IMHX exhibitor Storeganizer has supplied sturdy, high-density textile pockets for holding small parts to dramatically cut wasted space while eliminating costlier storage options like new racks or third party leasing at Rittal's Ohio warehouse.
Operating at near capacity, Rittal Corporation’s 2,800 sq m material service warehouse in Urbana, Ohio (US) faced expensive off-site storage or costly new construction to organise and stock small parts. Until it discovered Storeganizer, a remarkable new method to better manage them. The result is outstanding space, pick-time and related cost savings, along with a cleaner, more methodical layout that’s won high praise from top corporate logistics improvement and efficiency professionals.
Rittal produces custom-engineered industrial cabinets, enclosures and racks as well as numerous small accessories like door hinges, brackets, clamps and bags of screws, bolts and gaskets. Moreover, large quantities of flat corrugated boxes stock are stored at Urbana for shipping these items.
Effectively stocking them posed a dilemma. There was significant empty space on traditional long steel racks above and below where small items were kept. Multiple parts and pieces were strewn about the facility in about 30 bays, laying wherever shelf space was available. This made them hard to find, and the storage area untidy in appearance.
“We simply didn’t have a good way to organise these materials which were wasting space, hard to locate and pick,” said Todd Bayless, Material Services Team Lead at the facility. Something had to be done.
A purchasing colleague and Urbana’s Warehouse Supervisor, Jade Souders, alerted him to the Storeganizer solution. A trial bay was soon installed, consisting of multiple suspended columns of textile pockets made of highly durable reinforced PVC. Since columns are custom fitted to hang on existing racks, the first major savings resulted from old rack structures not having to be displaced for custom-built new ones.
Souders said Storeganizer’s space optimisation merits open new storage space by using the entire depth of each bay. Storage of stacked, boxed stock and long metal door bars in particular benefited.
“By maximising the entire bay’s footprint with three rows deep of Storeganizer pockets, floor to ceiling, the warehouse went from holding 60 items per bay to 120, doubling available space,” he said.
Until now, these parts collected on the front of shelves; back areas went unused. Now, storage runs three rows deep. A gentle push rolls front columns aside for easy access to rear pockets, deeper in the bay.
In the majority of uses, parts that were stocked in eight or more bays across the warehouse can now be consolidated in three or less, roughly an 80% boost in overall space savings. This in part is because columns and pockets are specifically tailored to the precise dimensions (depth, height, width) of the items they hold, not an inflexible ‘one size fits all’ configuration.
Said Bayless: “Since the entire bay depth is put to use by Storeganizer, there are no more empty spots, just an inch above and below the rails where pockets are hung. It’s an incredibly efficient use of every possible bit of space.”
Offsite storage reduced for better efficiency
Urbana’s warehouse managers were so impressed with the trial installation that six more Storeganizer bays were soon added, followed by eight more, for a current total of 15. More racks and products are being studied for conversion. Due to the resultant space savings, some nearby third-party parts storage is shifting back to Urbana for more convenient access and improved efficiency.
Finally, each pocket’s durable construction (warrantied for up to 10 years), and the way they bring order out of chaos are key benefits.
“It’s uncanny,” said Souders. “We’ve gone from small parts and loose items strewn across multiple shelves to neat rows of barcoded or colored pockets organised like soldiers in a row; neat, easily deployed and holding parts ready to be marched out to customers.”
In early 2016, senior Rittal executives from headquarters inspecting the Urbana warehouse bestowed high praise for the uncluttered stocking of small parts thanks to Storeganizer. Moreover, a vice president from Rittal’s parent company in Germany was recently shown the bays during a stateside visit.
He was so impressed that plans are now under review to install Storeganizer columns in some of the company’s German warehouses. “It’s tidy, logical arrangement makes a strong emotional impact,” said Souders. “Employees who didn’t want to work among the disorder now ask to be transferred to this area.”
Bayless and Souders are pleased with the selection. “Rarely do you achieve a ‘win-win’ with new products. In this case, there are no disadvantages. These columns increase efficiency, eliminate expensive rack upgrades, site expansion or offsite leases, improve tidiness, lower staff stress and impress corporate leadership. We only wish we had discovered it earlier.”
Find Storeganizer on booth 9C15a, where it will reveal its new modular suspension system. Find out more about IMHX and register for FREE at www.imhx.net.