Innovative Solutions to Unique Challenges

MHEDA dealers and suppliers collaborate to overcome all obstacles
By Steve Guglielmo

SSSBest Selling Author and Executive Don Tapscott said, “Collaboration is important not just because it’s a better way to learn. The spirit of collaboration is penetrating every institution and all of our lives. So learning to collaborate is part of equipping yourself for effectiveness, problem solving, innovation and life-long learning in an ever-changing networked economy.” In the last 60 years, MHEDA has crafted an outstanding legacy and reputation in the material handling industry. But the overarching sense of camaraderie among member companies is arguable its greatest achievement. As CMH Services VP of Sales and Marketing Mark Brown says, “Everybody in MHEDA is so quick to help each other.”

The 2014 Sales Success Stories once again illustrate why MHEDA members are regarded as the best and brightest in the industry. Customers trust that MHEDA dealers and suppliers can overcome any challenge because they have done so time after time. Below are just a few of countless examples of MHEDA dealers and suppliers teaming up to solve end-user challenges in the safest, most efficient and most creative ways possible.

Mixing Safety and Efficiency

IBM Lexmark needed large drums and drum handling equipment to mix the toner chemicals that go into its printer ink cartridges. The company is very safety conscious and was looking for the most efficient and safest solution possible for their mixing needs.

They approached Western Storage and Handling Sales Engineer Mike Thorpe about their challenge to see if he could offer any solutions.

“They had seen a particular drum roller project that was available through Morse Manufacturing that they felt was exactly what they needed,” says Thorpe. “However, there were a number of safety considerations that had to be discussed before an order could be made.”

Morse sells its Hydra-Lift Drum Rotators as stand-alone equipment, but Morse Sales Manager Phil Mulpagano cautioned Lexmark that there were some OSHA guidelines that needed to be considered before going that route. To comply with OSHA, Mulpagano suggested that Lexmark also purchase an enclosure with a safety interlock to surround the drum rotator

“Lexmark was buying three units and the thought occurred to them that they could put all three drum rollers in one room and then use one enclosure with a lock to secure that room,” says Thorpe. “We went through several different scenarios before Lexmark decided that the single enclosure for each unit was the most secure method of storage and would limit the company’s liability.”

Morse worked with Thorpe and IBM every step of the way, explaining how the enclosures would work in terms of control wiring, figuring out dimensional information, hydraulic schematics and above all safety and OSHA-compliance information.

“IBM is very safety conscious but are also cost conscious,” says Thorpe. “In the initial segments of the project, they really wanted the OSHA information to make sure this was a necessary expense. Morse was able to provide text reference for where they could find the general requirements for this type of machine as it was listed in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration documentation. They were extremely helpful.”

Distributor: Western Storage and Handling
Supplier: Morse Manufacturing

Safely Optimizing Pallet Flow and Pushback Rack Storage

GRMHeneral Mills’ Cedar Rapids, Iowa plant had successfully used pallet flow and pushback rack systems, but ongoing growth, product changes, and long use required a storage system update that would safely add capacity to their existing facility.

As one of the world’s largest food companies, with global net sales of $17.8 billion in fiscal year 2013, General Mills values innovation in every aspect of its business, including storage and logistics.

The plant’s previous pallet flow and pushback rack systems had served almost 15 years. During that time, however, volumes had become larger, pallets heavier, and a switch from 50 lbs. bags of ingredients to 2,500 lbs. bulk super sacks was made, where possible, to enhance efficiency and minimize material handling, according to Scott Ladwig, an inventory analyst at the plant.

“The challenge was to make better use of our existing vertical warehouse space, since adding to our building was not an option,” says Ladwig, who sought to avoid trailers of inventory sitting in the yard or contracted third-party storage. “We wanted to safely optimize our storage, inventory, and production.”

Ladwig turned to RMH Systems, a material handling equipment distributor, and Steel King, a flow storage system and pallet rack manufacturer. After consultation with General Mills and Steel King engineers, RMH Systems sales engineer Marty Frangenberg recommended and the plant implemented a new integrated SK 3400 flow storage and SK 3600 pushback rack system.

