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air cargo security

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons (In the public domain)

The US Transportation Security Administration has lifted requirements for air cargo screening reports that were implemented in the wake of the World Trade Center attack on 9/11.

The TSA no longer will require airlines carrying passengers and cargo to to provide air cargo screening volume reporting, which some industry representatives said was putting a strain on an already competitive industry.

TSA Takes a More Risk-Based Approach

Doug Brittin, secretary general of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) said he applaud the TSA for taking a more risk-based approach to air cargo screening.

“This will significantly relieve the reporting burden on industry, saving many labor and IT hours,” Brittin said in a TIACA news release. “All passenger carriers, and over 1,200 certified freight fowarders and shippers in the US have been required to measure and provide these reports monthly. We applaud this move as a positive step towards adopting a risk-based approach versus forensic compliance.”

Industry Trade Group Lobbied for Regulatory Change

Last September, TIACA and other industry leaders lobbied the TSA to ease the requirement for reporting. TIACA chairman Oliver Evans called on TSA Administrator John Pistole to lift the reporting requirements, which took up too much time that could be devoted to improving other air cargo security measures.

In a letter to Pistole, Evans pointed out that while the 100% mandatory screening target level has been achieved, the requirements to report montly air cargo screening statistics were problematic because “the requirement places a significant labor and data collection burden” on the air cargo industry as companies must expend both human and IT resources to meet the requirement.

Evans asked Pistol to use his powers under the 2013 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act to certify that TSA has successfully achieved screening of 100% of air cargo and to life the reporting requirement. He said that eliminating this burden for all shippers, carriers and air forwarders could be accomplished through a relatively quick and straightforward process.

“We are delighted the requirements have now been lifted,” Evans said. “This move allows industry and government to properly focus limited resources on measures that materially benefit security. We represent all sections of the air freight supply chain and we are dedicate to continuing our close work with regulators to ensure global cargo security measure are effective and efficient, while ensuring the flow of commerce.”

World-Class Air Cargo Security

Evans said the TIACA will continue to work closely with the TSA to make global air cargo security measures the best in the world.

Brittin said regular and ongoing inspections of 100% of the air cargo being carried on passenger and cargo planes in the US has made the reports unnecessary. He said workers and IT resources being used to fulfill the TSA’s reporting requirement for both government and industry could be better deployed elsewhere.

TIACA is a global not-for-profit trade association that represents all the major segments of the air cargo and air logistics industry, including all-cargo airlines, forwarders, airports, ground handlers, road carriers, customs brokers, logistics companies, shippers, IT companies, aircraft and equipment manufacturers, trade press and educational institutions.



Despite the ongoing tensions in Eastern Europe, the logistics industry in Russia is poised for growth. Evidence is apparent with the emergence of CeMAT Russia, a logistics trade show scheduled for October that already has 168 participants lined up who hail from 15 different countries. Nearly 5,000 visitors are expected to view the numerous exhibitions that represent the latest trends and developments in material handling in Central and Eastern Europe. Applications for additional exhibitors are currently being accepted, as are invitations to visit.

Toyota's Electric Forklift 8 Series

Toyota’s Electric Forklift 8 Series

Perhaps the most significant evidence of the lure of Russian logistics opportunities is the recent, major investment in Russia by Toyota Material Handling Europe (TMHE), a subsidiary of Toyota Motors. TMHE formed OOO Toyota Material Handling Rus last fall, with the opening of its new headquarters in Moscow in late September of 2013. The company will be a major presenter at CeMAT Russia this year.

Like most major corporate investments in Russia these days, the new company is closely partnered with existing, established firms that have maintained the favor of the Russian government-in the case of OOO Toyota Material Handling Rus, the major partners are Tsusho Tekhnika and Sumitec International. Both of these firms also have Japanese ties and have established relationships with Toyota. The firms became well established as official distributors of heavy equipment, much of it for raw material handling in mines as well as in oil and gas fields in the resource-rich Russian Federation.

