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5 Important Tips for Warehouse Efficiency

Warehouses often manage thousands of dollars worth of inventory that must be sent and received under tight deadlines. To ensure maximum efficiency, inventory must be labeled, sorted, and retrieved with speed and accuracy. An unproductive warehouse can damage customer or business relationships by wasting time and money. Thrive in today’s highly competitive environment with these five tips for warehouse efficiency.

Stay organized

Organization is key to smooth warehouse operations. A large team of employees managing a wide variety of inventory can quickly become disjointed if managers aren’t careful. Labeling all inventory is the first step of organization. Forgotten or lost items are wasting money and storage space if they cannot be easily located. All inventory should be organized in a way that is understood by employees and safe to access. When scheduling shifts, give employees half an hour at the end of their day to clean up and finish order processing before leaving. This helps your warehouse stay organized and keeps workers on the next shift from becoming confused.

Prioritize high volume inventory

Top-selling items should always be located near the front of the warehouse and within easy reach of the picking team. If a new item becomes a top seller, make sure your team is aware of its location to save time searching through the warehouse. Consider storing less popular items toward the back and relocating them if performance continues to diminish. Color coding orders or pick lists to reflect high- or low-volume inventory can help employees quickly locate and package the materials that are valuable to customers.

Train managers in quality control

If a customer receives the wrong item, it could potentially damage your business’ reputation and can cost time and money fixing. Quality control is a safety net that all managers should practice. Double-check all orders by comparing the picked item’s SKU number and quantity against the order the customer placed. Quality control also involves evaluating the item for damage to make sure the customer receives an order in the expected condition.

Utilize technology

Radio-frequency identification tracking has become integral to many warehouses. It allows you to digitally track all incoming and outgoing inventory while dramatically saving labor. Another option is voice-enabled technology that is incorporated into your warehouse management without any modifications to your WPS. Voice enablers improve inventory control and can be used in various operations including shipping, returns, and receiving. Other technology such as digital twins can help you manage your warehouse more efficiently and provide better customer service.

Designate a damages bin

To prevent damaged items from returning to shelves and accidentally getting sent out to a customer, make sure that employees have designated a section to dispose of damaged items. It is also important to make sure that this section is accessible to the managers or employees who are running quality control on inventory. The more simplified this process, the more quickly inventory can be checked and disposed of if needed.

The team at KION North America is helping businesses grow and operate more efficiently by providing warehouse managers with outstanding forklift models from our Linde and Baoli product lines and tailored supply chain solutions from our sister company, Dematic.

Product Spotlight: Linde Series 1219

The Linde Series 1219 is one of the latest trucks released by KION North America. Introduced at ProMat last spring, this LPG-powered truck has a lift capacity ranging from 5,000 to 6,500 pounds and is offered in four different models. This forklift is best suited for outdoor environments including lumber, paper, agriculture, and general building materials applications.

Safety and Comfort

One way to ensure that you can prioritize workplace safety is by using a reliable and quality piece of equipment. The Linde Series 1219 features a low-mounted propane tank to give the operator an unobstructed rear view while a low dashboard and clear view mast help increase the driver’s all-around visibility.

In many cases, safety and performance features on equipment can often have negative implications on operator comfort. With the Linde Series 1219, that is not the case. The truck was designed to the highest ergonomic standards like all other Linde brand products. Operators benefit from features including a spacious cab and accessibility from both sides of the truck. It is also equipped with deck-mounted hydraulic controls, a suspension seat, and functional positioning of easy-actuation controls which together yield a low-stress working environment, allowing the operator to be 100 percent focused on his/her task at hand.

Performance and Reliability  

The Linde Series 1219 features advanced engine technology in the form of a fuel injected 2.5-liter high-torque engine. With its impressive performance, this truck is efficient in fuel consumption while also giving off low exhaust emissions. A rugged drive line enables the operator to maximize productivity while extended 500-hour maintenance intervals make this forklift one of the top in its class.

Quality components including an inching pedal, foot-operated parking brake and a responsive accelerator pedal allow the operator to have complete control of the truck at all times. The ergonomic layout of all the hydraulic functions allows for a high level of precision fingertip control and working performance. KION North America has such confidence in the quality of this Linde machine that it is backed by the company’s standard 2-year or 4,000-hour warranty. An extended warranty is available for purchase.

