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Product Spotlight: Linde A Man-Down Turret Truck

Many companies are utilizing Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) solutions due to the ever-growing need for the more efficient use of space. This can be an efficient way of organizing the internal flow of goods so higher outputs can be achieved. The Linde A man-down turret trucks are designed for fast, reliable storage and the retrieval of full pallets. Generally, VNA solutions are equipped for both pallet handling and order picking. This truck is similar to the Linde K Series, but the operator stays level with the ground, which eliminates the order picking capability of the man-up truck.

Operator-focused design

Commonly referred to as the “Amod,” the Linde A man-down turret truck features an operator-focused design with ergonomics that are second to none. The driver’s compartment is no exception. The truck offers an adjustable seat, choice of travel pedals, easy access to all controls, and a low fatigue and intuitive operator interface which allows the operator to focus on the task at hand.

Safety

Active and passive safety is the number one design characteristic of any Linde truck. Linde engineers apply some of the best safety features in the industry including a cantilever-supported overhead guard for better visibility and a multi-function electronic control handle for intuitive load manipulation.

The truck can be enhanced further by adding additional optional safety features to meet a company’s specific needs such as a backup camera or laser pointer to show the operator the exact position of his forks, helping him or her to stack or retrieve pallets quickly and safely.

Reliability

Reliability and productivity of this truck are designed into its core. Linde’s man-down Amod is built using the latest AC and CanBus technology, and with sealed maintenance-free motors, Linde engineers achieve unmatched durability. These features combined yield one of the most reliable trucks on the VNA market.

Because the operator stays at ground level, the Linde A man-down turret truck provides an economical solution in applications that require high storage density combined with full pallet handling. Powerful, high-performance traction and hydraulic motors ensure high pallet throughput and exceptional productivity.

If you need additional equipment to complement the Amod’s functionality and further increase your facility’s efficiency and productivity, visit our website to view our entire product line or contact your authorized local dealer today to schedule a site survey.

 

 

Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Forklift

A forklift is more than just machine—it’s an investment for the good of your business. Purchasing a forklift is not a decision that should not be taken lightly. Every forklift model has its advantages and choosing the model that best suits your material handling needs takes time and careful consideration.

Asking the right questions is vital when investing in new equipment. Whatever your forklift needs may be, make sure to ask these five questions when considering your next purchase.

What is my budget?

Deciding on a budget will not only save you time and resources, but it will also narrow down your options. If you’re not sure whether purchasing a new forklift is the right option for you, other possibilities include leasing, renting or buying used.

While buying a used forklift may seem tempting, keep in mind that buying used means you’ll get shorter life out of the machine. A new forklift is a larger investment, but purchase ensures brand new parts.

Will I be driving the forklift inside or outside?

It’s important to know where you will be operating to determine what type of forklift you should purchase. Electric forklifts are often thought of for use indoors. However, a Linde forklift with its splash-proof electrical system can also be a great option for outdoor use.

When it comes to the difference between indoor and outdoor forklifts, it comes down to the tires versus the power source. Electric forklifts commonly have cushion tires, which are ideal for smooth surfaces or loading docks. They also offer a smaller turning radius and last longer than their pneumatic counterpart.

Internal combustion engine forklifts with pneumatic or super-elastic tires have strong traction on rough or uneven terrain, making them the perfect choice for outdoor applications like construction sites or lumber yards.

What are the maintenance costs?

Owning a forklift is a big responsibility, so make sure to ask about maintenance costs when considering the purchase of a new machine. Typically, there are two types of maintenance agreements that are offered by the forklift dealer.

Planned Maintenance (PM) is a basic plan that states the dealer will perform service to the forklift over a determined schedule. Full Maintenance (FM) charges the customer a monthly fee to cover breakdown and maintenance over a certain period.

Does the brand of forklift matter?

While it may be tempting to purchase a forklift based solely on price, the brand of forklift does in fact matter. You should never buy a forklift based on price alone. Brands like Linde and Baoli are backed by more than 100 years of material handling expertise, making them more reliable. Small or unknown brands may be less expensive, but what you may save in up-front price, you’ll most likely pay for in replacement parts when your forklift breaks down.

Should I try before I buy?

You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it, and the same should apply when purchasing a forklift. Before purchasing, request a demo to test the machine in your facility. Test driving a forklift will give you a good idea of how well it functions and how suitable it is for your needs.

By asking these questions and talking to a knowledgeable dealer, you can be sure that you are making a great investment for your business. At KION North America, we provide innovative forklift models to help your business become more productive and profitable. Check out our website to learn more about our models and find a dealer near you.

