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What A Year!

Despite the economic rumblings, there is good news.

 It was not difficult to find companies with a Sales Success Story from the past 12 months. They are the ones working together—distributor and manufacturer—and pulling out all the stops to find solutions to customers’ challenges. Both sides recognize the value each brings to the table, and they are working it. These stories share innovative ideas to get new customers and some unusual solutions to age-old problems.

AHS, Inc. (bags) (floors) Conveyor Solutions Morrison Industrial Equipment
A.J. Jersey Cranston Material Handling Equipment Pengate Handling Systems
AK Material Handling Systems Curlin, Inc. PeakLogix
Allied Equipment Service Corp. DACO Corporation R.H. Brown Co.
Arnold Machinery Company Engineered Products, a Papé Company Riekes Equipment Company
Atlantic Handling Systems, a
division of Mayberry
Material Handling
Heubel Material Handling Welch Equipment Company
Hewitt Equipment Limited Wisconsin Lift Truck
Bastian Solutions J.M. Equipment Company WW Cannon
Carolina Material Handling
Material Handling Inc. warehouse1

Wisconsin Lift Gases It Up

Steel King rack-supported mezzanine

Steel King rack-supported mezzanine and a stair-accessible upper level quadruples storage.

The Wausau, Wisconsin, warehouse of Northwest Petroleum was a mess. As the petroleum equipment manufacturer accrued inventory and out-of-model equipment, its storage room became cramped and unorganized, which made finding inventory and parts difficult and inefficient. The company was looking for a way to consolidate storage and also keep high-value products like point-of-sale consoles and electronics more secure than the current storage system allowed. To combat the issue, Northwest Petroleum looked into constructing a building-supported mezzanine to store the equipment. They were discouraged when they learned that the warehouse would have to be structurally engineered to meet building codes, that their operations would be disrupted during the construction, and that property taxes would be due on the structure, which would be assessed as a permanent fixture. This approach did not fulfill another objective that any solution offer flexibility if the company moved or remodeled. Northwest Petroleum turned to Tim Zunker, account manager at the Wausau branch of Wisconsin Lift Truck (Brookfield, WI).

Zunker inspected Northwest Petroleum’s warehouse and found that the company was using its vertical space very inefficiently. Zunker suggested building a rack-supported mezzanine. “The advantage of using a rack-supported structure is that it isn’t permanent,” says Zunker. “You don’t pay taxes on it and you can add to it, make it smaller, or move it if you change locations or buildings. It offers flexibility.”

Distributor: Wisconsin Lift Truck
Manufacturer: Steel King Industries
Summary: Detailed knowledge of site-specific intricacies opens up possibilities.

Zunker and WLT Engineer Erika Lau worked with Steel King Engineer Kelly Pixler. Their solution decreased the storage area from 40 ft. x 80 ft. to 40 ft. x 60 ft. and increased the storage height from 8 ft. to 16 ft. while quadrupling the storage space using Steel King SK2000 pallet rack. Use of a mezzanine increased vertical storage. The long runs and narrow aisles bolstered horizontal space while maintaining the flexibility that Northwest Petroleum desired. A lockable gate on the top level of the mezzanine added a level of security for storage of Northwest’s expensive electronic components.

The planning process for the $49,000 project took more than two months. “Instead of jumping around to four different areas, everything they need is right there in one place and in neat rows,” says Zunker. In fact, Northwest Petroleum is so happy with the solution they have showed it to two other customers who are looking for similar solutions.

Arnold Brings Home the Gold

Hyster H550HD

Hyster H550HD with Greenfield’s TH35 attachment is the largest retained capacity unit tire handler in the world.

