his or her eyes open at all times, rotating the eyeballs in all direction to remove all contaminants from around the eyes. In some instances, the injured person may need assistance from co-workers in holding their eyelids open.

 

Emergency Showers

Like eyewashes, getting a worker whose body has been exposed to hazardous chemicals into an emergency shower immediately can minimise the amount of injury or damage caused by the exposure. Delaying treatment even a few seconds can result in irreparable tissue damage or chemical burns.

In some instances, emergency showers that haven’t been used in a while may run discolored, rusty-looking water for a few seconds. That’s okay: Don’t wait for this discolored water to run out before getting the worker into the emergency shower. It won’t harm them and it may even save their life.

Many emergency showers are not equipped with sewer drains. Again, that’s not a big deal. The water can be cleaned up later. The important thing is to get the person under the emergency shower as quickly as possible even if drains have not been installed.

Emergency showers should be used to flush the person with lots of water for at last 15 minutes. Make sure to protect the affected persons’ eyes from inadvertent contamination.

Contact Poison Control

While the person is being flushed by the emergency shower, another person can help by removing contaminated clothing, jewelry, and shoes. Don’t let modesty slow you down because every second counts. The person can be covered with a clean lab coat or other clothing after they are out of danger.

While the worker is being treated at either the eyewash station or an emergency shower, another employee should contact the US Poison Control Centre at 800/222-1222 for advice on additional protocols involving the particular chemical to which the employee has been exposed.

Information about the chemical also should be available in the Material Safety Data Sheet found in the MSDS binder that must be hanging in any workplace using hazardous chemicals. The sheet for the chemical involved should be removed and sent along with the affected worker to the hospital so that the doctors treating them has the information they need.

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CMA CGM Benjamin Frankling (Photo courtesy of CMA CGM)

CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin (Photo courtesy of CMA CGM)

The cargo container shipping industry is scrambling to comply with new international regulations that are about to go into effect.

In less than 90 days, any shipping container leaving from any port in the world will need to have a verified shipping document that is signed either electronically or by hand by the shipper on the bill of lading. This document must include the verified gross mass of the container before it can be loaded onto any ship.

July 1 Deadline

These new rules, which go into effect at ports and harbors around the world on July 1, have been mandated by the International Maritime Organization as part of the global Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention that applies to every nation.

The requirements come in the wake of maritime casualties caused by improperly declared weights, such as the sinking of the MSC Napoli off the southern coast of the UK in 2007 and the partial capsizing of a feeder ship in the Spanish port of Algeciras last June.

Infographic courtesy of JOC

Infographic courtesy of JOC

Two Ways to Weigh

The new rules require weighing to be done one of two ways — known as Method 1 and Method 2 — and must be done using scales that have been calibrated and certified according to the national standards of the country where the weighing was performed.

Method 1 requires a loaded container to be placed on a weighbridge.  The weight of the truck, chassis and fuel are then subtracted to give the weight of the packed container.

Method 2 requires each item to be weighed separately, including the packaging, palleting, dunnage and other packing and security materials. The sum of this weight is then added to the weight of the container to give the total weight of the packed container.

Enforcement Depends on Country

These new rules are designed to help protect the loss of life and property at sea. But enforcement of these international regulations is still a question mark.

Many of the details about regulatory enforcement — such as what happens to a container that arrives at a port without the required documentation — still need to be worked out. In some countries, terminals may choose to hold the container or send it back. But whatever happens, the ship will leave the port without the container that is in noncompliance.

In the US, the Coast Guard will be responsible for enforcing the new rules. In other countries, it will be up to the agency responsible for SOLAS regulations.

Punishments for violating the new rules will vary by country.

‘For More Information …’ 

On June 1, the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association will sponsor a “One Month to Go” training seminar at its international headquarters in Antwerp, Belgium, to discuss the new law and to answer questions about its application and enforcement.

The ICHCA is an NGO that was involved in the drafting of the new international SOLAS regulation.

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Safety On and Around the Loading Dock

19 Apr 2016

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People who work in a warehouse know that a center of major activity is the loading dock. Forklifts are moving in and out of the area picking up products for storage and delivering orders to trucks.

Meanwhile, there is heavy pedestrian traffic milling about involved in the loading or unloading of trucks. Trucks are constantly pulling up to or leaving the dock. People are out walking among the trucks getting and passing on information to truck drivers.

Attention to detail, smart use of safety products, and a few rules can help to ensure a safe loading dock. (Courtesy: ktinboulder at flickr.com)

Attention to detail, smart use of safety products, and a few rules can help to ensure a safe loading dock.
(Courtesy: ktinboulder at flickr.com)

To make a long story short, the dock and the immediate area around it are locations where accidents are waiting to happen.