For more information or to request a demo of the Linde Series 1219 forklift contact your authorized local dealer today.

Linde at Work: Ganahl Lumber Company

Ganahl Lumber Company is the oldest lumberyard and hardware supply store in the State of California. The family- and employee-owned business has been in operation since 1884 and has grown to 10 locations throughout the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Ganahl Lumber relies primarily on Linde H-Series forklifts to handle its range of products which include building materials, millwork, doors and windows, in addition to tools and paint. Featuring Linde’s hydrostatic drive system, these forklifts put an end to the chronic problems experienced in heavy-duty, high-volume applications like the lumber industry.

The company first purchased Linde forklifts in  2011 from their local authorized dealer Select Equipment.

“Initially, most people involved were adverse to changing brands and remained skeptical,” said Jim Taft, special projects manager at Ganahl Lumber. “The quickest converts were the operators. The machine sold itself to them in just a matter of days.”

After the sale, Select Equipment has continued to provide service support. After the first year of use, the company’s mechanic praised sound design and reliability of the Linde forklifts. “Our yard foreman proclaims that the H80D-900 is the best lift we have ever had,” added Taft.

The hydrostatic drive system eliminates all brake system maintenance, eliminates transmission failures, eliminates truck overheating, reduces fuel expenses by as much as 50 percent and extends maintenance intervals while dramatically increasing productivity.

Taft’s role was to advise and coordinate the purchase of equipment. The hardest sell was to the company’s general managers who “came around in time after positive comments from the users in addition to knowing the cost to operate the unit was lower than in the past,” he said.

Has your company benefited from using a Linde (or Baoli) forklift? We’d love to hear about it. Submit your photos of our trucks at work to marketing.na(at)kiongroup.com

Product Spotlight: Linde Series 1346

Is your workplace a tight environment with narrow aisles and nonstop commotion? If so, the new Linde Series 1346 may be the truck for you. The Linde 1346 stand-up electric counterbalanced truck was released by KION North America in late October at its annual dealer meeting.

Equipped with new technology this truck is best suited for loading docks, working in narrow aisles and operating in congested areas. The Linde Series 1346 is offered in two models—the E18S and the E20S—which feature lift capacities ranging from 3,500 to 4,000 pounds.

Safety and Comfort

The Linde Series 1346 includes a low-profile front cover and nested mast rails to give the operator increased invisibility of the front chassis corners and drive tire positioning. This truck also comes with Linde Curve Control and tilt assistance making your business a safer working environment. Forklift noise tends to be an issue, but being an electric-powered forklift the 1346 has low noise output making the operator better aware of their surroundings throughout their entire shift.

Designed with superior ergonomics this truck is as comfortable as they come. The operator compartment is spacious and has a 90-degree operating position. Inside the spacious compartment, the operator has the ability to adjust the armrest and steering column to whatever height they find most comfortable making the cab suitable for anyone of almost any size. The truck is also designed with a cushioned backrest so that the operator can lean back to make him/her more relaxed throughout their shift.

Performance and Durability

The performance of the Linde Series 1346 is like no other. This truck combines efficiency and high performance with its high ratio gearbox. The electronically controlled drive and hydraulic functions optimize performance and feature three operational modes: performance, productivity and efficiency. The operator can always be aware of what mode they are in by looking at the onboard display.

The three different modes affect the trucks energy efficiency. The standard setting for this truck is productivity mode, which is more of a “middle setting”, but if you are looking for faster acceleration then you can switch to the performance mode increasing your energy usage. If you switch the truck into efficiency mode then you limit the acceleration of the truck, but use less energy than both of the other modes. However, it is important to note that the operational modes do not change the speed of the hydraulic function, such as lifting or tilting speed.

The Linde Series 1346 has endured extensive driveline testing, duty cycle testing, high impact testing and stability testing to ensure a durable and reliable product you can count on day in and day out. Since the truck is designed for tight spaces it comes equipped with a steel wrap-around bumper to help protect from collisions. All of these features make this truck one of the most durable trucks in the Linde product line.

For more information or to request a demo of the Linde Series 1346 forklift contact your authorized local dealer today.