When the permits finally came through for Hycroft, a gold-mine startup based in Winnemucca, Nevada, the first thing the mining company did was go out and buy a fleet of haul trucks and front-end loaders. The next step was to buy a forklift capable of handling the tires on the trucks and front-end loaders, which, when combined with their 13,000-pound chains, weigh up to 32,300 pounds per tire. Every company Hycroft went to said they needed a 70,000-pound capacity forklift to do the job, which at best would retain only 32,000-pounds capacity. Anything above this capacity could not be done unless Hycroft used an 80,000-to 90,000-pounds capacity model. Meeting the rated capacity was very important because a unit that did not meet or exceed capacity requirements would not be allowed on mine premises. After coming up against a brick wall, Hycroft placed a call to Arnold Machinery Company (Salt Lake City, UT).

Don O. Cole, director of mining & major accounts at Arnold Machinery, and Territory Manager Patrina Udy secured the $580,000 sale with their in-depth understanding of how mining and material handling intertwine. “Mines are often overlooked by material handling distributors because access is difficult, and safety qualifications to do business on site are usually at a higher compliance level,” explains Cole. “The only difference is that in a mine, everything is bigger and heavier. Strict safety rules need to be followed, and usually the load configurations are odd.”

Distributor: Arnold Machinery Company
Manufacturer: Hyster Company, Greenfield Products
Summary: Knowing how mining and material handling intertwine provides big solution to big challenge.

Bigger were these tires indeed. The front-end loader tires are 147 inches tall, 65 inches wide, 65 ply and have 57-inch rims. To handle tires of this size, Udy and Cole called on their supplier partners at Hyster and Greenfield Products. Donald Hardee, Hyster application engineer and Herman Klaus, who was working as director of big trucks at the time, knew the Hyster H550HD 55,000-pound capacity forklift could do the job, given the right attachment and configuration. Together with the team at Arnold, Hardee and Klaus partnered with Greenfield Products Sales Engineer Dennis Niska to engineer the TH35 tire handling attachment, which works seamlessly with the forklift’s internal hydraulic controls. Utilizing the internal hydraulics rather than an add-on control box was critical from a safety standpoint, which is of utmost importance in a mining environment.

In September 2010, about ten months after Hycroft’s initial inquiry, Arnold Machinery delivered the new H550HD-TH35 to one very happy customer. For Hycroft, justifying the investment was simple. Cole estimates that down time for a single haul truck can cost a mine $26,000 to $72,000 per hour. “This is the largest retained capacity tire handler package of its class in the world,” says Cole. With the combined capacity, the H550HD-TH35 maintains 34,000 pounds at pad center. Along with handling tires, the forklift is capable of handling flanges and rims, and can be used to break a tire’s beads. The machine can disassemble a tire without the need for a separate tire press machine. For Arnold, Hyster and Greenfield, this big truck was a big success.

Cranston Moves It On Up

Cubic Designs mezzanine

Cubic Designs mezzanine is transported to a new facility and expanded under tight time constraints.

In 2007, Cranston Material Handling Equipment (Pittsburgh, PA) worked with DreBo, a manufacturer and distributor of carbide-tipped drill bits, to increase floor space in its very crowded distribution operation. At the time, Cranston worked with Cubic Designs to install a 1,100 sq. ft. mezzanine with shelving above and underneath. “One of the things that won us the sale was that the mezzanine and all of the other equipment could be taken down and relocated, if DreBo ever moved to a larger facility,” says Owner David Cranston Jr. By 2010, DreBo had outgrown its facility and decided to move to another building in the City of California, Pennsylvania. The company called Greg Engelmeyer, senior account manager at Cranston, and told him of their plans to move and take their existing mezzanine and storage equipment with them.

“The project had to be coordinated in a way that allowed us to move out the equipment piece by piece without interrupting the customer’s day-to-day operations,” says Cranston. “Having worked with us before, the customer had confidence that we would be able to develop a tight schedule to take down, move and rebuild all their storage equipment within their five-week window.”

Aside from the accelerated time frame, the building’s owner had concerns about floor loading, as the drill bits being stored were extremely heavy. “Mike Stearns, regional account manager at Cubic Designs, was able to provide detailed floor loading requirements ahead of time that confirmed weight support.” says Cranston.