Product Spotlight: Linde K Man-Up Turret Truck

With the ever-growing need for the more efficient use of space, many companies are switching to Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) solutions. Switching to VNA solutions means you can handle more goods in less time, less space and with less damage. The Linde K man-up turret truck is a great solution for warehouse applications. This turret truck is built for pallet handling as well as order picking applications up to 59 feet.

Operator Comfort

The Linde K man-up turret truck provides the highest standard of comfort and safety than the average competitor models. With features like the glass front panel and door, the operator will immediately feel at ease as soon as they step foot in this truck. The more comfortable the truck, the more relaxed and efficient the operator will be. Often referred to as the Kmod, it was designed to ensure low fatigue operation, and the new full-graphic display guarantees just that. This display shows information like time, current lift height, load weight and driving speed. This truck also benefits from two independent braking systems and an innovative rescue alarm that detects unusual operator behavior and attracts attention in emergency situations.

Intelligent Design

The Linde K truck is one of the most reliable and intelligent trucks on the market—requiring very little servicing. An optional online diagnostic GPRS service that allows the truck to report a fault directly to a technician can also be added.

Additionally, this truck has several innovative assisting systems. One of these systems is the Dynamic Reach Control which is effective compensation of lateral mast movements while the reaching of forks and reach adjustment depending on lift height and load weight. Another system is the Lift Height Preselection—where different rack heights can easily be entered into the system’s memory so that the driver then only needs to enter the rack destination. With systems like these and many others incorporated into this truck, the Linde Kmod sits atop of its class in reliability and intelligence.

Customization

Linde K man-up turret truck is also one of the most customizable trucks on the market. Knowing that not all warehouses are the same, Linde makes the customer’s wants and needs a reality with many optional features. Customizable options include the masts, power packages, different cab variations, chassis size, and batteries. The customer can even choose between two different control panels. The standard control panel can be easily adjusted in height, tilt and angle to suit each operator, and the split control panel can be easily adjusted from standing to seated operation.

For more information or to request a demo of any of Linde brand VNA solutions, contact your authorized local dealer today.

7 Ways Fulfillment Centers Help Sell More Products

In a highly competitive market where customers expect to receive online orders with same-day or next-day shipping, fulfillment centers have become a smart solution for lowering costs. Both small startups and giant corporations can benefit from outsourcing shipping and handling to a quality fulfillment center. The center can take over the logistics of storing, labeling, sorting, packaging, and shipping your company’s inventory. Here are seven ways fulfillment centers can help your business sell more products and reach a broader base of customers.

1. Add new sales channels

Most small businesses start with a sales channel that delivers products directly to the customer from the store. Although less expensive, this practice is extremely limiting to businesses. It is difficult to grow the company and expand into new markets if the product must be stored in short supply at the business’ premises. However, a fulfillment center allows your business to enter the E-commerce market and reach broader customer demographics. To increase profit margins and to sell more products, your business must add new sales channels. Fulfillment centers are the most cost-effective strategy for increasing your customer base.

2. Protect against market fluctuations

As in almost any industry, prices are subject to dramatic increases and decreases. Fulfillment centers are a buffer against the market fluctuations that might otherwise harm your business. By storing a portion of your product in one of its warehouses, fulfillment centers can meet fluctuating consumer demand. Fulfillment centers are also experienced in the industry and can help new businesses plan ahead. Preparing for market fluctuations, which can occur at any time of the year, gives your business an edge over competitors and protection against profit loss. During times of peak demand, shipping costs will skyrocket for individual businesses. However, a fulfillment center can hold prices at a steady rate regardless of increased or decreased demand.

3. Grow your business

For small startups, entering the online retail market or expanding from regional to national can be extraordinarily difficult. Shareholders may hesitate to take on an increased risk of bankruptcy and prevent startups from becoming successful national or even global companies. Fulfillment centers allow businesses to access a wider base of consumers and retailers who are eager to support your products. By controlling the shipping, handling, and other additional logistics for your online and brick-and-mortar store, fulfillment centers can help your business grow exponentially.

4. Handle new inventory

Fulfillment centers have access to a wide pool of resources that can efficiently label and process your inventory. Updates are made in real time to meet consumer demand. A quality fulfillment center is also capable of handling customer returns and exchanges that might stymie a smaller company. By letting a fulfillment center handle complicated shipping logistics, you can focus on growing your business and satisfying customers. Outsourcing to a fulfillment center can help you efficiently distribute new products to an expanded customer base.

