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Thoughts, Articles, and Outlooks on the Industry

Industry Outlook

How to Succeed as an eCommerce Company in the New Normal

Global eCommerce has touched nearly every aspect of modern life. No longer a luxury, it has become the single most important strategy for businesses to adopt in order to stay competitive and achieve real success. It is, however, a hugely complex issue that raises many questions and forces difficult decisions. In this article, we look at the global eCommerce market…
September 8, 2021
AutomationIndustry Outlook

AGVs – Maximizing ROI Begins with Choosing the Right System

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) make the global supply chain possible, moving material from raw goods, through the production process, and out to the consumer. They are used in a wide variety of industries, from manufacturing and warehousing to medical care and even theme parks. Like most automation, AGVs offer increased accuracies and throughputs compared to a traditional workforce, while reducing…
August 9, 2021
AutomationIndustry Outlook

AGVs – the “Backbone” of Modern Material Handling

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) are wheel-based, autonomous material handlers. They are both versatile and affordable and are used in such a wide variety of industries that MH&L named them the “backbone” of. When considering adding or upgrading automation to existing systems, AGVs have the benefit of quick implementation and little downtime. All automation offers improved throughput and accuracy, and lower…
July 9, 2021
AutomationIndustry Outlook

Meeting the Many Regulations of the Cold Supply Chain

Depending on your source, analysts predict the world’s dependence on cold supply chains will increase by something like 8% or 15% over the next 5-10 years. Regulating the storage and transport of the perishable products in the cold supply chain is a patchwork of laws and agencies created at different levels of government. As well meaning as these agencies are,…
June 11, 2021
AutomationIndustry Outlook

Fundamentals of a Cold Supply Chain

Supply chain logistics is a complex industry, requiring the ordering and tracking of raw goods; the high demands of made-to-order manufacturing; the pressures of same-day shipping of a wide variety of products; and the precision of tailored deliveries to thousands of buyers who demand transparent tracking applications, all done on a global scale in a competitive market. As if all…
May 8, 2021
Industry Outlook

Trends in Wholesale Distribution – a New Era in 2021

Acting almost entirely behind the scenes, distributors are nevertheless vital for the success of the entire supply chain. They are a crucial part of the economy as a whole. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way everyone did business and turned traditional ways of working upside-down. Although the future remains uncertain, wholesale distribution is primed to enter a new era. The…
April 8, 2021
Industry Outlook

The Need for 1B+ Sq Ft of Warehouse Space, pt 3: Saving Graces

This is part 3 of a 3-part series. Part 1, Rattled Supply Chains, discusses the inability of Just-In-Time (JIT) logistics to adjust to recent demand shocks. Part 2, Innovated Spaces, discusses the severity of effects multi-channel retailing and the lockdowns of COVID-19 had on brick-and-mortar businesses. In Part 3, Saving Graces, we discuss how the fulfillment industry is adjusting to…
February 25, 2021
Industry Outlook

The Need for 1B+ Sq Ft of Warehouse Space, pt 2: Innovated Spaces

As we discussed in Part 1 of this series, Rattled Supply Chains, the rise of eCommerce has strained a global supply chain that was too focused on Just-in-Time (JIT) logistics. Retailers were left without enough inventory to meet the demand shocks of COVID-19. As supply chains began to normalize later in 2020, retailers also found themselves without enough warehousing space…
February 15, 2021
Industry Outlook

The Need for 1B+ Sq Ft of Warehouse Space, pt 1: Rattled Supply Chains

Before the coronavirus pandemic, online shopping was rising steadily. Adjusting fulfillment strategies to match that pace was a challenging but obtainable goal. The year-over-year growth between 2018 and 2019 of 14.9% was respectable. However, it did not prepare companies, or their supply chains, to meet the 93% growth seen in May of 2020. While the shift toward eCommerce has been…
February 9, 2021
Advanced Equipment

Preparing for Government Mandated Stockpiling of PPE

The first case of the novel coronavirus in the US was reported to the CDC on January 22, 2020. By April, the Strategic National Stockpile was nearly depleted of medical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), despite having delivered only a fraction needed by essential workers. Storing and managing the quantity of supplies needed to guard against global or national pandemics is…
November 18, 2020
Industry Outlook

A Contradiction of Needs: Order Fulfillment in a Global Pandemic

Before March, 2020, automation in material handling had been on a slow rise for decades. Serious players were making investments both in infrastructure and research, but in most industries automating was a game of incremental gains. The workforce had been getting the job done, and the pace of automation was largely determined by its ROI when compared against an already…
July 30, 2020
Industry Outlook

Hobart’s CL64T Tote Washer: A Higher Standard for Cleanliness

As industries adjust to the new normal of COVID-19, changes to everyday operations will have to be made. Cleaning and sanitization are now higher on the list of priorities than they ever were before. To that end, we at PeakLogix want to highlight a product from our partners at Hobart that will help keep employees and customers safe. The latest…
June 20, 2020
Industry Outlook