Common injuries to warehouse employees who work on the dock include fractured legs after being struck by dock plates or getting crushed between a truck and the dock; fractures of other body parts because the employee may have fallen off the dock; injuries occurring because employees accidently drive forklifts off the dock or products or equipment fall on employees.

In addition, employees are speeding through their work in order to meet quotas or other requirements and may be concentrating on the task at hand, but not at equipment that could be moving toward them or products that are about to fall on them.

All the problems that result in accidents can be reduced or even eliminated when there is attention to detail, a safe environment, and a few rules that govern activity.

Promoting Safety Outside and On the Dock

A number of things can be done in the area where trucks approach and depart the dock to ensure safety. For example, truck drivers can chock the wheels of their own trucks and the warehouse can install and use manual, electric or hydraulic truck restraints, and traffic lights to signal when truck drivers should stop, proceed with caution or go when it comes time for them to leave the warehouse. Pedestrians can also use this traffic light system to determine whether it is safe or not safe to walk outside the dock area. Moreover, warehouse workers who must walk the area where trucks congregate can wear reflective vests so that truck drivers pulling in or out of the dock area can notice them. Systems that control dock levelers, dock doors and dock locks from the inside can be used to eliminate some of the need for warehouse employees to be walking around the “drive approach” space.

Moreover, black and yellow safety striping, paint and masking tape can be used to designate where vehicles go.

A variety of accessories or extra equipment can be used to make the area on the dock safer. These include overhead doors, dock levelers, dock seals and canopies. For example, a fixed dock leveler provides a smooth surface on which a forklift driver can guide his truck on to and off of trailers. Seals help keep out the elements and prevent forklifts from sliding or losing traction.

Guardrails should be mounted along the edge of the dock to provide a physical barrier as well as a visual cue that prevents workers from falling off the dock.

The black and yellow safety striping, paint, or masking tape can also be used to mark where equipment is and provide routing guidelines for forklift drivers. These visual cues should be re-applied every one to two years to assure that the markings can be seen.

Promoting safety on and around the warehouse dock can be easy as long as there is attention to detail, a few rules that employees and truck drivers can follow, and a smart use of safety products that prevent accidents from happening.

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Wal-Mart's drone. (Courtesy: Wal-Mart)

Unmanned drones are just one of eight new technologies expected to facilitate the ‘always-on’ supply chain, according to a new report.
(Courtesy: Wal-Mart)

In the coming decade, eight so-called “disruptive technologies” are going to change the way businesses in the materials handling industry operate, according to a new report based on interviews with industry executives.

These transformative changes will create “always-on” supply chains that will provide more efficiency, improved visibility, and better customer service.

The report — “Accelerating Change: How Innovation Is Driving ‘Always-On’ Supply Chains” — was compiled by the Deloitte consulting firm and based on interviews with more than 900 materials handling industry leaders. It was released earlier this month during the MHI Modex 2016 show held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Future Shock

The eight potentially game-changing technologies revealed in the report are:

  • Predictive Analytics
  • Robotics and Automation
  • Sensors and Automatic Detection
  • Wearables and Mobile Technology
  • Driverless Vehicles and Drones
  • Inventory and Network Optimization Tools
  • Cloud Computing and Storage
  • 3D Printing

Most businesses will incorporate some or all of these technologies within the next decade whether they like it or not because their competitors will already be using them, according to Scott Sopher, principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP, the group that compiled the report.

“The innovations driving ‘always-on’ supply chains are initially disruptive, but they can empower firms to optimize processes and improve efficiency, creating a more flexible experience for workers and driving measurable business outcomes,” Sopher said in a news release announcing the report. “According to the survey findings, adoption of the technologies covered in this report will grow dramatically over the next six to ten years.”

How They Will Be Used

Applications of these breakthrough technologies are expected to affect practically every industry.

For example, in agriculture, the use of drones and predictive analysis will facilitate smarter irrigation strategies and the more deliberate application of chemicals. In the cold chain industry, sensors and automatic identification will make it easier to  manage and monitor product quality remotely. And in the media, cloud computing and storage will allow for the better management of media distribution channels and optimized revenue generation.

Many industries will use multiple technologies, according to the report. For example, in the oil and gas industry, robotics and automation along with sensors and automatic identification will facilitate remote sensing, underground visualization, and automated safety controls for drilling and fracking.

And in the mining and construction industry, 3D printing combined with cloud computing and storage will enable on-demand replacement parts to be build at remote sites using 3D printers to increase asset efficiency.

Early Acceptance

The future is now, said MHI CEO George Prest, and the companies that embrace these technologies sooner will have the competitive advantage later.

“The ‘always-on’ supply chain has the potential to deliver massive economic and environmental rewards for our industry and society,” Prest said. “It can boost productivity and sustainability, drive new markets, encourage innovation, and create new, high-paying jobs.”

 

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