 

How Data, Automation, and Regulations Are Changing Manufacturing

The enormous demands of e-commerce are driving manufacturing plants to continuously expand storage capabilities and pick, slot, and load products faster. The cold food industry has always faced unique challenges when delivering to customers, but it has grown more complex in an age of quick turnover and delivering meal prep kits directly to a customer’s door. In addition to the refrigerated foods sector, other manufacturing industries are streamlining data analytics, automation, and improved safety regulations into their day-to-day operations.

Analyzing data

Data analytics have become a huge part of warehouse operations. The information collected influences the vast majority of management decisions. With data, managers can modify distribution centers according to customer purchasing habits and preferences. Additionally, data can highlight inefficiencies in picking and slotting strategies. Managing a fleet of wireless forklifts and collecting data from robot and AI systems can be expensive, but this technologically-driven practice provides unmatched insight into warehouse operations. Increased demand for products and their fast delivery means that warehouse managers will have to improve current sorting, picking, and slotting systems. Data analytics are the backbone of this advancement.

Incorporating automation

Automation is becoming a fixture of nearly every industry, and manufacturing is no exception. With automation, warehouses can operate 24/7 without compromising efficiency or productivity. Automated storage retrieval systems maintain a database of product locations that is updated in real-time. When the system receives a directive to ship out a particular item, it can quickly and accurately find and retrieve the product. Using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, products in the warehouse are assigned a tag identifying both the item and its location. Automated systems can read the radio signals emitted by the products which leads the AI directly to the item it needs. Although expensive, automated systems have a lower margin of error and can operate for significantly longer hours than a human employee.

Developing regulations

Protecting the health and safety of workers is one of the most important aspects of the manufacturing industry. “There will be more workplace regulations considering the harsh environment, leading to worker fatigue due to heavy protective gear to combat the cold,” said Bob Hasenstab, general product manager at the Summerville, S.C. branch of KION North America. “Use dedicated ‘stay in’ equipment with freezer cabs that allow operators to work a full shift without more stoppage time. These heated cabs have features like dual-pane, shatterproof windows, heating strips with block-outs for scanners, heated seats, insulation and energy saving systems.” In an effort to increase employee comfort and productivity, many warehouses are adding heated seats, floorboards and drive handles to cabs.

KION North America is a member of the KION Group–a global leader in industrial trucks, related services and supply chain solutions.  We offer an impressive line of industrial forklifts including Linde and Baoli. Our sister company Dematic offers a comprehensive range of intelligent supply chain and automation solutions. For more information visit us at our website.

Linde at Work: Contemporary Marketing Group

Contemporary Marketing Group located in Norcross, GA relies on around half a dozen Linde Series 346 forklifts to carry out daily operations in their facility. The company, whose customers include big-box retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s, produces flooring and countertop samples and displays for the home center industry.

When asked what went into the decision-making process to purchase Linde forklifts, company president Dwayne Slifko said that the equipment sold itself when they were given the ability to try the machines out in their facility.

The customer service on the front-end from both their KION North America regional sales manager, Rick Cates, and their authorized dealer, Lift Atlanta, coupled with the after sales support, gave Contemporary Marketing confidence in their purchase.

Based on their usage and application, Contemporary Marketing went with the E20 model from the Linde Series 346–an electric counterbalanced forklift which offers a 4,000 lb. load capacity. Assembled in Summerville, SC, this series features the Linde Combi-axle which provides excellent stability and exceptional maneuverability in confined areas.

To maximize productivity and uptime, the Linde Series 346 includes features like automatic deceleration, dual independent control systems, a maintenance-free brake system and continuous on-board diagnostics. Paired with a completely sealed AC-drive system, these features yield extended component life and extended maintenance intervals.

As with all Linde forklift operators, the employees at Contemporary Marketing also benefit from numerous ergonomic features including a full suspension seat, ample foot room, and adjustable steering column and armrest.

Has your company benefited from using a Linde (or Baoli) forklift? We’d love to hear about it. Submit your photos of our trucks at work to: marketing.na(at)kiongroup.com

Forklift Attachments: Which Ones Are Right For Your Operation?

Forklift attachments replace the traditional fork with a product ideally suited to the loads you intend to work with. Without the proper attachment for your forklift, you risk damaging the products, the forklift itself, or injuring an employee. When selecting a forklift, be aware than an attachment will alter the capacity of your forklift, and you should make adjustments accordingly when deciding how heavy of a load you should attempt to transport. Smaller attachments are better suited for lighter loads. Ensure that operators are trained to safely use forklifts and their attachments, and never exceed the carrying capacity of a lift. Attachments can help you safely lift products, limit any damages, and improve productivity by saving time and money in your warehouse.

