Other posts by John Clark

Here are some other posts from John Clark.

It’s Not all about that Bass…It’s all about the Software

notaboutthatbass

While ‘All About that Bass’ was one of the biggest ear worms of last summer, when it comes to supply chain automation, there is a different new tune being sung.  It turns out that it isn’t all about that bass, but all about the Software.

This isn’t just a supply chain story either. Willy C. Smith, in a recent Harvard Business Review post, ‘Does Hardware Even Matter Anymore?‘, sums it up: “In more and more businesses, physical objects are no longer the primary basis for innovation and differentiation. They come second to innovations in computer code.”

[Read more…]

A three-year payback on an automation installation?

It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? That an automation installation could pay for itself in just 36 months—or sooner?

But it’s true. Depending on the level of automated system installed and the specific circumstances surrounding an operation’s current mode of operation, an investment in automated material handling systems and technologies could very well produce a three-year return on investment (ROI). [Read more…]

Seven Things to Consider when Installing Conveyor in your Cooler or Freezer

Life is full of so many things to ‘keep in mind’ or ‘remember to do’. When considering installing conveyor in a refrigerated or frozen environment, it’s no different. Beyond just selecting the right conveyor product solution for your needs, when considering automation for your cooler or freezer environment there are many special considerations you need to take into account in order to ensure optimal performance of your automated system.

[Read more…]

System Buyers Rank Top 7 Most Important Characteristics of Material Handling Solution Providers (Infographic)

In the spring, viastore systems partnered with Modern Materials Handling to conduct a survey investigating how organizations evaluate and select material handling system providers and their solutions. The resulting report, “Material Handling System Choices: Priorities, Approaches and Selection Processes of Decision-Makers”, was released in June. It shares insights into the processes used by managers at warehouses and distribution centers (DCs) as they as they seek out the equipment and services that will help them met their operational goals.

The 306 survey respondents work in manufacturing, wholesale and retail, warehousing and distribution services, with consulting services, or third-party solutions providers. Their job functions included executive management (18%), operations (16%), engineering (22%), warehouse management (10%), purchasing (9%), plant management (7%), and sales (13%).

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Give Your Old Automation Equipment New Life

service_MG_49657 Key Things to look for when evaluating your older conveyor or automated storage and retrieval system to see if it still has some life left in it

Is replacing your current material automation solution the only option you have? If only there was a way where you could keep your older equipment, but have it work better (and more reliably).

There are companies that have an automated material handling system that is getting a bit old (maybe even 20-30 years old). These systems may have been kept going over the years with good maintenance and replacement of parts as needed. The problem is that this system may be seeing a need for an update.  If you’ve talked to suppliers of new material handling systems, they probably suggested tearing it out and replacing it with new equipment.  While that may be the optimum solution, for a variety of reasons (budget, avoidance of downtime, etc.), that won’t be YOUR solution.

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The Waveless Warehouse: Why Wave Picking Might Not Be the Best for Your Distribution Center

2014_viastore_Reportage_WIKA_Bild12We adopt new technology because it presents a better way of getting things done. The horse and buggy gave way to the car because of speed and convenience. The smart phone eclipsed feature phones because consumers could have richer apps and a connected experience.

Similarly in business, new technology must bring tangible benefits to really catch on. A new buzzword won’t cut it without bottom line benefits, especially in the cost conscious world of logistics.

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11 Considerations Before Purchasing Material Handling Equipment

When considering the purchase of an automated material handling solution it’s a given that you have to stay within your budget. Whether you are looking at conveyor, sortation, AS/RS, WMS, or a combination of all of the above, there are several factors that need to come into play beyond just who might have the lowest price.

Here are a few to consider:

1. Does the solution match your scope?

2. Did the supplier give you what you asked or, or offer an explanation of why it is different? If what you asked for is not the vendor’s recommended design/solution, it’s important that you receive a quote for the design you requested so you have a base comparison to make against other quotes.

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An Incremental Approach to Automation for 3PL Cold (or any type of) Storage

Last week at the IARW Conference in Orlando, viastore’s Bill Ostermeyer partnered with David Sturver, from viastore customer Americold to speak about automation and cold storage 3PLs. The presentation, ‘What level of automation makes sense for a 3PL – an incremental approach’, was well-attended, with about 125 attendees. The topic of an incrementation approach to automation isn’t just for cold storage 3PLs, but really is applicable to many companies.

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viastore Case Study – Phoenix Contact-How AS/RS is the ‘backbone’ of an automated material handling logistics solution

IMG_1448-2viastore implemented an automated warehouse and picking solution for Phoenix Contact, a global manufacturer of industrial electrical and electronic technology products, at the company’s US operations headquarters, based in Middletown, Pennsylvania. The viastore solution includes robotic depalletizers, a conveyor sortation system, a seven aisle mini-load automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS), and ten (10) Goods to Person pick/pack stations, all driven by a warehouse management system (WMS) that also controls a conventional warehouse. The entire automated material handling system was supplied by viastore systems.

[Read more…]

ProMat ’15 – Grease isn’t the word, it’s Software

PrintAnother ProMat has come and gone. With ProMat 2015 now in the books, the theme that seemed to resonate throughout the show was software.

While many vendors don’t like it said, the differences between the mechanical product offerings each has aren’t all that much any more. Its the software that is the new separation point. [Read more…]