In a flow storage system, dynamic flow rails are inclined in a static rack structure, allowing loads placed on one end to move by gravity on rollers to the unloading end, with speed controllers acting as gentle brakes. As a load is removed, the loads behind it move forward automatically.

Since the flow system depth, height, and width were limited only by the size of the facility and capabilities of the material handling equipment, it was a good fit for the plant’s high volume, space efficient needs. Once loaded, FIFO product rotation is automatic and the rack eliminates labor and fork truck operation to arrange loads. Forklifts are required only for the initial and final unloading. Since only two aisles are necessary, aisle space can be reduced by 75 percent and up to 100 percent more product can be stored than with traditional selective pallet racking.

Pushback pallet rack offers up to 90 percent more product storage than selective rack systems and up to 400 percent more selectivity than drive-in racks. Unlike static, single-pallet deep selective racks, a dynamic pushback rack system allows storing pallets two to five deep while providing easy access to a variety of different SKUs. Pallets are stored behind each other in a series of nested carts and are loaded from the same side of the system, eliminating separate aisles for each function. Composed of a stable rack along with a series of inclined carts and rails, when one pallet is pulled, the one behind it rolls forward.

“With our new integrated pallet flow and pushback rack system, our General Mills plant is operating more safely and efficiently than ever,” concludes Ladwig. “We’re ready for continued growth for the next 15 years and beyond.”

Distributor: RMH Systems
Supplier: Steel King

On Track for Efficient Storage

CranstonSSSMitsubishi Transportation sorely needed a new facility to increase their production capabilities. The company, which makes components for passenger rail cars, had reached its capacity in its current building.

Cranston Material Handling (McKees Rocks, PA) had helped Mitsubishi set up its original storage racks and the customer was confident in their ability to design a new, more efficient facility.

“The challenge in the existing facility was not only that it was terribly overcrowded, but the ceilings in it were very low. The racks that we put into that area were inefficient because of that low overhead height,” says President David Cranston Jr. “One of the criteria for the move was that they wanted to double their storage height so the ceilings in their new building would allow them to install racks that were 24 ft. high.”

David Cranston Sr. set about devising an efficient layout for the new facility that would hold the number of pallets in the space that Mitsubishi had requested but would also safely store the 18 ft. crates and other heavy loads that could weigh up to 8,000 pounds per shelf level.

“When they set up this division initially, we used standard wire decking, which, over time because of the heavy point loads, didn’t hold up very well,” David Jr. says. “We went with a new decking product from Ohio Gratings called PressLock that allowed us to point load and gave them a very nice surface that would hold up essentially indefinitely.”

In addition to the PressLock solution, Cranston also used Steel King SK3000 structural rack with 20 ft. long beams to achieve the heavy capacities Mitsubishi required, as well as a Gorbel workstation crane to load and remove the chassis from the crates. All told, this project ended up being over $150,000.

In addition to the sizeable layout changes that were required, Cranston also had to contend with outside challenges.

“One of the big advantages that we offer are computer generated drawings which allow us to layout their floor plans to maximize space,” says David Sr. “The customer kept changing what they wanted to do and we were able to seamlessly meet those needs over the course of the planning period to get them an efficient layout that they were happy with.”

The customer also had to halt operations as they moved from the existing facility to the new facility. Because of this, Cranston worked on an accelerated schedule to take down all their existing racks, move and reinstall them with the new racking components to minimize lost time. To make matters even more difficult, construction on the new building was still going on during installation, meaning that Cranston installers not only had to contend with a time crunch but also had to work around the construction crews. Installation started on January 6th and was completed by January 24th.

“The customer is extremely happy with how the whole process went,” David Jr. says. “They went from a storage system that was limited by the design of their previous facility to increased storage capacity that can safely accommodate their large heavy products in the new building.”