Micro-Distribution: Fulfillment’s Next Revolution

For 25 years, the competition to win e-commerce consumers has driven innovation in distribution. E-tail giants like Amazon and Alibaba have dominated the market by having unmatched throughput, consistency, and timing. They achieved this first through vigorous use of available technology, and later through the creation of technologies that hadn’t existed but were needed. Nevertheless, modern fulfillment is imperfect. Particularly…
May 1, 2020
Industry Outlook

Aethon’s AMRs on the Front Lines of COVID-19

At a time when COVID-19 is straining the capacity of hospitals the world over, we at PeakLogix wanted to highlight some of the amazing work from one of our partners, Aethon. For more than 15 years, Aethon has developed and produced autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) designed specifically for hospitals. These robots deliver medications, lab specimens, and meals, as well as…
April 14, 2020
Advanced Equipment

A Survival Guide to Conveyor Care and Maintenance

The sounds of a once-smooth system now vibrating and squeaking. The distinct smells of overheated metals and oils. The drips of oil or metal shavings on the floor, and the discolored or warped parts due to excessive heat. All of these are signs that your conveyor system may be overdue for some TLC. All of them can be detected by…
March 24, 2020
Advanced Equipment

7 Key Factors in Selecting the Right Conveyor

Because of their ubiquity across many industries, there are many types of conveyor, each with unique abilities and peripherals. Choosing a conveyor from among all the possible options can seem a herculean task. Modern conveyors do more than move material. They are integral parts of complex material-handling systems. The right system can sort items quickly and efficiently, can buffer those…
March 17, 2020
Advanced Equipment

Conveyors 201: Their Many Types

Conveyors can be found everywhere in our society. They feed the silos that hold the grain that helps feed the world. They grease the wheels of commerce and tourism by moving luggage through airports. And of course they are the arteries of e-commerce, moving through warehouses the thousands of items each hour that online shoppers expect to be out the…
March 10, 2020
Advanced Equipment

What is a conveyor system?

For many not in the material handling industry, the words “conveyor system” may bring to mind the miles of it they’ve seen in the news or on YouTube – or in the news on YouTube – snaking through Amazon fulfillment centers. Conveyors, however, do more for society than help fill our online orders. If you’ve ever driven past grain farms…
February 18, 2020
Automation

What is warehouse automation?

Warehouse automation by definition Warehouse automation is a broad term encompassing most modern upgrades in a warehouse environment. Robots, autonomous vehicles, and automated storage and retrieval systems are of course ‘automation.’ But so are the systems and software that enable these machines to work, such as ABC inventory management and data management systems. Even people, when enabled by such technologies…
February 11, 2020
Automation

6 Tips and Best Practices for Integrating Warehouse Automation

Modern warehouses and distribution centers do what warehouses have done for millennia – receive, store, process, and ship goods. For thousands of years, these jobs were done without automation – unless you consider automation to include the wheel and pulley. Still today, warehouses aren’t required to be automated – all of their primary jobs can be done without it. Of…
February 4, 2020
Automation

What are the warehouse automation trends transforming the industry?

Ours is a trying time for technophobes, and for them the future must look bleak. For technophiles, on the other hand, everyday must be like Christmas. The world has embraced computers and automation, and our contact with them is becoming increasingly intimate and subtle. They are in our purses and our pockets, on our wrists, and even in our shoes.…
January 28, 2020
Operations

Balers or Compactors: Deciding Which to Use

At PeakLogix, many of the integrations we’ve completed over the years have fed corrugated boxes to a baler as part of a facility’s recycling operations. Recently, we were asked if a compactor could achieve the same outcome. In short, compactors are used for disposing of waste, while balers are more appropriate for recycling processes. Here’s a quick summary of the…
January 21, 2020
Automation

The Benefits and Applications of Robotic Palletizers

What are robotic palletizers? Robotic palletizing systems automate the process of stacking product onto pallets. They can also be programmed to depalletize – an essential part of many production lines. Robotic palletizers solve some issues that their older counterpart – conventional palletizers – could not. Conventional palletizers have been around for more than half a century. They consist of a…
January 14, 2020
Automation

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems

What is an Automated Storage and Retrieval System? At its most basic, an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (abbreviated AS/RS or ASRS) consists of an automated Storage and Retrieval Machine (SRM), a storage area, and computer controllers that both archive product data and guide the system. AS/RSs date back to the 1960’s and were designed for large and heavy loads.…
January 7, 2020
Automation

Material Handling with Automated Guided Vehicles

What is an automated guided vehicle? Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are, put simply, driverless vehicles used to move material. They can look very much like traditional forklifts, though they may lack a cockpit. Depending on the application, they can also take less traditional shapes. Low-profile AGVs may look like industrial Roombas and move material by jacking up shelving from below.…
December 24, 2019
Automation

Data Management in Distribution Operations

Data management systems enable all of the complex parts of a warehouse, distribution center, or manufacturer to work together. As important as they are, they are unseen, and perceived as mysterious forces. To understand them, consider an analogy to an ant colony. Ants all have different jobs – hunting, building, and defending the colony, to name a few. Ants perform…
December 17, 2019
Advanced Equipment

