News Briefs

March 1, 2003
Marine Warehouses Ready for War

Leave it to the U.S. Marine Corps to find a way to set up a distribution facility in an area not supported by a logistics infrastructure.

That’s the idea behind the deployable STRATIS (Storage Retrieval Automated Tracking Integrated System) WMS container, or “Warehouse Management System in a box.” The idea started like this: If you’re supporting maintenance operations in a remote environment, material stored in intermodal containers on trucks is in virtual mobile warehouses. Why not take the next step and automate those warehouses?

That’s just what the Marines did by putting carousels from FKI Logistex/White Systems into these containers. The Marines use carousels at their Camp Lejeune, Camp Pendleton and Okinawa sites. By putting carousels into deployable containers, it can apply the same kind of material handling system that makes efficient use of warehouse cube — only it’s done in the tight confines of an intermodal container.

The person who picks the products relies on the Marines’ STRATIS WMS to download picks. The system will activate the carousel storage locations in sequence. “We have RF devices that collect the license plate data at various points,” explains Lt. Col. Alan B. Will, project officer with Marine Corps Systems Command. “If we move from the U.S. to an overseas location, we can scan a container in the U.S., then track it while in transit to an overseas location. It can then be scanned upon arrival. Setting up a warehouse in a temporary environment is not practical. To overcome that, the Marines rely, heavily, on an RF system.”

This system is getting its first real-world operational testing in Kuwait. The system will be used to track containers and contents sent from Camp Lejeune, as well as containers stored aboard Maritime Prepositioning Force ships. The shipping containers are essentially mini warehouses.

“Currently, a Marine unit is building a field warehouse with the containers in Kuwait,” says Will. “They have not yet started performing picks. The Psion Teklogix RF is working well and the range is enhanced by the open desert.” Once complete, the field warehouse will include containers with carousels, storage and transportation frames and bulk material.

Clark Sold

Young An Hat Company Ltd. (YAHC), Buchsan, South Korea, has acquired Clark Material Handling Company’s assets, and about $10 million in debt. Reported transaction price: $7.5 million.

The transaction ends Clark’s bankruptcy, which it filed under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in April 2000, listing $349 million in assets and $374 million in debts.

YAHC plans to keep Clark manufacturing in Korea and the sales office and headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky. Chuck Moratz, Clark’s director of marketing and product support, told MHM that the new owners plan to be hands-off when it comes to running the lift truck business.

“The management here has been in place for 18 months and has done a good job keeping us going during difficult times,” he said. “We’re looking forward to building the business. We have several new products that will come out this year. While Clark has been putting out new product for the past few years, we did slow some during Chapter 11. But over the next two years you’ll see quite a step-up in the pace of new products and technology. This acquisition will allow us to re-emerge in the marketplace.”

Kevin Reardon will remain as Clark chief executive officer under the new ownership. He said the new owner plans to continue Clark’s operations as a wholly owned subsidiary and that no labor reductions were in the offing. Clark booked sales of $220 million last year and projected a 20 percent sales increase this year, with Clark’s parts business returning to normal.

What’s Your Big Idea?

Are you a material handling innovator? Do you know one? MHM wants to recognize individuals responsible for advancing the art and science of material handling. We will profile them in our November issue. If you, or someone you know, has been involved in solving a particularly challenging material handling problem, summarize the situation in a 500- to 1,000-word statement describing:

• The problem;

• Approach to solving the problem;

• Team involved in the solution (including equipment and systems vendors, consultants and integrators);

• Results.

We want to showcase true innovation. We’re not talking about a run-of-the-mill case history. Tell us how your solution makes a difference for your company and for your industry. MHM editors will select the innovators and recognize the achievements at an awards banquet during NA 2004 in Cleveland.

Entry deadline is May 30. For more information, contact Tom Andel, chief editor, at (216) 931-9346, or e-mail [email protected].

Top Logistics Supply Chain Executives Named

The third annual Top 20 Logistics Supply Chain Executives for 2002-2003 have been selected in a process sponsored by Richmond Events, and The Supply Chain Forum 2003.

Late last year, hundreds of executives nominated their peers for this prestigious award. The winners were selected by the Forum’s advisory board, based on the candidate’s creativity, commitment to industry and results.

“The depth of expertise, experience and excellence represented among this year’s winners is unmatched,” says Project Director David Shaw.

The Top 20 are invited as guests to Richmond Events’ The Supply Chain Forum 2003, May 4-7, to be held onboard the ocean liner Adonia.

