As we come upon the end of the year and enter into the holiday season, we would like to pass on some important information.

First, Span Tech will commence our holiday shut down period at 4:00 p.m. (CST) December 23, 2019 and we will resume normal operations beginning at 7:00 a.m. January 2, 2020.

Also, now is the time to start planning for holiday shut down projects and placing your Span Tech parts on order.  Our Spare Parts Department is standing by and ready to assist with pricing and availability.

If you have a project you need to get on order, by all means do so as quickly as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns reach out to your Regional Sales Manager, Account Manager or just give us a call at 270-651-9166.  We will be happy to assist you with any of your material handling needs.


Pack Expo 2019: Span Tech Recap

At Span Tech, we love any opportunity to share our passion and experience with people. In September 2019, we got to do just that when we attended Pack Expo. This incredible event showcases advanced packaging equipment, materials, and containers from exhibitors.

We look forward to Pack Expo every year, and 2019 certainly didn’t disappoint. When you have 30,000 packaging professionals and 2,000 of the industry’s top suppliers, you’re in for a treat. Events like these are the perfect way for our customers to get an in-depth look at the power of Span Tech conveyor systems and experience their capabilities firsthand.

One of the best things about Pack Expo was meeting with potential partners who are facing a conveyance problem and need a solution. If there’s one thing we love at Span Tech, it’s helping other people by putting our conveyor systems to the test.

We enjoyed showing people the quality and experience that go into every product we create. It’s one thing to read about these conveyor systems and hear about the Span Tech difference, but it’s even better when you can see them in person.

We want to thank everyone who visited our booth! Meeting with you all is what truly made Pack Expo 2019 such a wonderful event, and we greatly appreciate your time. We realize there were many booths to choose from, and we’re grateful for your interest. We look forward to working with you in the future and providing you with top-quality expertise and packaging solutions.

In case you missed Pack Expo 2019, here’s a breakdown of the conveyor systems we showcased:

If you’d like more information about our experience at Pack Expo or have questions about our conveyor systems and services, don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to seeing you at the next Pack Expo in 2020!

Pack Expo 2019

A User’s Guide on How to Implement Lean Manufacturing

The phrase “lean manufacturing” has become quite buzzworthy these days, and it certainly deserves the attention. This popular technique is changing the way many companies like the Toyota Motor Corporation operate and create their products. But what is lean manufacturing and how can it benefit your facility? This expert guide will examine the fundamentals of this process and provide some warehouse improvement ideas you can start implementing today.

What is Lean Manufacturing?

Lean manufacturing is the systematic reduction of waste in a business’s manufacturing process. To determine what is defined as “waste,” a company will take a closer look at the procedures it executes to create its products. Those procedures are categorized in one of two ways: value-added components or non-value-added components.

A value-added component is an action or expense that directly leads to products or services for which a customer is willing to pay. For example, if a car company were to paint a car blue during the manufacturing process, a customer would be willing to pay for this effort. Therefore, it is something deemed as adding value.

In comparison, non-value-added components are actions or expenses during the manufacturing process for which customers would not be willing to pay. An example of this is the cost of shipping the car from the country where it was built to the country where it will be sold.

These two categories help manufacturers decide which procedures require lean process improvement. A value-added component can typically remain as it is, while something deemed as not adding value is seen as producing waste in warehouse procedures.

Before you conclude your facility can’t use any lean process improvement, think again. According to the Lean Enterprise Research Centre (LERC), up to 60% of production activities in a typical manufacturing operation are determined to be waste. But that doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. When a procedure is referred to as “non-value-added,” there are plenty of opportunities for lean process improvement. Before that can happen, it’s important to examine each non-value-added procedure and label it as one of the eight types of waste found in warehouses.

Waste in Warehouse Problems & Lean Manufacturing Solutions

Each non-value-added component can be categorized as at least one of eight lean manufacturing waste types. Use this section to help you identify which types your warehouse may be experiencing. Then, refer to our warehouse improvement ideas for helpful guidance and solutions.

1. Movement

Of course, some forms of moving are crucial during manufacturing. But moving around becomes a problem when employees have to walk or relocate to retrieve things that could be closer in proximity. Employees experience this when they have to walk to get supplies which could be located closer to the point of use.

Warehouse Improvement Ideas

The phrase “seiton” translates to “straighten”, and it’s one of the main principles of lean manufacturing. It involves creating a proper place for everything your business uses to maximize efficiency.

Your employees have to use certain tools and supplies on a daily basis. Keep those items close by, so they don’t have to travel far to retrieve them. This will ultimately save them time and save you money.

2. Excess Inventory

Dealing with obsolete inventory can present a lot of obstacles. Typically, these items haven’t been sold for a long time and aren’t expected to sell in the foreseeable future.

Warehouse Improvement Ideas

The key here is “seiri” or sorting. You want to separate the necessary items from the unnecessary. Better organization may not get these items out of your warehouse, but it will make the process of locating current inventory faster and easier.

3. Delays

Unfortunately, manufacturing facilities often experience a lag in time when parts they need are missing. This pause in your employees’ work can waste valuable minutes and even hours.

Warehouse Improvement Ideas

The lean manufacturing phrase “Shitsuke” translates to “maintaining consistency and striving for improvement.” In this case, a great way to apply it is by first examining the situation. Take a look at what occurred to cause the delay, and brainstorm ideas to stop it in the future. Then create a new procedure to follow that lessens the chance of the delay happening again.

4. Transport

This entails moving equipment, tools and various materials around when it isn’t necessary.

Warehouse Improvement Ideas

For example, warehouses often use conveyors that wind around a building while transporting a company’s product. Often, transporting items like this is unnecessary and wastes time. Using a specialty conveyor can provide a more direct route to increase efficiency.

5. Overproduction

Creating too many items or the wrong type of item can result in costly mistakes. Overproduction is a less than ideal situation for both the company and the customer.

Warehouse Improvement Ideas

Lean manufacturing stresses continuous improvement. In this situation, you want to look for the cause of overproduction. Did poor communication take place? Was there a lack of organization? It’s helpful to recognize how overproduction has occurred and build a plan around reducing and avoiding in the future.

6. Defects

No one likes a faulty product. Failing to produce a quality part usually results in having to manufacture the item all over again. This means you’ll have to spend more money on something that should have been done right the first time.

Warehouse Improvement Ideas

Aim for automation with a human touch. At the first sign of a problem or defect, stop the manufacturing process. This will prevent more products from being made incorrectly, and it also allows you to assess the situation.

7. Overprocessing

Does the phrase “We’ve always done it this way” sound familiar? If so, your facility is probably a victim of overprocessing.

Warehouse Improvement Ideas

When possible, cut redundant steps out of your manufacturing process. Just because something is tradition doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.

8. Ignoring Employees’ Input and Skills

Many companies focus on the product and forget the people. This results in disgruntled employees and can have a domino effect of negative consequences that hurt your business.

Warehouse Improvement Ideas

One of the biggest values in lean manufacturing is putting people first. Your employees are the heart and soul of your business. In many ways, they’re your most valuable asset. It’s important to utilize their skillsets and get their feedback on the manufacturing procedure. In doing this, you’ll make them feel valued, and your company will be more successful.

Start Lean Manufacturing and Get More Warehouse Improvement Ideas with Span Tech

We realize introducing any new concept into your warehouse is no small feat. For lean process improvement, you need the right guidance and equipment. That’s why Span Tech is here to help. Our top-quality conveyor systems are a great tool to help your business reduce waste in warehouse procedures. For additional information on our products and how to implement lean manufacturing, contact our customer service team today!