Voice Picking: A Bridge to Perfect Order Practices

55% of the operational costs of a typical distribution center (DC) are associated with order picking. So when an owner or manager of a DC asks us to help lower their costs, streamlining that process is one of the first places we know to look. In a conversation with Dan Hanrahan, with The Numina Group, he shared some insights into…
December 10, 2019
Automation

Choosing the Right Storage and Picking Automation

What is storage and picking automation? Too often, order fulfillment facilities and systems aren’t upgraded because of the industry myth that the often publicized and expensive automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RSs) are the only way to automate picking processes in competitive markets. However, warehouse automation can be any upgrade to a paper-based order fulfillment system. Automated picking can mean…
December 3, 2019
Automation

The Efficiencies of Barcoding and Tagging

What are barcodes and scanners? Barcode labels and the automation that scans them are not a new invention. Since 1974, when they were first introduced to retail, their use in supermarkets and grocery stores has become universal. If you’ve ever paid attention to the cashier scanning your groceries – or used a self-checkout – then you are already familiar with…
November 26, 2019
Automation

Solving the Automation Puzzle through Customization

As an integrator of static and automated material handling solutions, making manufacturing and distribution operations more current, effective, and productive is our goal at PeakLogix. Understanding how best to do that for each business demands a customized solution that is tantamount to solving a Soma cube – if all the parts of that cube were constantly moving. Our team starts…
November 19, 2019
Automation

Calculating the ROI of Warehouse Automation

Warehouse Automation, when implemented correctly, has many positive ramifications on distribution center operations, but there needs to be a detailed analysis performed prior to starting the project to understand the financial savings generated by the investment. The project sponsor doesn't want to discover several common budgeting traps after the start of the project, once automation implementation has already begun. Before…
November 12, 2019
Advanced Equipment

Understanding the Variety of Conveyors Available for Your Operations

A typical warehouse spends 50% or more of its operational budget in the picking process. When a facility first looks to upgrade their systems, solving inefficiencies here usually offers its best return on investment. One good solution for transporting goods through a warehouse or manufacturing facility – or, in fact, over nearly any distance – is a conveyor system. They…
November 5, 2019
Automation

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems vs. the Amazon Effect

Recent years have seen exponential increases in service levels and customer expectations. At the same time, particularly where Amazon has a physical presence, the labor force is shrinking. In a global economy, the Amazon Effect is a global issue and, in most industries, combating the competing needs of increased performance within a decreasing labor pool is paramount. Often, automation is…
October 29, 2019
Industry Outlook

The Art of Carrier Contracts

At PeakLogix, our mission is to help our customers lower their costs and maximize their resources. Often – though not always – the best way to do that is by introducing some kind of new technology into our client's process. That may be something as complex as sortation conveyors, or as simple as RFID scanners. At the same time, we…
October 22, 2019
Automation

Robotic Palletizers: Solving a Unique Challenge

When it comes to robotic palletizers, there are generalists and there are specialists. Generalist machines work through 5 or 6 axes and are able to perform industrial tasks such as welding, bolting, or riveting. In material handling, we find that our clients need their palletizers to be really great at just one thing – palletizing. And that's why we've found…
October 15, 2019
Industry Outlook

Precision in Material Handling: A Case for Critical Measurement

Imagine you're a surgeon. You're in the middle of an operation and need an instrument, but when your nurse reaches for it on your prepackaged surgical tray, it isn't there. Worse yet, imagine being that surgeon's patient. In material handling, doing our jobs well – and with precision – is critical to our customers. We recently talked to Travis Motz,…
October 8, 2019
Industry Outlook

Hytrol Conveyor Company: An Innovative and Lean Partner

Conveyors were perhaps made famous by Henry Ford, who used them even in his earliest assembly lines. However, they predate the Model T by perhaps as much as 200 years. While their earliest history is lost to time, conveyors have become a staple of material handling because of their efficiency, affordability, and versatility. Part of PeakLogix's mission is to provide…
September 20, 2019
Automation

Customizing Solutions in the AGV Market

Automation in shipping, warehousing, and material handling is popular for good reason – it's versatile and cost-effective. Automated Guided Vehicles are gaining popularity for the benefits they bring in automated warehouse integrations. We wanted to dive into their potential, so we reached out to Pete Jadwinski, National Sales Manager at America in Motion, a leading supplier of AGV's since 2007.…
September 10, 2019
Advanced Equipment

RFID: How Technology Reads Itself

In our industry discussions tend to range from the low-tech to the high – from racking and shelving to the latest advances in picking technologies and robotics. But we don’t often discuss how those two ends of the spectrum are brought together through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). If the software in your Warehouse Management System (WMS) is considered the brain…
August 8, 2019
Advanced Equipment

Innovations in Deep Lane Storage

If there is one universal challenge in warehouse management and operations, it would be the efficient handling and storage of pallets. With few exceptions, they need to be stored as compactly, and retrieved as quickly and accurately, as possible. One of the best ways to accomplish this is with an automated or semi-automated storage system. Steve Dale has been involved…
August 2, 2019