These individuals and their achievements will be profiled in Penton Media’s Chief Logistics Officer magazine in April:

Fred Anderson, director of transportation, Dillard’s; Anthony Barone, director U.S. import/export logistics, Pfizer Inc.; Catherine Burrow, logistics manager, Hallmark Cards Inc.; Michael Edie, vice president materials and logistics, Hayes Lemmerz International; Edward M. Emmett, president, National Industrial Transportation League; Mike Gray, director corporate logistics, K-Swiss Inc.; Craig T. Hall, chairman, Leanlogistics Inc.; James Hutchinson, senior vice president supply chain integration, Brown-Forman Co.; Mark Jamison, vice president consumer logistics, Kimberly-Clark Corp.; David Kratochvil, senior vice president, supply chain management and distribution operations, Herbalife International Inc.; Stephen LaHood, former vice president supply chain, IKON Office Solutions; Christopher Lofgren, CEO, Schneider National; Hon. Diane K. Morales, deputy undersecretary of defense for logistics and materiel readiness, Department of Defense; John Nofsinger, CEO, Material Handling Industry; Jim Quigley, director of logistics, Aether Systems; Lori Schock, global business process manager, Dow Corning Corp.; Joel Sutherland, senior vice president supply chain, Transplace; Brian Turnbull, vice president technical services business, Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc.; Col. Joseph Walden, commander of theater support command and deputy commander for logistics, U.S. Army National Training Center; Jeff Wilke, senior vice president, worldwide operations and customer service,

MHEDA Selects New Leader

James Bowes Jr., president, Peach State Integrated Technologies, Norcross, Georgia, has become the 48th distributor executive to lead the 650 company-member Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA).

Bowes takes over the leadership at a time when, he says, the association is on sound financial grounds and the economy is showing signs of improvement.

“Our goals for the coming year are basic,” says the charismatic president of one of the nation’s larger supply chain services providers. “In what ways can we [MHEDA’s leadership] continue to serve our members?”

Bowes quickly admits that while this is easy to say, the proof is in the doing. Top on his list for accomplishing this goal is a continuation of the already successful distance learning initiatives, started during the administration of previous president Mike Romano, CEO, Abel Integrated Handling Solutions, Lawrence, Massachusetts.

“Given the current economic environment,” says Bowes, “we’ve invested a lot of our time and resources in these [distance learning] programs, so that our association members can access the types of information we offer electronically, and do it at their convenience.”

While MHEDA has been an early adopter of computer-based learning, Bowes does not think it will ever replace spending time with peers at trade shows and conferences. “There’s great value in sitting at a table discussing related issues with others,” he says, “learning how they’ve solved similar challenges. I see distance learning as a complement to hands-on experiences.”

Crowning Achievement

Another Crown lift truck has received a prestigious award. The FC 4000 Series lift truck has earned a 2002 Good Design award from the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design.

The competition’s goals are to create a revived interest about contemporary design excellence and to honor both products and industry leaders in design excellence. It honors those that have charted new directions for competitive products in the world marketplace.

Michael Gallagher, vice president, design center, says the award is particularly satisfying because the complete design of the FC 4000 four-wheel counterbalanced lift truck keeps the operator in mind. “We see ourselves as frontline defenders of the lift truck operator,” says Gallagher. “That’s how we view our role in the design discipline at Crown.”

Gallagher adds that the design of the FC 4000 started by looking at the operator’s workspace with consideration of how to get the job at hand done.

Where Do You Get Information?

U.S. business executives are relying more on the Internet to fulfill research needs, but do not feel they are receiving the level of intelligence required to make informed business decisions, according to a new survey released by FIND/SVP, a New York-based knowledge services company.

The study unveiled that while executives’ need for intelligence grows, companies are becoming more concerned with the quality of the information they receive due to corporate scandal, a weak economy, and the fact that there is too much information to sort through.

As a result, at least half the companies surveyed are looking for new business intelligence sources to rely on. Here are some key findings:

• 73 percent rely more on the Internet for information, yet 95 percent believe the information is not always reliable;

• 41 percent spend more than three hours a week searching for business intelligence on the Internet;

• 91 percent are at least sometimes concerned about the quality or accuracy of intelligence they receive;

• 95 percent use the same or more business intelligence as a year ago, and more than one-third are looking for new sources of business intelligence.

“The results of the survey clearly demonstrate the growing need for business intelligence among U.S. executives in order to make an informed corporate decision,” says Andy Garvin, founder and president of FIND/SVP. “In fact, we’ve found that as companies are searching for new methods, they continue to devote the same or more financial resources to the traditional means of receiving business intelligence, despite the weak economy.”

According to the survey:

• More than 65 percent plan to have the same or increased attendance (compared with 2002) at conferences, seminars and trade shows;

• 81 percent plan to subscribe to the same amount or more of industry newsletters;

• 69 percent plan to use the same number or more databases.