Distributor: Cranston Material Handling
Suppliers: Ohio Gratings, Steel King, Gorbel

The Right Opportunity

SunbeltSSSSunbelt Industrial Trucks (Dallas, TX) had a long-standing relationship with LG Electronics. The technology giant had bought its LP forklifts from Sunbelt since 2002. However, as LG was getting set to move into a massive 1.2 million sq. ft. distribution center, Sunbelt Vice President of Sales Matt Maddock suggested that the company look at Nissan electric forklifts.

“They had always used LP but they wanted to look at electric,” says Maddock. “They were skeptical, though that electric could hold up to their application.”

This wasn’t the first time that LG had flirted with the idea of moving from LP to electric though.

“Back in the early days we weren’t sure if one battery and one truck could stand up to a two-shift day,” says Maddock. “But as the technology improved and we teamed up with John George from EnerSys, we were confident that we could run one Nissan forklift with one EnerSys tubular battery and Multi-Amp IONIC chargers through their normal six-day, two-shift operation.”

LG was dubious of that claim though, so to prove it, Sunbelt allowed them to demo several different options for months at a time, all the while monitoring the usage.

“We had onboard monitoring of the battery system so they could actually see written reports of how much energy was used during the day and how much was still left,” says Sunbelt President Bill Rowan. “Their hesitancy was that they knew if they ran out of an LP truck, they could just grab another tank. What would happen if the battery wasn’t charged up? They couldn’t wrap their minds around it.”

Another concern that Sunbelt was able to assuage was that two eight-hour shifts does not equal 16 hours of continuous driving.

“We want them to charge these batteries every time the trucks sit idle,” says Maddock. “We proved to them through the usage reports that there are several opportunities for that. There are breaks, lunches, time to fill out paper work, etc. Those are all time that the truck can be charging. It doesn’t have to go from empty to full; it just has to stay within a certain energy range.”

Rowan adds, “We weren’t pushing electrics. We were pushing the best solution for them.”

After months of tests, LG agreed and ordered 48 Nissan BXC50LN fork trucks with a long battery compartment to allow for the biggest fuel tank possible. Each truck was outfitted with a Cascade 25D carton clamp and has an EnerSys Load Hog battery. The facility is also set up with 48 opportunity chargers placed in strategic locations throughout the facility.

“EnerSys and Matt will be reviewing the usage data probably daily, especially in the beginning,” says Rowan. “We have to coach them on the right behavior. There’s a lot of coaching going on with their management team and their operators. This has been a team effort. Matt is quarterbacking our team and the support of Nissan, Cascade and EnerSys has made this a true success.”

Distributor: Sunbelt Industrial Trucks
Suppliers: UniCarriers Americas Corporation, EnerSys, Cascade Corporation

Reconnecting With an Old Friend
Advanced Equipment Company (Charlotte, NC) had a relationship with GE Gas Turbine in Greenville, SC, dating back 40 years. However, in recent years, AEC hadn’t done much work for the gas turbine manufacturer. So Material Handling Systems Specialist Scott Abernathy set out to reconnect with the long-time client.

“I have contacts with Spacesaver and I asked them about setting up an appointment to go in there and do a presentation,” says Abernathy.

As it turned out, GE was opening a new building with very specific storage requirements.

“I went in and presented to an engineering group about our company and what we’re capable of. And I introduced Spacesaver and their ActivRAC solution and their eyes lit up,” says Abernathy. “They were planning a new storage facility for their testing lab where they test these huge wind turbines. And even though the building was huge, the turbines took up ¾ of the available space which meant that they needed to store all of their other parts in just ¼ of the building.”

With selective rack and 12 ft. aisles, GE’s current estimates were for 450 pallets. The more Abernathy talked about the capabilities of ActivRAC, the more intrigued the company became.

“Together with Tony Stewart and Bart Lassiter, we put together a presentation for GE that would integrate ActivRAC and they loved it,” says Abernathy. “We also brought them to an actual site where we had installed a similar solution to show them what was possible. We went from 450 pallet positions to 880 in the same footprint. It was sold. Immediately, in the room. We waited for the building to be built and as soon as it was we got the green light to start.”