Distributor: Cranston Material Handling Equipment
Manufacturer: Cubic Designs
Summary: Customer calls on distributor to make good on promise.

With the new space, the size of the original 1,100 sq. ft. mezzanine could be doubled. But there were two issues to contend with. First, the customer wanted to expand it in a direction that was different from what was envisioned when the mezzanine was first installed in 2007. Second, there were cantilevering challenges due to obstructions along the building walls and on the floor. Cubic Design’s Stearns was confident he could solve the problem and engineered drawings were provided with information on column loadings, column details and cantilevering that allowed the existing mezzanine to seamlessly integrate with the new 1,100 sq. ft. addition to the mezzanine.

The five-week project began with an installation crew moving the rivet shelving, mezzanine, conveyor and modular building showroom out of the existing facility to the new building. Everything was precisely timed and coordinated. No loss of productivity. Very happy customer.

Click below for larger images.

Shoot-Out at the Sock Factory for CMH

Nissan LP forklifts

Customer switches to Nissan LP forklifts after a head-to-head competition in the warehouse.

A global sock manufacturer had recently switched its electric forklifts to a new brand and a new distributor, Carolina Material Handling Services (Columbia, SC). The manufacturer also used liquid propane forklifts in its operations and had used the same brand forklifts for many years. When Bryant Shepard, service technician for CMH Services, was servicing the new electric forklifts, he noticed that the manufacturer’s LP trucks could be more efficient. After Shepard told the sock manufacturer that Nissan LP forklifts would outperform their current trucks and require less maintenance, the manufacturer set up a meeting with CMH Services Salesperson Dean Moore to discuss these claims.

The sock manufacturer used push-pull attachments and forks on its LP trucks with slip sheets to move products around its warehouse. The trucks use hydraulics to lift the loads. The customer had a plant speed limit of five miles per hour, which presented challenges for its current LP forklifts. “The speed is based on the engine,” says Mark Brown, CMH Services vice president of sales and marketing. “To turn the speed down to five mph, they had to turn the engine down, which killed the hydraulics and therefore the lifting speeds.” Moore learned from his contact at Nissan, Greg Jones, business development manager-southern region, that Nissan LP trucks base travel speeds on the transmission, not the engine, which allows the trucks to maintain lifting speeds even at reduced travel speeds.

Distributor: Carolina Material Handling Services
Manufacturer: Nissan Forklift Corporation NA
Summary: New service technician notices problem with old trucks and advises customer on a solution.

In addition to travel and lift speeds, the customer was interested in fuel economy and emissions. Together with Nissan’s engineering department, Jones calculated the exact specifications that the truck could handle in the environment where it would be used. To prove these claims, Moore offered to pit Nissan’s 3,000-pound Platinum Two Series cushion-tire LP truck against the existing trucks in a demo.

The customer put a mark on a beam ten feet above the truck. Both trucks had to lift up to the mark and pull back down. The company also tested the push-pull attachments by having both trucks push out and pull back three times. The Nissan forklift won handily in both tests and the customer ordered 16 new trucks.

“Greg and the entire Nissan team were excellent about providing the exact specifications and capabilities of the truck in our customer’s application,” says Brown. “The truck performed to the exact standards that they promised it would.” What started as a service technician whose sole intent was to look out for his customer’s best interests resulted in a $450,000 sale.

R.H. Brown Cultivates Fruitful Partnership

When the president of Washington Fruit and Produce Company visited New Zealand and saw an automated food processing plant, he became fascinated by how much time and money the system saved. Traditionally, palletizing packaged apples is a very tedious and time-consuming process. The packages are fed down a gravity conveyor to a team of individuals who manually sort and hand-stack the boxes on pallets.

Washington Fruit was opening a new 228,000 sq. ft. facility in Yakima, Washington, and fervently began searching for an integrator that could automate its palletizing. “They had a vision of doing automation but they didn’t know where to start,” says Scott Larsen, president of R.H. Brown Co. (Seattle, WA), who was contacted to determine if an automated system was possible at the new location.