Now Toyota seeks to build its presence in the arena of lighter logistics equipment-every type that is used inside warehouses

Toyota Pallet Truck

Toyota Pallet Truck

The company’s director, Hans Gehlin, has set goals for the company that are similar to the goals of any global material handling firm-he says the firm will seek to drive down logistics costs in Russia and the surrounding region and thereby provide the best service possible to their customers. News headlines show no sign of withered confidence in the company’s success even as tensions mount between the Russian Federation and neighboring Ukraine, where Sumitec International maintains a powerful presence.







safety equpiment

Warning signs aren’t just for decoration. Ignoring the safety rules weakens your chance for just compensation.

Attorneys at the New Jersey-based firm Kaplan and Kaplan say no accident should go unreported, nor should you wait to report an accident you have at work. The law firm’s website says many people are afraid to “make waves” in their work place by reporting accidents. Kaplan and Kaplan has operated for 50 years and has specific attorneys who specialize in workplace injury claims through its Wayne Workplace Accident Lawyer program.

Not reporting an accident not only endangers your health and welfare, it also gives companies a leg up over you and your workers’ comp claim even if your claim is legitimate. If you don’t report an accident as soon as it happens, the company can come back and say that you may have received your injury outside of work, and be better able to contest your claim. This can happen even if the workplace conditions were legitimately unsafe and even if you were doing everything in your power to work safely and in accordance with your company’s safety policies.

No matter what type of accident you have, you need to know your rights and always, no matter what, report the accident right away and be certain that is documented on official company records. Kaplan and Kaplan offers basic information on its website and provides contact information for attorney consultations.

 Comp costs in retrospect-your employer’s perspective

Comp claims can cost companies a fortune in hiked insurance premiums. Comp rates keep eating at profits long after the lost work time is made up for, and to make matters worse, reportable accidents put your facility on OSHA’s wanted list. So you’ll pay for accidents even if no worker ever files a specific suit beyond the comp claim.Tips for Warehouses with Forklifts

Just as workers have a right to know their rights and exercise their options, the company also has the right to protect itself. By maintaining a safe workplace for employees and by training employees properly for safety on the job, they are protecting everyone who is involved with the operation, from the material handler to the shareholders and the CEO.

Mutual protection

Avoiding comp claims doesn’t have to mean there must be an adversarial relationships with between the company and employees. Quite by contrary, if a company gives employees proper safety training, you, as an employee, are in good hands. You want to go home in the same condition you arrived in-walking, with all ten fingers and all ten toes. Safety training, such as forklift training, may seem surprisingly basic, but then, so are the causes of serious injuries and fatalities for workers, OSHA studies show.

Given the proper training, you will know how to avoid accidents. An employee who is given proper training and who demonstrates proper understanding of what their training means should be able to pass applicable tests whose criteria is recognized by OSHA and should be able to avoid accidents if equipment is properly maintained and you are adhering to safety rules.


Occupations Safety Hazard Administration (OSHA)

Kaplan and Kaplan, Attorneys at Law


You’ve probably heard of “Stupid Pet Tricks”, a segment that has been a part of David Letterman’s “Late Night” television program for nearly 30 years. This week’s Video of the Week features what could be called “Stupid Heavy Machinery Tricks”.

In this video — which was posted on YouTube and apparently was shot in Tedirdag, Turkey, at least according to the commentators — an excavator has been loaded onto the back of a flatbed truck. But the truck seems to have run out of gas. So the operator of the excavator uses the vehicle’s extendable arm to push the truck down the highway as a befuddled bicyclist and other pedestrians look on in surprise.

While you have to applaud the excavator operator’s inventiveness, one has to wonder why he simply didn’t siphon the fuel from the excavator to the truck so the flatbed could have been driven to a gas station!





Associated Integrated Supply Chain Solutions has been selected to host the 2014 Leadership Conference held by Loyola University’s Quinlan School of Business. The event will be held August 6 at the company’s headquarters in Addison, Illinois.