Side shifters

Side shifters operate with the forklift and are one of the most a popular attachments. Drivers can shift the product to the right or left without leaving their seat. If a load is improperly aligned, it can easily be corrected with the aid of a side shifter. Not only does this streamline the process and make it more convenient, it also saves the forklift unnecessary wear and tear. If you need to handle two pallets at once, side shifters are also available in double.

Fork positioners

These handy tools also help operators work more efficiently, since they automatically adjust the distance between the forks in order to accommodate different pallet sizes. Once again, drivers don’t even need to leave their seats.

Clamps

Paper roll and flat surface clamps help protect products from damage. Paper roll clamps are used for holding on to paper while its unrolled and are suitable for many different applications. If the load can’t be transported by a pallet, you should use paper roll clamps. Transporting heavy appliances such as washers, dryers, and refrigerators should be undertaken with the help of flat surface clamps.

Slipsheet attachments

If you are operating a food-processing warehouse, you may want to consider the cost-cutting push/pull attachments. These forklift attachments push the load directly off of the forks, eliminating the need for pallets. Multiple load handlers are also popular in the food industry since they allow you to double or triple the efficiency of your forklifts.

Forklift spreader

This commonly used attachment works best when lifting heavy loads such as plasterboard, timber, or roof sheeting. With a spreader, you reduce the risk of damaging a heavy load that may exceed the carrying capability of a regular forklift. Pallet forks are another useful attachment for lifting heavy loads generally up to 1800 kg. Increased operator visibility is an added benefit of pallet forks.

At KION North America, we provide the equipment and skills needed for creating a safe, efficient facility. We offer an impressive line of state-of-the-art forklifts that make your handling and logistics operations significantly easier. Linde and Baoli forklift brands are ideally suited for the modern operation.

Product Spotlight: Linde Series 1313

The Linde Series 1313 was released nearly 5 years ago and is still one of the top performers in the class four market. This truck is an internal combustion counterbalanced truck equipped with cushion tires and is offered in four different models. This series has a lift capacity ranging from 5,000 to 6,500 pounds and specifically designed for the harsh conditions of the class IV market.

Safety and Design

The Linde Series 1313 is one of the safest trucks on the market, with its low-mounted propane tank and dashboard combined with a clear view mast which increases the all-around visibility for the operator. This, coupled with simple operations, allows the operator to stay alert throughout his or her entire shift. Additional safety attachments are also available for purchase to further enhance this truck including stop lights, tail lights, rear spotlights and an audible backup horn.

This truck is intended to handle demanding tasks and require the truck to be specifically designed to handle the force and tension that comes with them. All structural components such as the frame, axles and mast are designed to massive proportions. For example, the frame on this truck is made of ½-inch steel with 5/8-inch cross bracing—one of the most substantial designs in the industry.

Comfort and Performance

With all the safety features this truck is equipped with, you would be lead to believe comfort is minimal. In reality, the Linde Series 1313 is one of the most comfortable trucks in the class IV market. With a spacious cab accessible from either side of the truck, it is designed to suit any size operator. It also contains an adjustable armrest, suspension seat and functional positioning of easy-actuation controls. Additionally, the comfort features of the Linde Series 1313 allow the operator to start and finish their shift relaxed making your business a safer and more productive workplace.

Linde did not disappoint when it comes to the performance of the Series 1313. This forklift series is equipped with the original Linde Load system which allows the operator to maximize productivity. The layout of all the hydraulic functions enables the operator to maintain a high level of precision fingertip control and working performance.

Additionally, this truck is equipped with Linde’s hydrostatic drive making it capable of handling the harsh effects of ramps, dust, heat, humidity and pushing. The hydrostatic drive is the unique power transfer from the engine to the wheels and is very precise making it one of the easiest trucks to control on the market.

If you are in the market for a top of the line LPG forklift you can always rely on, the Linde Series 1313 may be the truck for your business. For more information or to a request a demo contact your authorized local dealer today.

