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Jan 04, 2010

2010 Material Handling Shows Help Position You for Future

The poor economy led to lower attendance at 2009 material handling shows but 2010 promises to be a better year. Companies trying to hold onto their bottom line may have skipped last year’s show or sent only a token delegate or two. With the manufacturing and peripheral industries finally starting to post small increases, material handling and related industries are anticipating better attendance at 2010 conferences.

Annual conferences and trade shows offer unique opportunities to see what’s new in the industry and what the future holds. Staying up-to-date with your industry enables you to better position yourself to meet future demands. National trade shows are an excellent place to network. They’re a good place to search for new talent to strengthen or rejuvenate your operation. They’re also an excellent place to form alliances with other company representatives that can lead to greater national exposure and increased product sales.

Continuing education classes and workshops provide information on innovative solutions to management and marketing problems. Round table discussions provide an opportunity to trade techniques and strategies with other industry professionals. Dealer and product give you an opportunity to learn about new products, increase your product knowledge, and discover products or services that can augment or revitalize your current product line.

The big national material handling conference/trade shows scheduled for 2010 include:

  • NA 2010: Solutions that Make the Supply Chain Work sponsored by the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) will be held April 26-29 at the I-X Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The event will focus on positioning your business to take advantage of future trends. Click here for more information.
  • 2010: The Rules Have Changed sponsored by the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) will be held May 1-5 at the Marriott Marco Island Resort & Spa on Marco Island, Florida. The conference will focus on providing insight into recession-driven maketing and economic trends. Click here for more information.
Dec 07, 2009

Corporate Videos Get Their Own YouTube Site

Billed as YouTube for business, seems tailor-made for videophiles like DJ Products’ marketing department! As we’re sure you’ve noticed when you visit our website, we’re great fans of video. At DJ Products, we’ve found that while a picture may be worth a thousand words, a video is the next best thing to putting our product in the customer’s hand. Just as realtors have discovered that video tours draw home buyers, DJ Products has discovered that showing customers what our ergonomic powered carts can do is a highly effective way to sell our product.

That’s the idea behind Businesses from Fortune 500s to small start ups can quickly and easily post their product videos on the site free of charge. As the site developers note, more than 68% of American workers aged 25 to 44 will watch online videos this year. Adding online video marketing to your advertising mix just makes sense. Online videos have the potential to attract not only customers, but investors, journalists and potential employees. Corporations don’t have to worry about competing with stupid pet tricks or humorous rants, accepts only G-rated legitimate business videos. They aim to become a quality service for the business community.

We think they’re on the right track. Watch one of the DJ Product ergonomic material handling product videos. We’ve found that no amount of text can show quite as effectively as a video exactly how tight a turn our CartCaddy power tug can make or just how our side-steer powered cart can be maneuvered. If you haven’t added video to your product website yet, it’s time to take a page from the future and start filming!

Nov 04, 2009

Get Ready. Cap and Trade Is Coming

Cap and trade is not going to go away. Seen as a cornerstone of the national movement to cut carbon emissions from greenhouse gases, a cap and trade program is expected to have the greatest impact on manufacturers and supply chain partners but no business or individual will be immune from the drive to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Scientific reports detailing life-threatening scenarios of potential climate disaster and irreparable damage to the planet have spurred President Obama and his team to demand action this year on environmental regulations now moving through Congress.

In June, the U.S. House narrowly passed (219 to 211) the green-energy climate bill HR 2454, referred to by press and public as the Cap and Trade Bill. Heated debate has ensued in the Senate which may or may not bring the matter to a vote before the year ends, despite presidential pressure. Senators, particularly those representing agricultural and coal states, are understandably wary of the potential economic repercussions cap and trade could have on already suffering businesses, particularly manufacturers. Although Congress may drag its feet for another year, most analysts agree that cap and trade will eventually become law.

Savvy businesses are already implementing green programs to curb energy use and switch from gas and diesel-powered equipment to clean energy battery and electric-powered material handling equipment. Even small changes like moving from power-chomping forklifts to green battery-powered motorized carts and powered tugs can add up to a significant plus on your carbon emissions balance sheet. Ergonomically-designed electric material handling equipment like DJ Products’ innovative CartCaddies kills two birds with one stone. They respond to government efforts to reduce carbon emissions and increase worker safety. Win-win! 