5. Create loyal customers

Instead of stretching your company thin to meet the demand for fast shipping and the cost of expensive storage units, hire a fulfillment center to free up more of your time. With this headache taken care of, you can focus your efforts toward developing a brand identity that connects with customers. Fulfillment centers help you retain the integrity of your services and products in a way that can impress customers. By quickly meeting shipping deadlines and processing returns and exchanges, you will satisfy consumers and create a loyal customer base. Sending customers a damaged product or the wrong item can harm your company’s reputation and prevent you from reaching new customers. A fulfillment center can keep up with shipping demand and cost with experienced methods for sorting, packaging, and sending your company’s products.

6. Reduce shipping costs

A fulfillment center can provide cheaper shipping rates to your business than if you tried to send products on your own. Since your products can be shipped faster at a lower cost, you can expand into new markets, sell more products, and earn more profit. With the money left over, your company can innovate new products, make investments, or hire additional employees. Reduced shipping costs help your business expand from national to international. With the help of a fulfillment center, the world is your company’s oyster.

7. Meet customer expectations

In the past, customers expected items to arrive at their doorstep in one to two weeks and were satisfied with this timing. Since industry giants such as Amazon have popularized same-day and two-day shipping, customers are expecting products to arrive faster than ever. When a customer sends an item back for a return or an exchange, they expect to receive a refund or a new product within days. Many customers will become anxious if a product seems to be taking too long to ship, especially if they have ordered from a new company whose reputation they are uncertain about. A customer may take to social media to complain about your company’s slow shipping which could dissuade other consumers from shopping at your business. Avoid these brand management crises with a fulfillment center that is equipped to ship products within days and include the proper tracking information to customers.

At KION North America, we are innovating the strategies and technology that will help businesses expand into new markets and reach more customers. With our high-quality Linde and Baoli forklift lines and tailored supply chain solutions from our sister company, Dematic, companies have the tools required for maximizing both productivity and profits. For more information about how our forklift models can revolutionize your warehouse operations, contact our expert team at (843) 875-8000.

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.

What You Need to Know About Warehouse Automation

As a warehouse manager, your aim is to maximize productivity and profits while best serving your customers. Warehouse technology is rapidly advancing and automation is more cost-effective than ever, making 2018 the perfect year to incorporate robotics into your warehouse operations. Here are five reasons why investing in warehouse automation can be a strategic business move.

1. Automating repetitive tasks

The original assembly lines at Ford Motor Company were notorious for mind-numbing, monotonous tasks as workers assembled the first vehicles. The beginning of the Industrial Revolution was characterized by dull and sometimes dangerous work as a manufacturer. However, vast improvements in robotics and machinery have replaced these repetitive jobs. As the warehouse industry continues to grow to meet the demands of an increasingly global customer base, automating picking strategies, inventory collection, and barcode scanning are becoming essential.

2. Protecting from human error

Unfortunately, humans are prone to mistakes. When something goes wrong in a fast-paced warehouse that is struggling to meet the demands of two-day or overnight shipping, even a small mistake can cost the company big money. Although automation isn’t perfect, it has a higher rate of accuracy than human employees. A shortage of skilled labor coupled with the expense of hiring and training a new workforce has pressured managers to seek out automation. Although the initial cost is high, the machines have an excellent ROI. Plus, they won’t leave your warehouse for a competitor’s. The most common human errors occur when documenting, shelving, or retrieving inventory, so automating these processes can vastly improve your warehouse’s efficiency.

3. Saving time

While forklifts continue to be a staple of warehouse operations, automated forklifts are becoming widely available. Unlike their more traditional counterparts, these self-guided forklifts and pallet carts rely on programmable digital pathways instead of human operators. The automated guided vehicles (AGVs) can save time and increase productivity. Since some AGVs can be leased or taken for a trial run, they don’t require as much up-front investment as other automation. Radio frequency identification technology (RFID) also saves time and labor by using wireless signals to track and locate inventory.

4. Providing real-time data

Without access to real-time data about incoming and outgoing inventory, employees may incorrectly count the number of items in stock or make other potentially catastrophic mistakes. Real-time data allows warehouse operations to run more smoothly and can help discover inefficiencies in picking or slotting strategies. Excess inventory wastes money and space, whereas a shortage of inventory causes delays and can anger customers. Today’s warehouse managers have the opportunity to automate replenishment, ensuring that items are available when needed but not overstocked.