Distributor: R.H. Brown Co.
Manufacturer: Hytrol Conveyor Company
Summary: Fruit packaging plant increases capacity by automating systems.

Washington Fruit packages 40 SKUs at a time and needed a system that could optimize the flow of product in real time. R.H. Brown Co.’s solution integrated Hytrol conveyors with robotic palletizers, using R.H. Brown’s proprietary LeanLogix Control Software. “We spent almost a year planning and engineering the solution,” says Larsen. “The system had to implement cuttingedge technology and represent a new era of conveying, sorting and palletizing apples.” When the planning was finalized, R.H. Brown Co. began the six-month installation on the $1.2 million project.

The system is capable of moving more than 65 cases of fruit per minute. More than 200 barcodes are utilized, each representing a different SKU. Each SKU requires a different pallet. R.H. Brown Co. worked to automate not only the distribution of fruit boxes, but also manage the automatic pallet dispensers. “From the time the barcode is scanned and the SKU is recognized, there are only 30 seconds before the product reaches the sorter. We needed a system that could analyze and sort the SKU information instantaneously to optimize the flow of product to the 20 robotic palletizing lanes,” says Larsen.

R.H. Brown QR code Scan this code with your smartphone to see a video of this application.

A series of scanners on the conveyors read the barcodes printed on the boxes and determine which SKUs have the heaviest volume. The LeanLogix Software tracks and diverts the top 20 SKUs to the palletizing robots using the Hytrol MRT Sorter, while the other 20 fall to the hand-stack area. The scanners also search for box imperfections and divert those units to the hand-stack area to be repackaged.

Throughput data to optimize which SKUs get fed to the palletizing robots is collected constantly. In the first week after the system went live, Washington Fruit exceeded its previous production records by 30 percent.

Hytrol accumulation and chain roller conveyor

Hytrol accumulation and chain roller conveyor helped moved eliminated manual sort and increased production by 42 percent.

Combining R.H. Brown Co.’s proprietary LeanLogix Control Software with equipment like the Hytrol EZ Logic Zero-Pressure accumulation conveyor, ProSort MRT and 199-CRR chain roller conveyor has paid enormous dividends for Washington Fruit. “The company averaged 70 bins per hour at the old facility, but now average in the mid-80s and are quite often over 100 bins per hour,” says Larsen. “During the planning process, we had a vision that maybe 75 percent of the process would be 100 percent automated. In the end it was closer to 95 percent.” After nearly 18 months, the seeds of a fruitful partnership have blossomed.

Conveyor Solutions Beats the Cold

A large Midwestern meat processor wanted to upgrade its facilities with new conveyor and sortation equipment. The senior managing engineer for material handling at the company had previously worked for a Hytrol distributor and knew that he wanted Hytrol equipment for the company’s cooler applications. He also had experience with Ralphs-Pugh rollers, and he was sure they could withstand the rigorous demands of his applications. The company runs three shifts, and with coolers kept below 28°F, the meat processor’s conveyors and rollers suffer a lot of wear and tear.

Distributor: Conveyor Solutions
Manufacturer: Ralphs-Pugh, Hytrol Conveyor Company
Summary: Customer with industry experience makes the call.

The engineer had no doubt whom to contact: local Hytrol distributor Joseph Tholl, CEO of Conveyor Solutions (Schaumburg, IL). Tholl went to work with Don Bibb, Hytrol manager of integrator services, and Tom O’Brien, Ralphs-Pugh VP of sales. “The manufacturers’ reputations preceded themselves,” says Tholl, “but together we had to determine the best solution. It was more than just integrating the newest technology and coordinating delivery and installation. The customer was one of us.”

The experienced team integrated Hytrol’s E24, 190LRC and 198ACC roller conveyors fitted with Ralphs-Pugh 1.9-inch galvanized rollers. Installation on the nearly $1 million project required precise timing. Crews had to work on weekends to avoid disrupting the company’s workflow. The conveyors had to be installed on custom ceiling-hung mezzanines. The installation took ten months and was completed in August 2011.

