Ten To Watch

Industry leaders employ innovative solutions to address logistical challenges.


The team also provided LoadLink access into its vendor pickup locations, RD warehouses and internal management. By allowing RD warehouses, vendor pickup locations and internal staff to directly access load and order information through LoadLink, the team reduced the internal man-hours associated with fielding phone calls and e-mails by 74 percent.

3. Affiliated Foods Inc.: ARMARILLO, TX

Affiliated Foods Inc. wanted to improve productivity, reduce training time and reduce warehouse employee turnover rate. So the grocery wholesaler decided to move from a paper-based system in the warehouse to an end-to-end voice directed system for picking, put-way, replenishment and truck loading, for fork operators and workers on foot.

Affiliated installed a wireless infrastructure to deploy Vocollect Voice, which was integrated into its Aquitec warehouse management system (WMS). Workers use Vocollect hardware and headsets to receive voice commands, which are driven by Vocollect software integrated with Aquitec WMS software.

The benefits were swift and impressive: Affiliated was able to go from three to two shifts; 66 percent increase in perishable fork productivity; training time reduction from three days to one day; 67 percent decrease in employee turnover rate; and 23 percent increase in dry grocery fork productivity. Plus a decrease in turnover occurred within the first six months of deployment.

4. Maines Paper & Food Service Inc.: CONKLIN, NY

With nine distribution centers in the eastern and midwestern United States, Maines Paper & Food Service Inc. stocks everything businesses need, from food and beverage products to flatware.

When Maines needed a partner to help it achieve higher service levels and profitability, while reducing time-consuming lift truck equipment management at all of its locations, it chose The Raymond Corp. and its authorized sales and service center network.

Pengate Handling Systems, a Raymond Sales and Service Center located in Albany, NY, manages Maines' lift truck maintenance needs. Through a maintenance agreement, two dedicated service technicians from Pengate are consistently on site at Maines' headquarters to cover routine and preventive maintenance.

To keep distribution operating smoothly in its 400,000-square-foot facility, Maines relies on a fleet of 174 Raymond lift trucks that includes pallet trucks, Reach-Fork trucks, orderpickers and Swing-Reach trucks.

Maines counts on the productivity of its lift trucks and operators, especially since the company does not use any automated equipment or conveyors. Therefore, Maines has worked with Pengate to ensure the lift trucks are equipped to handle Maines' applications and maximize uptime.

One innovation that Maines is using on its pallet trucks to increase orderpicking efficiency is the CoastPRO system from Raymond. Operators can engage electronic coast control that moves the truck forward while the operator picks a product from the racks. The pallet forks are then in line with the operator's position, reducing the time needed to walk back and forth to the pallet truck during orderpicking.

"We also worked with Raymond to install extra guards on some of our counterbalanced lift trucks to protect the hydraulics and the baselegs of the trucks," says Patrick DeOrdio, vice president of operations for Maines. "The angled guards protect the trucks during turns around racks and reduce costs for repairs and downtime."

Maines has more than 43 lift truck operators who count on the lift trucks every day and appreciate the benefits of theses options.

To ensure all operators are properly trained to meet OSHA's lift truck training requirements, Maines utilizes Raymond's operator training program, which is taught by Maines' own in-house trainers. The company uses the program to train new people, recertify existing staff and provide refresher training to operators who may have had an incident. The training program helps Maines provide uniform training to all lift truck operators.

In addition to its regular fleet of workhorse lift trucks, Maines also has tested some new products from Raymond. The company most recently tested Raymond's new PowerSteer feature for pallet trucks. Maines found that PowerSteer increased operator comfort by significantly reducing the amount of stress placed on an operator when maneuvering pallet trucks. In addition, PowerSteer enhanced the operators' control over pallet trucks when maneuvering in tight spaces, such as within trailers.

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