5. Optimizing software systems

The age of automation is driven not only by machines but also by sophisticated systems that increase productivity. A wide variety of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are available for purchase. The best software will depend on your business’s individual needs, but most systems will be capable of controlling the warehouse receiving, storing, and shipping strategies for maximum efficiency. Any automated machinery you buy for your warehouse will likely require integration with a WMS. The WMS guides and simplifies the transactions by efficiently managing inventory. Even if you decide to wait to incorporate automation into your warehouse, you should still consider investing in a WMS. The system can quickly train employees and help them discover the fastest, most efficient pick paths while providing real-time data about inventory.

KION North America is a member of the KION Group–a global leader in industrial trucks, related services and supply chain solutions. Our team is committed to helping you grow your warehousing operations with the best technology and forklifts available. Discover how our equipment can revolutionize your warehouse.

Creating a Slotting Strategy for Your Warehouse Inventory

Whether you are looking to increase profits or improve efficiency, regularly assessing your slotting strategy will help your warehouse meet customer demands and process as much inventory as possible. Efficient product placement reduces handling costs and allows for packages to move quickly in and out of the warehouse. When developing a slotting strategy for warehouse inventory, consider whether random, fixed, or dynamic slotting best meets your business’ needs.

Random slotting:

As the name implies, a random slotting method designates inventory to multiple picking locations. The advantage of random slotting is reducing replenishment time. If the inventory at one pick zone is running low, then it can be immediately collected from a new location. To design a warehouse with a random slotting strategy, build putaway lanes that directly lead to pick locations. However, the downside to this approach is that it is not always time-efficient. Inventory assigned to multiple pick locations will not move as quickly as it would under the fixed slotting method.

Fixed slotting:

With a fixed slotting approach, inventory is assigned to bins or specific locations and picked directly from there. Each pick slot will configure the minimum or maximum quantity of the item within its bin. If an order is placed that will deplete the item below its minimum fixed quantity, then a replenishment team will be dispatched to restock the product. New items are pulled from a reserve inventory and should be stored near the item’s fixed location.

Dynamic slotting:

Dynamic slotting is similar to random slotting since it doesn’t mandate a static location for inventory. Unlike random slotting, a dynamic approach uses Warehouse Management System software to calculate where to place items depending on their demand. If an item in your inventory is especially high-moving this week, then dynamic slotting will place it next to the shipping dock. These quick calculations are made through advanced software which can keep track of the demand for inventory in real-time. If inventory movement is very sensitive to changing conditions, such as consumer preference, then dynamic slotting may be the best strategy for your warehouse.

Regardless of which slotting approach you choose, it is important that your strategy is reducing the costs of manpower, maximizing storage space, and meeting inventory demand. An efficient slotting strategy should improve productivity and minimize replenishment runs. Coupled with the right slotting strategy, KION’s impressive brands of Linde and Baoli forklifts can help your warehouse increase its profits.

How to Use a Pallet Dispenser

A pallet dispenser is a simple, cost-effective machine which stacks pallets vertically and then dispenses them at ground level or on conveyor belts. The machines are easy to operate and reduce the risk of employee injuries. Incorporating pallet dispensers into warehouse operations lengthens the lifespan of pallets and increases productivity.

Almost all dispensers can work with wood, plastic, and CHEP pallets and can be customized to fit a range of sizes. Choose from manual or auto-loading dispensers based on your warehouse’s budget and size.

To stack pallets manually, use a pallet jack or forklift to insert pallets one-by-one. As each pallet is fed into the machine, it will lift the stack up to allow for another pallet to be inserted. When you’re ready to dispense the pallets, adjust the controls to allow you to pull out each pallet while the machine holds the remaining ones. You can also remove all of the pallets at once. Most machines hold 15-20 pallets.

More sophisticated machinery uses a conveyor belt to load and dispense the pallets.  This requires an operator at the controls instead of an employee on the ground. A pallet truck or a conveyor feeds a stack of pallets into an auto-loading machine. These pallets are stacked onto a forklift and can be dispersed by placing each pallet onto a conveyor belt and moving it to another location. Some automatic pallet dispensers can cycle through 360 pallets an hour—or roughly six per minute.

Load transfer stations use an automatic pallet dispenser to separate and dispense pallets. Advanced robotics can move boxes down conveyor belts, place the boxes onto the pallets, and prepare them for shipping. They can integrate with existing systems and provide a significant ROI if your warehouse moves large amounts of inventory.

Pallet dispensers require high-performance forklifts like those from our Linde and Baoli product lines. Contact one of our authorized dealerships for more information today.