Engineered Products Saves Mother’s Day

Randall Manufacturing insulated curtain

Florist uses Randall Manufacturing insulated curtain wall to protect its Mother’s Day arrangements.

Mother’s Day is one of the busiest times of the year for a florist. For Kendal Floral in Canby, Oregon, this presented a problem. The florist needed a way to keep arrangements cool without sacrificing valuable warehouse space the remainder of the year. When a contractor proposed building an $80,000 permanent cooler room, Kendal recoiled and called Josh Welch, territory manager for Engineered Products, a Papé Company (Seattle, WA). Instead of a permanent cooler room, Welch proposed installing an InsulWall curtain from Randall Manufacturing that would keep the temperature at a constant 50 degrees.

The insulated curtain would allow Kendal to isolate an area in its 160,000 sq. ft. warehouse for cold storage and the flexibility to move or roll up the curtain when not needed. Welch contacted Ray Stahnke, territory manager at Randall, to help design the system. Stahnke determined the required R-value and provided a sample to present to the florist. The curtain had an acrylic-coated vinyl exterior with a double batting antimicrobial core interior that would keep the room cool and insulated.

Installation of the curtain provided challenges. “The ceiling sloped at an angle,” says Welch. “It required precise engineering to make sure the ceiling could hold the weight of the curtain and that each of the 80 panels were the exact correct length.” Just prior to installation, the customer decided to expand the dimensions, which required Stahnke to revise his drawing. Ultimately, the two-point enclosure used existing walls in a corner area that was 40 ft. long x 100 ft. wide x 60 ft. tall. It was attached to a steel cable along the bottom of the roof truss by S hooks.

Distributor: Engineered Products, a Papé Company
Manufacturer: Randall Manufacturing
Summary: Extensive experience and product line combine for a unique solution.

Even with the order change, it took only four weeks to manufacture, deliver and install the system. At $40,000, the InsulWall cost half as much as the quoted permanent cooler room and gave Kendal the flexibility it craved. After the initial installation, Kendal will be able to tear down, roll up and move the curtain wherever and whenever they want. Mother’s Day in Oregon is saved.

Click below to enlarge.


Pengate Provides Selectivity

A large specialty foods retailer wanted to increase storage and flexibility in its 600,000 sq. ft. York, Pennsylvania, facility. The food retailer had a variety of bulk storage and single deep selective racks that hamstrung its flexibility and made picking inefficient. The company called Frank Mazzur, sales and design representative at Pengate Handling Systems (York, PA), to determine a better way to store its goods. “Having worked with us before, the customer had the utmost confidence that we would deliver what they needed and work within their parameters to get the job done,” says Mazzur.

Distributor: Pengate Handling Systems
Manufacturer: 3D Storage Systems Limited
Summary: Previous relationship brings confidence into sales strategy.

Mazzur collaborated with Mike Inger, sales engineer at 3D Storage Systems Limited, to incorporate a foot tunnel that bisected the rack, allowing personnel to walk the length of the storage area without having to walk into a forklift aisle. Inger worked with the customer’s engineering team to design a 2,852-pallet-position solution that integrated 2-, 3- and 6-deep pushback rack as well as 2- and 3-deep pallet flow rack. The solution spanned 100,000 sq. ft. and saved the customer both time and space. Above all, the solution gave the customer selectivity. “To move product in bulk storage, you have to move everything out of the way,” says Mazzur. “With pushback rack you can get everything from a specific pull-slot.” A quarter of the storage space was designated for non-standard pallets. 3D Storage Systems designed a special cart system that could handle the variety of sizes.

The $400,000 racking system allowed not only for more efficient row picking, but also better utilization of the air cube by going six levels high, compared to the previous three levels. The pushback and pallet flow rack that Pengate and 3D Storage Systems provided has led to less product damage and a more efficient operation.

