Data tracking is on the move at ProMat
Suppliers are watching when, where, and how material moves through the plant.
Material handling suppliers are responding to the need to deliver actionable data on worker productivity. That was the prevailing message at the 2013 ProMat Show, held Jan. 21-23 in Chicago.
For example, the Raymond Corporation unveiled its iWAREHOUSE program, which combines fleet management and warehouse optimization, and monitors and collects lift truck and operator data in real time.
“Whether running a single warehouse or managing an entire enterprise, iWAREHOUSE puts the power of fleet and labor information into management’s hands,” said Chuck Pascarelli, president of sales and marketing for The Raymond Corporation. “With in-depth data, warehouse managers are able to identify opportunities to increase efficiencies throughout the warehouse and across their labor force,” Pascarelli said. “These new solutions provide comprehensive fleet tracking and monitoring, integrated labor management capabilities, and flexible reporting tools.”
Hyster Company also displayed its Hyster Tracker wireless monitoring system at ProMat.
The system is able to track operating information, including whether operators are properly using safety equipment. “Hyster Tracker keeps tabs on the performance and use of an operation’s lift trucks,” said Jonathan Dawley, president of Hyster Distribution. “The system provides valuable information to better operate, care for, and maintain Hyster lift trucks, enhancing productivity through intelligence.”
The three-day show drew more than 20,000 attendees across both the ProMat and Automate shows co-located at Chicago’s McCormick Place. ProMat attracted more than 800 exhibitors in 2013 for the biannual event, and most reported upbeat sales and market projections for the upcoming year.
The emphasis among material handling companies was to improve productivity among warehouse workers. While much of the monitoring software available was initially designed to monitor labor, including how productive workers were in picking and delivering materials, some said the data also leads to determining if warehouse layout and material availability also are issues.
There is little question, though, that the use of material handling data is on the rise, and so is its tracking. “Warehouses and distribution centers are one of the most critical inflection points in an increasingly complex global supply chain,” said Motorola Solutions officials in a press release announcing its AP 6562 radio and Omnii XT15ni, a ruggedized handheld device. “Enhanced productivity, worker safety, and business growth all can be realized through mobile technology by automating, enhancing, and streamlining processes.”
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.