GE was so impressed with the solution and with Scott’s team that they have commissioned AEC for an additional project of the same size since then.

“ActivRAC was a great solution to maximize their footprint,” says Abernathy. “Once we were able to get in and educate the customer they knew that this was going to be a great solution for them. And none of this would have happened without our great regional manager at Spacesaver, Jeff Peters. He made the initial introduction and was instrumental throughout the whole process. It was just a great project and now a great partnership between AEC, Spacesaver and GE.”

Distributor: Advance Equipment Company
Supplier: Spacesaver Corporation

Made in America
A large defense contractor was consolidating two buildings into one and was looking for pallet rack and cantilever to hold its stock. The contractor had previously done work with W.W. Cannon and knew that the storage dealer could help them realize the vision they had for the building.

Prior to this consolidation, the contractor had been using imported wire decking. However, with the increased storage, it tasked W.W. Cannon President Greg Brown with finding a more durable product to hold its loads.

“Nashville Wire has a better deck than what they had been using and it is made in America, which was important to the customer,” Brown says. “They actually asked us to put on our proposal that this was certified as ‘Made in America.’”

Brown proposed installing Pallet-Shelf decking in the consolidated building.

“They had been using six gauge wire and were looking for something a little stronger,” Brown says. “We proposed using a five gauge, which is a little heavier and is rated for a higher capacity, which appealed to them. They were very into that. They didn’t want the cheapest thing, they wanted the best value.”

Satisfied with the Pallet-Shelf solution, the contractor would again call on Brown and Nashville Wire soon after.

“They had another situation where they had this cantilever and basically wanted to deck the cantilever,” Brown says. “So instead of selling them furniture cantilever we were able to get a deck from Nashville Wire that was 79 in. wide and 48 in. deep with a higher 2,000 pound capacity. Then, the customer came back and bought this product from us again in a 60 in. x 48 in. 3,000 pound configuration.”

Brown worked with Nashville Wire Regional Sales Manager Gunner Pendleberry on all three projects, which totaled more than $100,000 between them.

“When we came across the customer that valued ‘Made in America,’ and higher quality products, we knew that Nashville Wire was a solution we could offer and feel good that we were giving them the high-quality product they wanted,” Brown says. “When you have high quality customers, you need high quality vendors and you want to put product in that lasts for years and years, because you’re going to be in there year after year quoting them new product. You don’t want to be walking by old product that you’re ashamed of.”

Distributor: W.W. Cannon
Supplier: Nashville Wire Products

Ahead of Time, Below Budget

CubicSSSBriggs & Stratton Corporation is the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment. Its wholly owned subsidiary Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group LLC is North America’s number one manufacturer of portable generators and pressure washers. The company is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of standby generators, along with lawn, garden and turf care through its Simplicity, Snapper, Ferris and Murray brands. Its products are available in over 100 countries on six continents.

To efficiently support Briggs & Stratton products with service parts, it is imperative that its worldwide distribution center efficiently operate and expedite order fulfillment throughout the 450,000 sq. ft. facility.

To make room for additional inventory, the primary Briggs & Stratton Distribution Center added 150,000 sq. ft. on to its existing facility. The building addition needed a way to effectively store over 30,000 more SKUs and facilitate expedited order fulfillment.

Briggs & Stratton could build up to a 225,000 sq. ft. addition to facilitate the inventory and provide room for growth. With the help of Cubic Designs and Storage Systems Midwest, they were able to reduce that number to 150,000 sq. ft. by utilizing a mezzanine for vertical storage.

A two-level mezzanine which offered three levels of storage was custom designed to fit the 34’ tall space. Mezzanine installation and construction of the addition occurred simultaneously which enabled the mezzanine’s massive footplates and columns to be installed below the concrete floor for added structural support. Reducing obstructions by minimizing the amount of columns and concealing footplates was critical for operations. As an added feature, a catwalk and ramp were installed to connect the new mezzanine to existing mezzanine racking and storage in the adjacent building.