Welch Drives Success for Mercedes

Cubic Designs mezzanine

Cubic Designs mezzanine doubles in size by expanding through existing wall.

Welch Equipment Company (Denver, CO) installed a Cubic Designs mezzanine for Mercedes-Benz of Littleton in 2001. Ten years later, the car dealership was putting an addition onto its parts department and contacted Richard Rankin, area manager at Welch, to expand the mezzanine. “I called Bob Dettlaff, regional manager at Cubic Designs, and we discussed how we could increase the size of that mezzanine into a second room,” says Rankin. Rankin and Dettlaff took measurements in the new space and put together engineered drawings to work out the logistics. “The most difficult aspect was having a smooth transition between rooms. Both levels had to match when the hole was cut in the wall and the transition was made over the wall section. It required very precise engineering from Cubic Designs.”

Mercedes had off-site storage and, by expanding the mezzanine to 1,200 sq. ft., almost double in size, hoped to condense all storage into one location. The company also stored automobile parts on existing shelving on the mezzanine. The Cubic Designs mezzanine is rated for 125 pounds per square foot to ensure that it can handle the weight of the parts.

Rankin and Dettlaff frequently collaborated with the architect and general manager of the dealership over the course of four months. Rankin says, “Bob answered every question the customer had about the mezzanine. He was a great resource to have on site.”

Distributor: Welch Equipment Company
Manufacturer: Cubic Designs, Western Pacific Storage Solutions
Summary: Experience in market brings sale down the road.

While the expansion was taking place, Mercedes-Benz continued its day-to-day operations. There were also other contractors working in the room at the same time as the Welch installers. Everything had to be carefully coordinated as to not disrupt Mercedes’ operations or the other contractors. “Typically on a project like this, I sell the system and turn it over to my installers. I might have to visit the site once or twice the whole time,” says Rankin. “Because of the complexity and amount of planning required on this project, I was on site every other day.”

Welch Equipment completed the installation on the $48,750 mezzanine in July, and Mercedes-Benz has been thrilled with the result. The dealership also purchased Western Pacific shelving for archive storage. Rankin has been dealing with customers in the automotive industry for more than 35 years. His experience, coupled with the expertise of Bob Dettlaff and the Cubic Designs engineering team, made this project a drive-away success.

Click below for larger images.


WW Cannon Doubles Up

When WW Cannon (Dallas, TX) was confronted with a space crunch, it decided to build up rather than out. The company was tasked with installing a fully stocked parts department for Boardwalk Volkswagen, a new car dealership in McKinney, Texas. “The parts department needed to store tires, windshields and parts, but the architects had only allowed for about 2,000 sq. ft. of space for the entire department. That wasn’t nearly enough room,” says Greg Brown, president of WW Cannon.

Distributor: WW Cannon
Manufacturer: Cogan USA, Rousseau Metal
Summary: Permits, paperwork and partnership come together in parts department.

Brown collaborated with Cogan USA Engineer Joe Lombardi, who recommended building a steel mezzanine to separate the department into two levels. “The mezzanine would allow us to turn 2,000 sq. ft. into 4,000 sq. ft,” says Brown. “Boardwalk was impressed with the solution and awarded us the $120,000 project. It went through several iterations and evolved quite a bit between our first presentation and the final product. Cogan was integral to our success. They provided drawings, helped with layout and offered design suggestions throughout the project.”

Storage on the 2,080 sq. ft. mezzanine included 20 high-density modular drawer units, 54 shelving units measuring 48 in. x 24 in., 12 tire racks, 7 wide-span racks and a battery rack on the first floor of the mezzanine. The second floor consisted of 28 wide-span racks and 6 molding racks. All told, the parts department stored $350,000 worth of parts.

The project spanned 11 months from start to finish, but the majority of that time was spent planning and permitting. “There was a lot of paperwork involved,” says Brown. “We had to pull permits, get our drawings stamped and sealed by the city of McKinney, and collaborate with the building’s general contractor to ensure that our work meshed with what they were doing.”