Oct 16, 2009

Ergonomic Carts Can Help Struggling Hospitality Industry

Staycations and a sharp decline in business travel during the recession have pushed the U.S. hospitality industry to the edge. In recession for the past 24 months, overall occupancy rates continue to erode despite a slight seasonal uptick in June. Occupancy rates at U.S. hotels, motels and resorts have been falling even more rapidly than before over the past eight weeks and the immediate future doesn’t look good, according to industry watcher

Continued concern about family finances and potential job loss have kept families at home. Group travel is down, and tours are being cancelled for failure to meet minimums. Businesses have cut travel to hold the line on expenses. Convention and trade show attendance is down. Hotels and motels are competing for a narrowing traveler pool that has forced many to cut staff until the economy improves and the hospitality industry rebounds.

Savvy hoteliers are turning to ergonomically-designed hospitality carts that allow a single employee to accomplish a greater workload with less physical effort. Ergonomic design eliminates strains and pains that workers can develop from pushing heavy laundry, cleaning and linen carts at hotels, motels, casinos and resorts. Powered housekeeping carts and clean and dirty linen carts allow a single employee to safely manage heavy loads of linens or cleaning supplies.

Powered platform carts and electric carts allow easy and safe movement of supplies, materials, parts or machinery from one area of a facility to another. Compact design permits operators to easily and safely maneuver carts through heavily traveled hotel corridors and narrow behind-the-scenes hallways. Motorized dump hoppers makes trash removal a breeze.

DJ Products, the national leader in the manufacture of ergonomic motorized carts and tugs, offers a full line of material handling products designed to meet the needs of the hospitality industry. Our motorized cart retro kit can be adapted and installed on any cart to increase safety and productivity. Visit the DJ Products website for more information.

Aug 10, 2009

Material Handling Equipment Choices Make the Difference in Safety and Productivity

Effective material handling — and material these days can be anything from stone to steel — translates to efficient completion of the project, perhaps with performance bonuses attached. But inefficient material handling can slow down job progress, cause duplication of effort, detract from efficiency, and may even lead to accidents and injuries.

Most contractors think of a material handler as a variable-reach telescoping boom forklift. These machines, usually seen at many building construction sites, feature a telescoping boom and typically include forks for easy handling of materials such as block, mortar, sheetrock, and plywood. But they can also be fitted with coupler systems for many different types of attachments that can increase versatility on the job. Whether unloading materials from trucks or delivering them over the phases of a project, telehandlers continue to be what most people think of when the subject is equipment for material handling.

But there’s more to material handling than telehandlers. For example, cranes are another class of material handling equipment. When heavy lifting is needed, a crane is usually preferred. That is why cranes take on most material handling for major projects such as bridges, where the loads can be heavy, or on high-rise buildings, where telehandlers cannot offer a tall enough reach. Cranes also assist on many sites with unloading trucks — an important part of material handling on just about any job.

But whatever machinery is used for material handling, the most important element remains the operator. Safety is paramount. Remember, material handlers handle material — and to do so safely, the load must be under their complete control at all times. This necessity drives not only load handling and maneuverability but also affects cab design and control positioning. For example, cabs on many modern material handlers are being designed with more glass to give the operator more visibility.

Designing machines that an experienced operator can safely and effectively control certainly are a key consideration, particularly in these days of scarce manpower, when selecting material handling machinery. But without question, an effective merging of operator and machine will increase safety which maximizes productivity — and that always mean a better bottom line.

Jun 19, 2009

More Tips for Buying Used Material Handling Equipment

Buying used material handling equipment is an attractive option in today’s difficult economic climate. While good bargains are available, the used equipment market is full of charlatans, warns Stafford Sterner in an article on Material Handling Management online. Today we continue the used equipment purchasing tips started in our last post. You’ll find they’re pretty good tips for investigating any company you’re considering doing business with

  • Beware the internet. On the internet it’s easy for a seller to project false impressions about the size of his operation, inventory availability and his experience in the industry. Making an onsite visit may not be practical in the early stages of your equipment search. Sterner suggests viewing satellite images of the seller’s business address on Google Earth to determine whether it’s a legitimate business with onsite inventory or someone arranging sales out of his basement.
  • Avoid part-time sellers. Dealing with a one-man band, people who sell used equipment in their spare time, generally means you’re dealing with an unknowledgeable amateur. Such sellers lack the industry experience to guide you and the resources for post-sale support. Sterner recommends asking for a business phone number in addition to an email address or cell phone number. If calls go to voice mail or the seller isn’t available during business hours, beware.
  • Deal with owners. Avoid brokers who flip equipment with a couple of phone calls, warns Sterner. A legitimate dealer will have invested money in the equipment he sells and will carry inventory you can inspect. Beware if sellers only offer photos.
  • Check financials. If making a large purchase, order a Dun & Bradstreet report (about $100) to check the seller’s financial bona fides. Owners and officers should be clearly listed, along with payment record, any lawsuits filed, incorporation date and number of employees.
  • Ask about follow up. Deal with someone who can service what they sell and check out the repair facilities personally. Beware of companies that outsource repair work, Sterner warns. Outsourcing adds one more layer of cost, scheduling headaches and communication problems to repair issues.
  • Check reputation. Beware of voluntarily offered references which may be carefully screened, instead call local customers or competitors.