Recap: Fall 2017 Dealer Sales Meeting

CONTINUING TO MOVE FASTER TOGETHER

Since the release of five new products at ProMat earlier this year, KION North America has worked to continue capitalizing on that momentum.

From Oct. 25-27, the company hosted a dealer sales update  meeting in Charleston, S.C. There were more than 150 attendees representing 63 dealerships from throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico equaling 85 percent of the company’s dealer network.

PLANT TOUR

Upon arriving in the Lowcountry,  attendees were taken on a private tour of KION North America’s facilities including its manufacturing plant and parts warehouse. Several facility upgrades have been made in the two years since the company’s last Charleston-based dealer meeting including the addition of new assembly and storage areas, a counterweight (CTW) roller system, the changeover to DC-powered torque tools, controlled monitoring and the soon-to-be-completed external covering for stock equipment. The plant tour was followed by a pig and oyster roast welcome dinner.

“We’ve been moving at such a fast pace over the last several years that we wanted to take the opportunity to not only acknowledge, but also to celebrate, where we started and how far we’ve come,” said Vincent Halma, president and CEO of KION North America.

 

NEW PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

The second day was dedicated to learning about new products and technologies which included additions to both the company’s Linde and Baoli product lines. Attendees also had the opportunity to test drive each of the new products along with some popular existing models.

The Linde Series 1346 is a stand-up electric counterbalanced truck with a load capacity ranging from 3,500-4,000 pounds. This truck is best suited for loading and unloading supplies from trucks and working in tight aisles.

In its economy segment, the company introduced the Baoli KBE25C (electric powered) and the Baoli KBG25C (LPG powered). Both cushion tire forklifts, they are designed to work in a variety of indoor environments. Their small size and sharp turn radius are ideal for working in tight spaces, loading docks and in high lift dock-to-stock operations.

Additionally, Dematic showcased the new iGo neo, a dual-use automated guided vehicle. This vehicle can operate as both a traditional walker-rider machine or as a fully automatic AGV. This new technology can improve overall picking performance by up to 30 percent. The iGo neo is powered by STILL and will be sold in North America by Dematic.

These additions complete their goal of the largest new product release in company and material handling industry in a single year, which they began with the introduction of five new volume and economy segment forklifts at ProMat in Chicago earlier this year.

“By adding eight new products to our product portfolio this year, we are one step closer to achieving our goal of transitioning from a premium, niche equipment provider to a full-line material handling equipment provider,” added Halma.

 

GOLF TOURNAMENT

The meeting concluded on Friday with a captain’s choice golf tournament at Dunes West Golf Club in Mount Pleasant. There were 15 teams comprised of over 60 participants. Brian Hutto, a regional sales manager with KION North America had a hole in one on the 169-yard 17th hole. Finishing in first place were Lonnie Boyd and Jon Paul Tabor of CE-DFW and Tim Woeste, KION North America key account manager.

WHAT’S NEXT?

KION North America’s next planned product release will come in 2018 with the introduction of their much anticipated warehouse product line.

Linde at Work: Liberty Casting

Liberty Casting is a modern foundry based in Delaware, Ohio that specializes in gray, ductile and high-alloy iron casting. They serve customers over a wide variety of industries including agriculture, machine tooling, construction, food processing, power generation and more.

Throughout their three locations, they have roughly 35 Linde forklifts in operation including models from Linde Series 391, Series 393 and Series 394 whose load capacities range from 3,000 to 11,000 pounds.

“We purchased Linde hydrostatic drive forklifts because we wanted a cost-effective, reliable and rugged forklift,” said George Hardiman, maintenance manager at Liberty Casting. “We have not been disappointed.”

Known as the ultimate drive system, the hydrostatic transmission is superior to any other in achieving maximum lift truck performance. Due to the high heat and fine particles associated with foundries, they are considered harsh and demanding environments.

“We run these forklifts up to and sometimes past the design limits and they just keep on running,” added Hardiman. “Linde’s performance far exceeds all other forklifts that I have worked with over the years.”

Overall, these Linde truck series result in greater production efficiency, lower operator costs and lower labor costs. With them, you can handle more loads with fewer lifts and fewer people, which ultimately has a positive effect on your company’s bottom line.

“These trucks are priceless to us,” said Hardiman. “They are the heart and blood of the production floor.”

Submit your photos of a Linde (or Baoli) at work to: marketing.na(at)kiongroup.com