Once the planning phase was complete, the installation took about two weeks. Boardwalk has been so impressed with the work that it has since contracted WW Cannon to design the parts department for two more dealerships.

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Drum Roll, Please, for Heubel

Customized Morse dolly

Customized Morse dolly handles oddly shaped drums.

An animal health and pharmaceutical company in the Kansas City, Missouri, area, was presented with a drum handling conundrum. The raw materials for its new product came in oddly shaped 55-gallon drums and, despite the best efforts of its engineer to rig up a solution using casters, the company knew it was time to turn to its longtime material handling provider, Heubel Material Handling (Kansas City, MO). “The customer needed an easy way to transport the drums from storage to lab to production,” says Heubel Core Sales Rep Wade Huntley. A forklift would not work due to the limited space in the laboratory environment “Once I saw what the customer was looking to do, I knew Morse Manufacturing Company could handle it very easily.” Morse Sales Manager Charlie Lighthipe immediately sent a sample 14S drum handling dolly that could be modified to meet the customer’s needs.

After several meetings, measurements and drawings back and forth, Huntley worked up the final CAD drawings and sent them off to Lighthipe. The team at Morse went to work building the custom 14S SPL dolly, which had the casters offset from the base and modified support strapping down the center. It worked perfectly.

As the customer’s production geared up, Heubel began receiving additional orders for dollies from the customer, and soon, purchase orders were coming in from the customer’s other locations. When managers from three different sites placed orders for 40, 70 and 40 each of the custom dollies at the same time, Morse stepped up to make sure everyone was satisfied. “Morse recognized that, even though the orders were coming from different locations, it was the same customer,” says Huntley. “They were extremely helpful in combining purchase orders to provide a discounted price structure.”

Distributor: Heubel Material Handling
Manufacturer: Morse Manufacturing Company
Summary: Unusual drum size puts creative forces to the test.

Although the estimated turnaround on each order was eight weeks, Morse was able to send out partial orders to all three branches every few weeks until the entire order was filled, rather than making any one of the orders wait. “They made sure no one manager felt the pain of another manager’s order,” says Huntley. Within eight weeks, all three had received their complete orders.

Between March and August of 2011, Huntley estimates that the customer ordered between 200 and 250 dollies, totaling more than $65,000 in sales. Thanks to support from Morse Manufacturing, the orders keep rolling in, and dollies keep rolling out.

AK Racks Up a Sale

Ridg-U-Rak selective pallet rack

Ridg-U-Rak delivers 280,000 pounds of light-grey selective pallet rack in time for store opening.

A large hardware supplier was nine weeks away from opening a 260,000 sq. ft. home center and warehouse store when the company that provided its rack went out of business. The supplier had already ordered all of its racking and decking and had to scramble to find replacements. The company called Al Boston, CEO of AK Material Handling Systems (Maple Grove, MN), for assistance. Boston, who recently had begun stocking Ridg-U-Rak products, contacted Dave Olson, national sales manager at Ridg-U-Rak, to discuss a solution.

The customer stocks more than 60,000 SKUs and required more than 280,000 pounds of selective pallet rack. The customer had originally ordered light gray selective pallet racking, which is typically a custom order for manufacturers. “Ridg-U-Rak was able to handle the custom color,” says Boston.

Not only was Ridg-U-Rak able to meet the accelerated time frame of the $150,000 project and the custom color requirement, they were also price-competitive with the original manufacturer. “The customer didn’t have to redo their capital expenditure for the project,” says Boston. “That ensured that they didn’t have to alter their opening schedule.” Ridg-U-Rak was also able to coordinate delivery of seven truck loads of selective racking to the customer.

Distributor: AK Material Handling Systems
Manufacturer: Ridg-U-Rak, American Wire Products
Summary: Hardware supplier scrambles to replace pallet racking for a new home warehouse store.