Mike Romano, the company’s president and CEO, said the conference offers an opportunity to bring supply chain experts and professionals from various backgrounds and industries together so they can discuss today’s most pressing supply chain topics.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to work with The Supply and Value Chain Center of the Quinlan School of Business of Loyola University Chicago,” Romano said. “We fully support and appreciate their goal to create a common platform where industry leaders and academics can exchange ideas and knowledge in the are of supply chain.”

John Caltagirone, founding director of Loyola’s supply chain center, said providing an opportunity for industry professionals to get together and share their experiences and ideas can only help the entire supply chain industry.

“It is imperative for the academic community to have partners in Supply Chain like Associated that will enable us to continue to support the growing needs of the Chicago business community and beyond in the development of leading edge strategies and real world solutions to problems relative to the management of the end-to-end supply chain,” Caltagirone said.



Automated Guided VehicleHoneywell International, the giant technology and manufacturing company, has hired robotic automatic guided vehicles to assist in operations at its alarm system and structured wiring products plant in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

Honeywell purchased the automated guided vehicles (AGVs) from Seegrid, a Pittsburgh-based manufacturer of robotic materials handling equipment., The driverless GP8 pallet trucks will be used to transport raw materials such as copper coils, cables, and wire spools to manufacturing areas and deliver finished products to the warehouse, according to a Honeywell news release.

Helps Humans Work More Efficiently

The purpose of the new robotic workers is not to replace humans, but to help them improve their productivity, according to Michael Crichlow, cable and custom electronics logistics manager at the facility.

“We are using the Seegrid GP8s to enhance the capabilities of my professional material handling staff by providing them another set of forks to complete the cross-plant moves,” Crichlow said. “The AGVs will allow me to use my material handlers for the more precise placements and technical moves throughout the manufacturing floor and distribution center. This is accomplished by maintaining empty fork time as the material handlers move from one task to the next.”

Robots Move Freely throughout Facility

The new robot employees can move freely throughout the facility and don’t require lasers, wire, tape or magnets for navigation, unlike earlier generation of AGVs. This makes them move valuable and better suited to deal with rapid changes in production needs, said Crichlow.

“I chose this technology because of the flexibility of being able to reprogram the vehicles quickly as we frequently change layouts,” he said. “The ‘permanency’ of the laser reflectors, magnets and strips just wouldn’t be practical in our constantly improving work space.”

The AGVs allow Honeywell to eliminate “empty fork time” — the time it takes to travel across the facility to make a delivery with no return load.

“Three dynamic results are expected with the Seegrid AGVs at the Honeywell facility, including an increase in case picked per labor hour metric, increased support level for production operations, and improved material flow and 5S adherence,” Crichlow said. 5H is amanagement tool for improving workplace efficiency that was developed in Japan.

The robotic vehicles were installed in the facility in late February.

Honeywell is a $23 billion per year diversified tech and manufacturing leader serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials.

The company is based in Morris Township, New Jersey, and it is one of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It also is a component of the Standard & Poor’s 50 Index.

Innovative Robotic Solutions for Material Handling

Seegrid produces innovative robotic vision-guided AGVs for materials handling tasks in manufacturing and distribution environments. It’s state-of-the-art navigation technology was one of the first robotic vehicles that didn’t require the use of wires, lasers, magnets or other infrastructure for navigation.

The Giant Eagle grocery chain currently is using Seegrid pallet-handling mobile robots in its 440,000-square-foot food  distribution center outside of Pittsburgh. Four double pallet robots, which resemble driver-less forklift truck, handle much of the facility’s putaway operations. Another four mobile robots are being used at a Giant Eagle distribution center in Cleveland, Ohio.

The trucks automatically offload pallets from semi-tractor trailers then move the two at a time to drop-off locations throughout the warehouse. They are fully integrated with the facility’s automated storage and retrieval system, which uses voice-controlled cranes to retrieve pallets from 12,000 separate locations.