Tips for an Eco-Friendly Warehouse

The biggest energy expense for warehouse operations is lighting, according to a study by Smart Energy Design. Packaging materials, cooling efforts, and failing to recycle are other monetary and environmental burdens. However, both companies and consumers are becoming more eco-conscious in the face of climate change and overflowing landfills. Investing in sustainable warehouse practices will lower costs, help the environment, and impress customers.

Use eco-packaging

Biodegradable packaging protects customers from potentially hazardous materials and prevents your business from incurring fines for violating environmental regulations. Even if you switch to eco-friendly packing materials, try to reduce the amount of packaging used in boxes. Lighter packages cost less to ship, and save money by avoiding excessive packaging.

Improve lighting fixtures

Your warehouse’s electricity use presents an opportunity to lower operational costs and help the environment. While upgrading to LED lighting or other energy saving fixtures is initially expensive, it can save your warehouse up to 80%  on utility bills. Another sustainable strategy is turning off and unplugging your equipment at night. Try plugging electronics into surge protectors so you aren’t stuck untangling a mess of cords.

Initiate recycling programs

Warehouses consume high volumes of paper and cardboard, but failure to recycle or reuse means that you’ll continue buying materials you don’t need. Initiating a recycling program will keep unnecessary waste from piling up in landfills, and promoting your sustainability efforts will draw customers to your business.

Install high volume, low speed fans

Installing HVLS fans in your warehouse can keep the AC turned off even during the hottest summer days. The integrated control system uses massive fans with a 24 foot diameter to move large volumes of air while maintaining low speeds. The fans can reduce cooling bills between 12% and 50% since they draw on less electricity.

At KION, we are the leading innovators in technology, sustainability, and efficiency. Contact an authorized KION North America dealership today to revolutionize your warehouse operations.

5 Technologies for Improving Warehouse Efficiency

Today’s digital world is connected by constant communication transmitted primarily through mobile devices. Ideally, warehouse operations can maximize efficiency and profitability utilizing these tools, but many managers of complex systems are slow to adopt new technologies. However, the rising cost of labor and an increasing demand for products means that going digital is more important than ever. Software, automation, mobile technology, voice controls, and RFID are rapidly expanding technologies promising efficient use of time, labor and money.

  1. Software

    Customers in the ecommerce market expect faster and faster deliveries, which means that warehouses are under immense pressure to receive, record, and distribute inventory. Fortunately, software companies provide an extensive line of products and may even offer free trials. Choosing the optimum software program for your warehouse can make or break a production line. Current software models will track inventory, respond to orders, and monitor productivity.

  2. Automation

    Increased labor costs have ignited the robotics development. Automation saves both time and money by fulfilling millions of orders with minimal overhead. Advanced technology is available at a relatively affordable price, which is attracting more and more managers to automate their production. Robotics also make fewer mistakes than human workers, which lowers the operational cost and increases customer satisfaction. An automated labor force minimizes safety hazards, since robots are less vulnerable to injury and also avoid dangerous errors.

  3. Mobile technology

    Mobile isn’t limited to your smartphone: cloud-based technology, wearable barcodes, and powerful tracking are revolutionizing warehouse operations. Cloud-based storage is self-updating and doesn’t require the installation of a new, expensive system. A mobile barcode device is another timesaver as it automatically scans items as employees process them. Employees can review packing lists, locate inventory, and scan items hands-free. Advanced tracking methods with a mobile device can help prevent lost or forgotten merchandise.

  4. Voice controls

    With voice-controlled technology, spoken commands dictate when to replenish inventory or change the warehouse’s shipping methods. Voice controls improve picking productivity and accuracy, require less training to operate, and a bring a higher ROI. Voice controls can track operations in real-time and easily communicate with other warehouse distribution channels. As the size of warehouses expand to meet rising consumer demand, mobile devices and digital interfaces will make instant communication with employees at different locations possible.

  5. RFID

    With voice-controlled technology, spoken commands dictate when to replenish inventory or change the warehouse’s shipping methods. Voice controls improve picking productivity and accuracy, require less training to operate, and a bring a higher ROI. Voice controls can track operations in real-time and easily communicate with other warehouse distribution channels. As the size of warehouses expand to meet rising consumer demand, mobile devices and digital interfaces will make instant communication with employees at different locations possible.

Improve warehouse efficiency with technologically advanced material equipment from our Linde, Baoli, and STILL product line, and supply chain solutions from Dematic. Contact a KION Dealer representative today.