Working together as team, Cubic Designs and Storage Systems Midwest put Briggs & Stratton on the fast track to greater storage. And, three months ahead of schedule and under budget, the addition was constructed and outfitted with the mezzanine. By providing the greatest amount of storage in the smallest footprint possible, the mezzanine reduced the square feet required for the addition. Greater savings were realized by minimizing construction costs and utilities expenditures which would have resulted from a larger addition. Strategic positioning of the mezzanine also had a significant effect, as it accommodated level-to-level conveyors from the new addition to the existing building. This enabled Briggs & Stratton operations to flow uninterrupted, contributing to faster order fulfillment, seamless cycle counts and greater employee productivity.

Distributor: Storage Systems Midwest
Supplier: Cubic Designs

Complete Storage Facelift
Performance Food Group (PFG) is one of the leading food service distributors in the US, delivering food and food related products to over 130,000 independent and national chain restaurants, schools and institutions. Their growing and extremely busy Little Rock, AR, facility faced major capacity and material handling challenges with no immediate plans for expansion.

Those challenges included:
Extensive Rack Damage – The distribution center had close to 3,000 pallet positions of damaged 2-deep, roll-formed drive-in rack. Confined in a small cooler with narrow aisles, the lower frame sections were severely bashed and bent due to constant forklift abuse. Despite several rack repair efforts, PFG was concerned that the system posed a safety hazard to their employees. They needed a stronger, abuse-resistant alternative.

The Need for Pick Faces for Cooler SKU’s – PFG faced a common foodservice challenge; how to effectively accommodate increasing SKU requirements. This was definitely the case with their cooler products category, where they needed to find several additional floor level pick faces within their existing footprint.

E-Distribution proposed a used, or like-new, Frazier 2-deep push-back system to replace the existing roll-formed drive-in. Knowing that budget and durability were top priorities, used structural push-back offered the ideal alternative; structural steel is far more abuse-resistant than roll-formed and capable of withstanding the extensive forklift abuse of a busy foodservice facility. Push-back also offers added productivity by delivering pallets directly to the aisle face vs. drive-in which requires the forklift to drive into the system to retrieve the 2nd pallet.

A creative and cost-effective solution was developed by PFG and the E-Distribution teams to add lower level pick faces. The floor level was already used for case-pick selection with reserve pallet storage above. E-Distribution added shelf beams and wire decking to create an extra single deep shelf level directly above the floor pick area for an addition 6-8 pick faces per bay.

The integration of like-new components saved PFG more than $150,000 versus a similar new structural push-back system.

It was critical that PFG’s distribution operations stay on track during implementation. Teardown and installation were completed one section at a time using an empty seasonal cooler area for transitional storage and order selection. Product was moved to transitional storage, rack dismantled and removed, floor repaired and push-back installed, all without disrupting day to day operations. New hardware was provided throughout the system.

PFG Little Rock is a great example of E-Distribution’s creative, customer driven approach to system design. This brand neutral, cost-saving solution allowed PFG to stay in their existing space with no interruption of operations during implementation.

Distributor: E-Distribution
Supplier: Frazier

Looking Down From On High

BodeSSSFall Machine, a large scale precision CNC machining company in Somersworth, New Hampshire, was looking to build a supervisor’s office in its warehouse that could overlook the operation. However, there was an issue. Space on the warehouse floor was very limited and the company needed all of it to be devoted to equipment and machinery. At a loss, Fall Machine contacted Bode Equipment Company (Londonderry, NH) to address this crisis.

Bode President Scott Fawcett and Sales Representative Nick Hosey surveyed the floor and came up with a solution. To conserve space on the floor, they would utilize the unused aerial space in the facility by building a new mezzanine and installing a modular office on top of it. This solution kept the valuable space on the floor free while giving the customer the office and supervision capabilities it craved.

Bode then contacted Panel Built, Inc. about the project.

“We involved Panel Built because of their ability to handle the design of both the modular office as well as the steel mezzanine,” says Hosey. “They were able to provide drawings on the proposed structure to help show proof of concept.”

But there were some issues that had to be addressed before Fall Machine could sign off on the proposal.