Manufacturing is offering more opportunities to US youth than it has in decades


Manufacturing built the United States of America. The rise of the nation is synonymous with the industrial revolution. So why are manufacturers having such a tough time getting American youth interested in working manufacturing, and what is being done to address this problem? Manufacturing Day is an event and a project aimed at fixing this mishap that’s starving companies of would-be workers who are well educated and qualified to power round two of the industrial revolution.Happy Manufacturing Day!

The fact is that US manufacturing is on the rebound. More manufacturing jobs are being created here now that 20 years ago, and many firms who had moved plants overseas are bringing jobs back to the US. Manufacturing Day helps individual companies reach the youth of America while also educating people about the real dynamics of manufacturing today.

Why are American youths so uninterested in manufacturing?

According to Pat Lee, the current director of marketing for the Fabricators and Manufacturer’s Association-a key sponsor and creator of Manufacturing Day, says our culture’s obsession with glamour is part of the problem. The media has come to glorify celebrities and athletes. Those who work in ordinary jobs are indirectly regarded as inferior and manufacturing professions bear the brunt of that stigma.

There is the prevailing misconception that manufacturing jobs are “unskilled labor” and that having such as job makes you less important. The fact is that any manufacturing job is a myriad of multiple tasks. Production technicians are the eyes and ears of the quality control team and liaisons to logistics specialists. Every manufacturing work station these days includes a computer with a live database link, spread sheets and other cyber documents that are the heart of today’s lean manufacturing operation.

The myth that manufacturing is passé

In the early 1990s, manufacturing jobs seemed to be America’s biggest export. The textile industry disappeared, and many other industries shed milli0ns of jobs to overseas plants. The favorite saying that academic intellectuals used to respond to the crisis was that the industrial age was over that we were “in the post-industrial information age”.

There was also the false reassurance that “manufacturing jobs were being replaced by service jobs”-that was just a coincidence that, when considering the fact that most people in the service sector require public assistance just to make ends meet even though they work full-time, we know what a joke that is.

Industrial Robots

Automation reduces the edge that Asian sweat shops have over US manufacturers. Lean US factories combine automation with well-paid, skilled laborers and are now very competitive.

Since we still consume manufactured goods, there is no such thing as the “post-industrial age”; we have merely added a lot of information technology to it, and with manufacturing technicians controlling so much of the collection of information in the manufacturing process, information at formulates corporate financial plans and official data for important financial audits, they are the principle brokers of information.

Lee says it is time to remake the image of manufacturing, and that’s what Manufacturing Day is doing. This year’s Manufacturing Day will kick off in October, and will include at least 240 different events around the nation. Events will be held in all 50 states.

Manufacturing Day is more than just a seminar series. Manufacturing Revival Radio will be following the unfolding events closely. Says MRR’s Todd Schnick, this won’t be a run-of-the mill PowerPoint presentation, “this is a real, hands-on kind of ‘look under the hood and see what’s going on’ [event].”



Svenska Retursystem, a Swedish packaging company, recently won the Reusable Packaging Association’s prestigious Excellence in Reusable Packaging Award.

The company, which was recognized in the category of companies with revenues of more than $25 million, led a program to establish a common pooling system for more than 20 food producers in the Skandanavian nation and food manufacturers throughout Europe that export their goods to Sweden.

Thanks to Svenska Retursystem’s efforts, every product for every grocery chain is delivered in the same standardized size and type of returnable crate and pallet. Since the program was launched in 2001, nearly 1 billion crates have been delivered, replacing the same number of single-use packaging. By offering the entire industry the same terms and cost of packaging, the program has neutralized packaging as a competitive factor and freed up the food producers to focus more on their core business, according to a RPA news release.

In the category of businesses with revenues below $25 billion, Full Belly Farm — an organic farm in Guinda, California — was recognized for replacing 8,330 cardboard boxes with 2,000 reusable plastic totes with attached lids in July 2013. The plastic totes are filled with produce for weekly deliveries to families then picked up and returned to the farm for reuse the following week.