When buying used material handling equipment, the take home message seems to be “Buyer Beware!” Purchasing used equipment from a reputable dealer may seem like a practical stop-gap during the recession, but when you add in the cost of increased maintenance and major repairs, it may be more cost-effective to buy new. Whether you buy new or used, it pays to thoroughly investigate prices, equipment and the dealers themselves to ensure you’re getting the best material handling equipment at the best price.

Jun 17, 2009

It’s Buyer Beware When Buying Used Equipment

Economic woes have everyone pinching pennies and looking for bargains. Buying used material handling equipment can seem like a good way to save money, but while there are good bargains to be had, industry watchers warn that there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there trying to cash in on the potential profits. You know you’re getting a high quality product when you buy new material handling equipment from its manufacturer; but if you’re considering buying used equipment, it’s buyer beware.

Business consolidation, poor sales and bankruptcies have forced more material handling equipment onto the used market than usual, so it pays to do your homework and thoroughly investigate both the product and the seller before putting your money down, caution industry experts. Anyone can sell used equipment. No certification is required to sell used equipment, and authorization by original manufacturers is not required. Used equipment shouldn’t be confused with remanufactured equipment that is rebuilt, often by the original manufacturer, and refinished for resale, usually with a manufacturer’s warranty.

The boon market is attracting legitimate sellers who specialize in used material handling equipment sales; but it’s also attracting brokers, auctioneers and folks looking to make a quick buck. These Johnny-come-latelies generally lack any knowledge about the products they are selling or the maintenance they require. Equipment is sold “as is” or sometimes spruced up for resale; but it’s like buying a used car, you don’t know what you’re getting unless you perform a thorough inspection.

Even used, material handling equipment can represent a serious investment. When you buy used, you may get a great bargain; but it’s equally probable that you’ll get an expensive lemon. Follow these tips from Stafford Sterner for Material Handling Management online to ensure that when you buy used material handling equipment, you get what you’re paying for:

  • Deal with reputable, established businesses. In the competitive used equipment market, longevity is a sign of customer satisfaction, reputable business practices, adherence to industry standards, and fair prices. Beware of internet sales unless you can physically verify the business and inventory. A legitimate dealer will carry inventory in stock, be knowledgeable about his stock, allow inspection of equipment before purchase, and provide delivery assurance.

 More tips on Friday

Jun 05, 2009

Key Elements to Seek in Material Handling Equipment

No matter what business or industry you are in, you need to move materials. Whether you’re dealing with raw materials, parts and supplies or a finished product, you need equipment that can move materials from point A to point B. When choosing material handling equipment, there are a number of key features to consider that will maximize your investment and the use you get from your equipment.

  • Flexibility. The more jobs a piece of equipment can perform, the more workers who can easily utilize it, the greater the number of environments in which it can operate, the more useful it is to you and the greater its value. DJ Products’ carts and movers are designed for maximum versatility. Ergonomic design ensures that workers of every size, age and physical ability can operate our equipment safely and without effort. DJ Products’ electric lift option and customized attachment eliminate the need to fabricate multiple attachments for each cart or piece of equipment. The mover arm on our tugs quickly attaches to any cart or piece of equipment and can even accommodate loads that overflow the cart bed.
  • Safety. Safety in the workplace is paramount. All of DJ Products’ equipment is ergonomically designed to protect the health and safety of workers. Ergonomic design decreases worker injury and is proven to significantly cut medical/disability costs. Our twist grip protects against carpal tunnel syndrome while allowing forward and reverse movement. Designed as walk- or ride-behind units, DJ Products’ equipment provides maximum operator control of the vehicle with safe lines-of-sight.
  • Productivity. Material handling equipment that promotes comfortable and efficient use increases productivity. Workers accomplish more per shift with less effort, meeting and exceeding production goals. Ergonomic design makes DJ Products’ equipment easy and comfortable to use, decreasing worker fatigue while increasing productivity.
  • Comfort. Operator comfort decreases fatigue and the stretch breaks that accompany tired muscles. The ergonomic design of DJ Products’ equipment maximizes worker comfort, eliminating the need for unnecessary breaks and maximizing production.
  • Service and reliability. DJ Products builds its carts and tugs to maximize uptime. Our electric and battery-operated equipment is cable of operating for two full shifts before recharging.