“The stairs to access the upper level had to also accommodate an existing mezzanine adjacent to the new structure,” Hosey explains. “Therefore, the stairs were designed at the proper height and integrated with a catwalk that allowed access to both structures with one staircase. There was also an existing personnel door to another part of the facility that we had to straddle and Panel Built helped design a special orientation of the support columns in that area to allow the existing door to remain unchanged.”

Bode’s installation team, led by Gerry Little, worked to include modular wiring provided by Panel Built which allowed them to install all electrical components as they worked to install the office. This minimized the amount of work required by electricians after the office was installed. This was done because Fall Machine wanted to be able to occupy the space immediately after installation. The entire installation took less than a week.

“The design provided Fall with two new supervisor offices with vision to the manufacturing floor, as well as allowed them to continue to utilize the floor space underneath the offices as they had been,” says Hosey.

This was a true team effort between Fawcett, Hosey, Little, Project Coordinator Meredith Fowler and Panel Built.

Distributor: Bode Equipment Company
Supplier: Panel Built

Southern Dock Products Rescues The Brixton

Loyal viewers of Spike TV’s show “Bar Rescue” will already be familiar with Southern Dock Products’ role in turning the Austin, TX, bar “The Brixton” from dive bar to money maker. The bar was one of hundreds of bars across the country on the brink of total collapse. As a last ditch effort to make The Brixton profitable, the owner called in food and beverage industry consultant Jon Taffer to “rescue” the bar.

There were myriad issues with The Brixton that had to be addressed from its drink menu to its lack of food. However, one of the chief issues was that The Brixton had a great location and spot for a patio that they weren’t taking full advantage of. In a city like Austin, it is important to have a viable spot outdoors for patrons to sit and enjoy their food and drink.

But revamping the patio was only step one in the plan to improve the patio. For part two, Taffer and his team of designers contacted Chase Willis of Southern Dock Products. Taffer had a vision of having a large overhead door that connected the patio with the rest of the bar and Willis was the man for the job. Southern Dock Products with Overhead Door of Austin, provided The Brixton with a full view, full panel style door. And while the door was aesthetically pleasing, the part that got Taffer and the owners really excited was the special feature that Southern Dock was able to incorporate.

“We installed an interlock on the door that ties into the heating and cooling systems in the building,” says Southern Dock Products Vice President of Marketing Alex Meyer.

During the reveal of the renovated Brixton, Taffer gushes, “I created a flow pattern that connects both rooms. This was done by Southern Dock Products. When this goes up 25%, it automatically shuts down the heating and air conditioning systems.”

This was a major draw for The Brixton because without the automatic system, if the door is raised the bar would be wasting valuable resources heating or cooling the bar only to have that go literally out the window. Southern Dock was able to save what was then struggling business valuable money during their rebranding.

“Chase really listened to what they had to say and had the knowledge to bring in a solution that was outside the box,” says Meyer. “That’s where we try to excel. The better we take care of our customers, the better they will take care of us.”

Southern Dock played an integral role in rescuing The Brixton.

Distributor: Southern Dock Products
Supplier: Overhead Door

A FLEXIble Solution
A large automobile manufacturing supplier had moved to the South Carolina area and was in need of guidance on a storage application in their facility. The company called Carolina Material Handling Services VP of Sales and Marketing Mark Brown to discuss their needs.

“We proposed that they use a turret truck application,” says Brown. “But it turned out that the turret truck wasn’t the best fit for their application.”

The customer was picking and storing fully palletized loads and driving them from the rack to the loading dock. They weren’t building pallets so the supplier and CMH Services agreed that a man up turret truck was probably not the ideal solution for this customer.

However, CMH’s story does not end here. After deciding against a turret application, the customer began researching trucks online. They came across Narrow Aisle’s website and were very intrigued by their Flexi offerings for their narrow aisles.

The customer contacted Narrow Aisle to learn more about the trucks.

“Narrow Aisle then contacted us and told us that the customer had called them. They said, ‘We looked at their application and we feel like this is a good fit for the Flexi truck and we would like to work through you to sell to them,’” says Brown.

