Sackett Systems

Month: September 2020

Supply Chain Technology

To paraphrase British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during the Second World War, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste…”

The need for quarantine during the pandemic has forced much greater use of information and communication technology (ICT) and digitization across all industries. Companies and individuals have been forced to quickly adapt virtual tools to carry out activities that were previously face-to-face. This shift is resulting in greater access to information, knowledge and concurrent productivity gains – and investment in innovation.

Whether a manufacturer, shipper, 3PL or retailer, COVID-19 is exerting unprecedented pressure on all aspects of the supply chain – and surprisingly some of the results are positive and growing…

The “Uberization of Freight”

In a recent DC Velocity article, ‘Better together: Tech developers join forces to build a better freight-booking process’, the author describes the urgent push to capture new and better logistic and freight management efficiencies by integrating transportation management system (TMS) platforms with digital freight-matching (DFM) apps.

According to software development firm Blue Yonder, shippers and 3PLs often complain about the manually intensive freight-booking process. By offering access to carrier marketplaces (another term for DFM apps) platforms like Blue Yonder’s Luminate can streamline the process by providing live rates and real-time capacity information at the outset, instead of forcing users to go through the usual face-to-face of call-to-call routine of contacting their primary carriers, then defaulting to their backup carriers, and finally resorting to the expensive spot market.

“Uberization” isn’t just a buzzword though… In fact, Blue Yonder and Uber Freight recently announced a partnership designed to help businesses build efficient and transparent global supply chains at a crucial time.

Make it Disappear

Phantom Freight – or ‘ghost loads’ – are a problem caused by the rapid growth of DFM tools. Just as an Uber driver would be left scratching their head, looking for the missing passenger, shippers and logistics firms can be left wondering what happened to the freight load they thought had been booked.

In a recent Inbound Logistics article, “Make It Disappear” the author explains, “Today, shippers, carriers, and brokers often post their loads or capacity on multiple freight matching platforms, marketplaces, or load boards. The more carriers that see the loads, the more likely one will be able to book the load – a practice sometimes called “post and pray.” Once a shipper load and a carrier are connected, those loads are effectively off the market.

However, the other participants in the market aren’t aware of this, as no solution is in place for removing those loads from the rest of the market. When DFM providers try to book those phantom loads, they discover, sometimes hours later, that the load they thought they booked was already booked by another company.”

Open

As Uber, Lyft and others have dramatically disrupted the ‘human’ transportation industry with their proprietary software platforms, others are working to provide a more open and accessible solution to the challenges faced by combining rapidly emerging technologies.

Firms such as DFM Data Corp., based in Atlanta, Georgia, are working to combine separate and disparate resources into a singular clearinghouse – benefitting the entire shipping and supply chain industry.

The pressures we all face, to confront and adapt to an uncertain and changing environment can, at times, lead to results that change our world for the better. At Sackett, we value the partnerships with our vendors and customers in bringing emerging technologies and streamlined solutions to all of our logistics management.


Truck Lift Production Demand

Incredible predictions from Gartner indicate the boom of e-commerce, and the resulting investment in related infrastructure, has led to a tremendous boost in the lift truck production market, with an expectation of reaching $81.39 billion by 2027, a 7.3% annual growth rate from a current market of $45 billion.


Opportunity Charging, a method of lift truck battery management, allows batteries to remain in place to enable charging whenever convenient. With Opportunity Charging, less time is wasted in the process of getting the battery to the charger, and more productive time is spent with the lift truck in use. The benefits of this battery charging option have led to the current “buzzworthy” status, but there are a few key considerations to keep in mind if you’re thinking of making a switch to Opportunity Charging:

Opportunity Charging
Constant Charging Leads to Shorter Battery Life

Due to their in-machine, quick-charge design, Opportunity Charging batteries help prevent lift trucks, and their operators, from sitting idle. Constantly connecting them to a power source, however, takes a noticeable toll on the life of the battery. The consistent exposure to heat is wear and tear which any battery, even OC-designed, cannot withstand for a long period of time. When calculating the implementation cost of an Opportunity Charging system, it’s critical to factor in more frequent battery replacements.

Even OC Systems Aren’t Opportune All of the Time

The beauty of Opportunity Charging is in the flexibility it provides to forklift operators – they can charge during breaks of any kind, no matter the duration. However, even batteries in these systems must be brought to a full, 100% charge at least once a week to prevent damage – called the equalization charge. This overnight process differs from the typical Opportunity Charge, which achieves an 80% state-of-charge. Understanding where the equalization charge fits into your shift changes and overall operations is key in determining whether Opportunity Charging provides you the flexibility your process requires. For the most part, Opportunity Charging works best with a two-shift operation, where there is time allocated overnight for the equalization charge process.

Re-organizing Your Space

Because Opportunity Charging batteries aren’t designed for conventional chargers, specialized equipment must be purchased and installed to use in the Opportunity Charging process. Different configurations might call for alternative/increased space on your warehouse floor which enable forklifts to pull right up to charging stations. In addition to allocating more space, it’s key to rethink the make-up of your warehouse floor. Investing in faster, more opportune technology only makes sense if forklift operators have equally efficient charging locations. Rearranging your warehouse floor may be costly, time consuming, and, in some cases, impossible – so plan out your new space before investing in new equipment.

Opportunity Charging is a great battery charging method to keep your lift truck fleet moving, just be sure to consider battery replacement costs, equalization charge timing, and layout requirements. Not sure where to start, or have questions?  

Reach out to our team to learn more about your Opportunity Charging equipment options.

Whether your system utilizes Opportunity Charging, Fast Charging or Conventional Charging, Sackett has the durable equipment – and solutions – for your method of battery charging.