DJ Products makes a full range of ergonomically-designed powered carts in a wide range of shapes and sizes to handle any application. From compact, light-weight carts that can be easily and safely maneuvered down a crowded hospital corridor to heavy-duty carts capable of pulling more than 50,000 pounds across a production floor or down an assembly line, DJ Products has a material handling solution to fit your needs. Contact one of our ergonomic sales engineers today to see what we can do for you.

May 29, 2009

New Side-Steer Powered Cart Handles Long Parts

Long parts or equipment that overhang the ends of the cart have always been a challenge to move. Objects that overhang the transport cart make it impossible for operators to safely push or pull loads from the end of the cart; they just can’t get physically close enough to get a safe handhold or exert proper force. Overhanging loads are generally too heavy to be pushed or pulled by a single worker and their length makes maneuvering these loads particularly awkward and unsafe. Problems with reach length, load balance and load stability even make use of traditional motorized tuggers unproductive and unsafe. The length and cumbersome placement of oversized loads makes it impossible for tuggers built to handle normal loads to safely reach under an oversized product or piece of equipment to grab and connect to the cart, much less guarantee safe transport and maneuvering by the operator.

DJ Products, the nation’s foremost manufacturer of ergonomically-designed motorized carts and powered cart movers, has solved the problem of safely transporting oversized loads with the introduction of its new side-steer powered cart. The unique side-steer design of this self-propelled cart allows the operator to safely walk behind and to the side of oversized loads, providing clear sight lines and safe, easy maneuvering of heavy, extra-long parts and equipment no matter how far they overhang the transport cart. Visit our website to watch a video of DJ Products’ new side-steer powered cart in action.

Capable of hauling loads up to 5,000 pounds, DJ Products’ ergonomic design ensures that the cart, not the worker, shoulders the load. The conveniently-located variable-speed twist grip is designed to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome while easily allowing the operator to move forwards and backwards at speeds up to 3 mph. Ergonomic design allows workers to perform their jobs more efficiently and comfortably by allowing equipment to be adjusted to the size of the worker. Awkward and unsafe work postures that lead to tired and cramped muscles, longer and more frequent work breaks, and disabling musculoskeletal injuries are eliminated.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that one worker in every 200 experiences an overexertion injury. Annually, overexertion injuries cost American businesses more than 12 million lost work days and over $1 billion in compensation costs. According to a study published in the New Hampshire Business Review, every dollar invested in ergonomics reaps a $4 savings in medical, insurance, workers’ compensation and lost work day costs. To find out how DJ Products’ new side-steer powered cart can safely maneuver overhanging loads and save you money, talk to one of our ergonomic specialists today.

May 27, 2009

Introducing New Hospitality Applications for Motorized Carts

Business owners must constantly be preparing for coming changes and watching for new trends and products. That’s the reason this blog devotes space to those issues, as we have in the past week. As the country’s leading manufacturer of ergonomically-designed motorized material handling carts, we’ve learned that staying competitive in U.S. industry requires not only the flexibility and willingness to embrace new ideas, but the innovative thinking to see new applications for your products in the workplace. Innovative applications of DJ Products’ ergonomic carts originally developed for health care and manufacturing markets have opened new opportunities in the hospitality industry. When you visit our website, you’ll find a new product category for Motorized Carts for Hospitality, Hotel, and Industrial Environments

DJ Products has found that many of the same tasks performed in hospital and industrial settings are also performed by employees at hotels, motels, resorts and casinos. All must push heavy carts filled with dirty linens or cleaning supplies. All sometimes need to move heavy equipment, whether it’s an EKG machine or a one-armed bandit. All need to move materials and supplies from one point to another, usually through narrow and crowded hallways. And all have to haul trash. With the click of your mouse, it’s now easy to find and examine all of these commonly used material handling products in one place by clicking on the new link to Motorized Carts for Hospitality, Hotel, and Industrial Environments from DJ Products home page.

Our expanded listing of motorized powered carts and equipment for the hospitality and hospital industries includes: housekeeping carts, dirty linen carts, wire carts for clean linens, powered and electric flatbed carts, a motorized dump hopper for trash and debris, and more heavy-duty motorized industrial carts and powered movers for handling bigger, heavier, more unwieldy loads. We even offer a motorized cart retro kit that can be adapted and installed on any cart, turning your old carts into money-saving models of ergonomic efficiency.

All of DJ Products’ material handling products are built to maneuver economically and safely in confined spaces. The ergonomic, walk-behind design of all of our products provides clear sight lines, ensures easy maneuverability and protects the health and safety of operators. Forward-thinking business owners who recognize coming trends are already embracing ergonomics as the wave of the future. To find out more about DJ Products’ ergonomically-designed powered carts and movers, visit our website and talk to one of our ergonomic engineers. At DJ Products, the future is now!

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