Brown and CMH Services Territory Manager Aaron Pretulak worked with Narrow Aisle to learn more about the Flexi trucks, which CMH Services had never sold before. Narrow Aisle sent representatives to South Carolina to work the CMH team to train the service techs on how to maintain the trucks and keep them serviced. CMH Services worked with the truck getting comfortable with it and then brought the demo truck to the customer’s location for them to demo.

The truck was a hit and the customer put in an order for two Flexi trucks. Those trucks have been so successful that the customer has since ordered a third truck.

“We had spoken with Narrow Aisle before but this was the first time we got a chance to work together,” says Brown. “Everybody in MHEDA is so quick to help each other. This was another example of how MHEDA members are willing to step up and work together to make a solution work for a customer.”

Distributor: Carolina Material Handling Services
Supplier: Narrow Aisle, Inc.

Revitalizing Festival Bay

CraftSSSThe iconic I-Drive corridor, east of Sand Lake road in Orlando, FL, had fallen into disrepair while the west side began to thrive with newer, more updated attractions and restaurants.

In an effort to revitalize the “East Side,” one of the most exciting development firms, Paragon Outlet Partners, teamed up with a well renowned New York design company, Markzeff, in order to breathe new life into this all-but-forgotten area of I-Drive.

The cornerstone of East I-Drive is Festival Bay. Festival Bay was a bustling mall with Bass Pro Shop as the premiere anchor store. This behemoth plaza encompasses over 400,000 sq. ft of retail store space.

To fill the abandoned mall, both companies needed something unique to attract retailers and customers alike. Paragon and Markzeff decided on a combination of themes based on a pre-WWII era world bazaar feel.

Luckily Craft Equipment was there to heed their call by developing a combined group of various sized WireCrafters enclosures that serve as the new tenant spaces and provide the atmosphere they sought. After numerous design changes, the final product was complete and it was time to move forward with the purchase of the Festival Bay Market Place Phase One.

Phase One (165 Units) resulted in the sale of $540,960 in materials and $115,900 in installation.

When Phase one is completed, Festival Bay will house anchor stores including, but not limited to, Shepler’s Western Wear, Bass Pro Shop, Hofbrauhaus (one of Munich’s oldest breweries), Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill, a new skate park and a large cinema complex. According to Scott Benjamin, vice president of leasing and general manager of Artegon Marketplace, Phase one is slated to open on October 16, 2014. Phase two will consist of another 300,000 sq. ft. and will come online toward the end of 2015 or beginning of 2016. When completed, both phases will comprise about one million sq. ft.

Distributor: Craft Equipment Company
Supplier: WireCrafters

The Ceiling Can’t Hold Them

CMHSSSA long-time Carolina Material Handling customer had run out of office space but required additional offices. The only available space to put these offices was an area on their production floor in their warehouse. The customer logged onto Carolina Material Handling’s site to investigate potential solutions. Immediately, the concept of a modular in-plant office jumped out to them and they emailed Phil Strouth to discuss the feasibility of the solution.

“The customer was interested in a 12 ft. x 16 ft. three-wall structure for use as a calibration lab,” says Strouth. “The issue was that, because of insurance purposes, the structure couldn’t have a roof. If the office had a solid roof, it would require them to install a costly sprinkler system into it.”

Strouth visited the customer and inspected the area that they had in mind for the system. He recommended a 12 ft. x 20 ft. 8 ft. high three wall system connected to an existing cement wall between an existing office area and the plant floor production area. The three-wall area not only saved space, but also saved the customer money.

Strouth contacted Starrco Company to begin design of the system.

“Starrco promptly sent me approval drawings that I took straight to the customer,” Strouth says. “After a minor change on the window location we were able to start production. The system shipped in about two weeks and my customer’s maintenance crew installed the system in about four- to six-hours. It was the first modular office system they had ever installed and it looks great.”