The delivery sites include Full Belly Farm’s 44 residential produce pick-up sites and three local farmers’ markets.


Advanced Charging Technologies — a Fullerton, California, based company that makes battery charging stations for electric vehicles — announced recently that it has formed a strategic partnership with Green Charge Technologies, a high tech firm specializing in energy efficient, cost-effective battery charging and monitoring solutions.

The move comes as more and more domestic and foreign automobile manufactures introduce new product lines of electric cars into the marketplace.

The two firms will collaborate to improve the existing ACT product line portfolio and also will begin co-developing the next generation of industrial and electric vehicle battery chargers and monitoring systems.

Dr. Nasser Kutkut, founder of GCT,  told Modern Materials Handling that the partnership presented an exciting opportunity for both companies.

“We at GCT are quite excited about partnering with ACT,” Kutkut said. “As ACT has become a formidable player in the industrial and EV battery charger markets over a short period of time, combining ACT solutions portfolio with GCT’s expertise and technology know how will allow ACT to offer state of the art solutions and increase their market share.

Bob Istwan, president of ACT, agreed.

“ACT is extremely enthusiastic about our new relationship with Nasser and his team at GCT,” Istwan said. “ACT has accomplished a lot over our first four years. However, this new partnership will take ACT to a whole new level.”


Photo courtesy Davidmace13 via Wikimedia Commons

If you own an iPad, Surface or another one of the popular tablet devices, most likely you probably use it to watch HD video, play games or check your Facebook page.

But at least one Indiana company has found a unique use for the iPad and it’s one more and more companies are likely to start implementing: Improving the way data is collected and used to improve workplace flow and processes.

Diversity Vuteq — which is based in the small town of Princeton, Indiana, about 150 miles southwest of Indianapolis — is a maker of injection-molded plastic components that are used in a nearby Toyota assembly plant for the interiors of vehicles such as the Highlander and Sienna.

Using Tablets to Increase Productivity

Bill Buck, the company’s assistant sales and logistics manager, said they were looking for a way to improve operations, reduce costs and increase communications. The iPad solved all three problems.

In October, the company started using the tablets to develop a process that minimized the number of picking errors as measured by the number of plastic kanban containers returned by the Toyota plant because they held the wrong part. They also sought to provide 100% accountability so that if someone did make a mistake, it could be identified and corrective steps could be taken so that it didn’t occur a second time. Finally, they wanted to eliminate redundant team members from the process whose sole responsibility was quality control.

Practically Zero Errors

Before the iPads were being used, Toyota was sending back about 10 to 15 containers per month. Since the system was deployed, they aren’t returning practically any of the kanban containers.

“Our total error for the current month was two containers,” Buck told Modern Materials Handling. “But those two containers were pulled from a dock area where the (warehouse management system) is not yet in place. Where we’re using the system, we have zero errors.”

Another benefit of the iPads is that they are approachable for new users and require almost no training. New workers can quickly learn to use them even if they have little or no experience with the processes.

“We are a Japanese plant and we have embraced lean technology,” Buck said. “Visualization is an important component of lean. That was a big selling point to implementing this solution.”

How They Are Being Used

Diversity Vuteq produces 100 different parts and each part is available in three colors The product team is given a six-week forecast on a rolling basis. On the first of each month, Toyota gives the company a firm production number that outlines how many vehicles will be produced within a specified time period. But the monthly forecasts don’t give Diversity Vuteq information about what colors or options are required, information that won’t be known until closer to vehicle production. Consequently, the plant builds product schedules broken down by color and part based on trends and averages.

“We try to keep one-and-a-half to two days worth of inventory in storage at all times,” said Buck. “Using the forecasts and Toyota’s order history, we try to anticipate what they may order and build stock from that.

The iPads have turned this process from a three-person job that resulted in 10 to 15 errors per month to a one-man job with essentially no mistakes.

“Today, we have one person doing a one-person job, and we’re investigating ways to further streamline picking and palletizing,” said Buck.