The office has six windows and a 3 ft. wide swing door and there is provision for six 120-volt duplex receptacles and two combination phone/computer jack outlets. As requested, the office was installed without a roof deck and drop ceiling because the open top allowed for the natural light and production floor light to filter in and also allowed the existing overhead sprinkler system to work for this space.

The walls are constructed from 1/2 in. thick gypsum x 2 in. poly core x 1/2 in. thick gypsum vinyl covered walls for a total of 3 in. of thickness. The walls have a Class A fire rating and also help with noise control from the production area.

Says Strouth, “The employees who use the office and the plant manager and engineer love the modular office system. It created an area for their specific task in a neat, clean and effective manner.”

The customer loved the system so much that they have since purchased another system that was installed very close to the first office.

Distributor: Carolina Material Handling
Supplier: Starrco Company

A Break in the Case
Aubuchon Hardware is the oldest family owned and operated chain of hardware stores in America. The chain includes 120 stores in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. Each day, the company’s distribution center in Massachusetts fulfills dozens of orders and ships them to Aubuchon Hardware stores across New England.

“Our stores rely on the distribution center to have the products in stock when they need them, so they can stay competitive with national hardware chains,” says Charles Aubuchon, VP of Distribution Center Operations for Aubuchon Hardware. “Inventory control is a major issue for the warehouse.”

But inventory control became a concern after Aubuchon Hardware added the Benjamin Moore line of paint to its product offering. The primers and white paint were moving quickly, so employees shipped them by the case.

“Our stores didn’t need full cases of the colors and tints because they are slow movers,” says Charles. “We decided to break the cases on the slow movers to give our stores more flexibility to order one quart or gallon at a time.”

The idea made the space-constrained stores happy but created storage issues for the warehouse.

“There are more Benjamin Moore SKUs than you can shake a finger at,” says Charles. “We couldn’t store all those extra paint cans on pallets because we’d take up all our aisle space. Plus, our existing flow racks were not strong enough to handle the weight.”

Aubuchon Hardware turned to distributor Northland Industrial Truck Co., Inc. (NITCO) for help. “When I met with the Aubuchon team, we explored the options,” says Scott Ferris, NITCO’s Vice President of Sales. “Placing the SKUs on pallets was not a good choice. All the different types of paint would be hard to organize, which could result in mispicks. Static shelving also was not a good option because inventory would have been left sitting idle, and you would not have the first in, first out benefit.”

Scott contacted UNEX to address this issue.

“I felt confident that UNEX could solve this problem,” says Scott. “Working with UNEX is always a real
partnership.”

UNEX engineers visited the distribution center, evaluated the product flow and inventory, and designed the perfect rack system for quart cans.

UNEX created a flow rack system, Flow Cell, measuring 96 in. wide by 96 in. deep and 84 in. high. The rack included 7 levels containing 13 lanes of 6″ wide tracks with 1″ roller centers and guardrails. Designers added snap-on slow-down plates to prevent denting and created the appropriate rise across the lanes to ensure optimal flow of the paint cans.

“With UNEX Flow Cell and Span-Track, we can slot 180 SKUs in a 20-foot section,” says Charles. “The system is strong enough to hold thousands of pounds, and it’s durable and adjustable. We incorporated it right into the pick path.”

The UNEX solution worked so well that Aubuchon Hardware asked UNEX to design a similar system to manage slow-moving gallon cans of paint. Charles says employees can slot about 120 gallons of paint in the new rack.

“The system makes inventory control easy. We can keep track of everything we have, so that when our stores need a specific paint, we can find it fast and fulfill the order accurately.”

Charles estimates that pick rates have increased substantially with the flow rack system.

“The picker can pull up to an area and easily pick multiple SKUs without having to move his tugger. This has cut picking rates by about 50%.”

Charles says that competition is tough for a family owned business. Aubuchon Hardware competes with ACE, True Value and other big chains.

“We have to run lean and mean. At the same time, we have to stay on top of inventory so that we always have what our stores need to meet customers’ demands,” says Charles. “To be successful in this business, you can’t be as good as the competition; you have to be better.”

Distributor: Northland Industrial Truck Company
Supplier: UNEX