This project was the first time that AK Material Handling worked with Ridg-U-Rak. “Working with Dave Olson and Ridg-U-Rak was outstanding,” says Boston. “Sometimes in a new relationship, suppliers will oversell and under-deliver. But Ridg-U-Rak did exactly what they said they were going to do when they said they would do it.”

In addition to the 280,000 pounds of selective pallet rack, AK Material Handling provided 150,000 pounds of wire decking from American Wire Products. “The customer was ecstatic about how the project turned out,” says Boston. “Our suppliers did a great job of easing their concerns and keeping them on schedule.”

Click below for larger images.

Morrison Clamps Down

Advance Packaging’s forklifts were more trouble than they were worth. The corrugated packaging manufacturer unloads large paper rolls from rail cars and semi-trailers. The company had a 12,000-pound forklift with a mast too tall to fit into its rail cars, and a 15,000-pound forklift that was too heavy to fit into the trailers. Furthermore, the clamp attachments were squeezing the paper rolls too tightly, causing an egg shape, and the hydraulic hoses that connected the clamp to the truck were leaking and seeping into the paper. The trucks were also prone to overheating, causing the operators’ legs to burn.

While doing a cold call, Nathan Delaney, account manager at Morrison Industrial Equipment Company (Grand Rapids, MI), was briefed on these issues. “Advance was moving to a 60-inch paper roll that weighed 9,000 pounds,” says Delaney. “That was heavier than anything they had ever handled.” Advance Packaging wanted to buy one forklift that could operate in both the trailer and the rail car, with a paper roll attachment that could carry the extra weight.

Distributor: Morrison Industrial Equipment Company
Manufacturer: Bolzoni Auramo, Cat Lift Trucks
Summary: Cold call reveals multiple challenges in need of one solution.

Delaney spoke with Tim Wilson, U.S. pulp & paper national accounts manager at Bolzoni Auramo, about a solution. “Other distributors were quoting a 15,000-pound truck, which was too heavy for the trailer,” says Delaney. The Bolzoni ARC90 paper roll attachment allowed us to get the capacity that was necessary with a 12,000 pound truck.” The ARC90 utilizes a rack and pinion to turn the paper rolls, rather than a hydraulic rotator, and has an adjustable pressure relief valve for controlled clamp force, eliminating out-of-round damage. The clamp has a 180-degree cushioned stop in the vertical position that allows for safe and damage-free stacking of the paper rolls.

Delaney then turned his attention to finding a lift truck on which to put the paper roll attachment. He found the GC55KPRSTR, a 12,000-pound truck from Cat Lift Trucks with a dedicated paper handling chassis and a short turning radius that has stack counterweight allowing for greater maneuverability, ideal for unloading Advance Packaging’s rail cars. The truck came with high-density rubber fenders that deflect upon impact with a paper roll, rather than cutting them, and a paper roll package that deflects heat away from the operator compartment.

Delaney and Wilson prepared a presentation for Advance Packaging that included a testimonial from a customer using the Bolzoni attachment along with pictures of the equipment on site. Wilson explained the benefits of using the rack and pinion solution and answered all questions. What started as a cold call became an $80,000 sale and valuable partnership.

Riekes Gives a Lovely Facelift

In 2004, Riekes Equipment Company (Omaha, NE) converted a hot dog stand in a strip mall to a storage facility for Lovely Skin, a startup online skin cosmetics company. Within five years, the business exploded in popularity and was quickly outgrowing its current location. “The employees were carrying product around in the bottom of their shirts and moving 30- to 40-pound record boxes by hand,” says Steve Loveless, territory manager at Riekes. “It was unsafe and inefficient.”

catwalk mezzanine

A shelving-supported catwalk mezzanine from Teilhaber is the centerpiece of Lovely Skin’s 7,000 sq. ft. warehouse.

In 2009, the owner of the company called Riekes to help design a new 7,000 sq. ft. facility for Lovely Skin. Territory Manager Jim Spitznagle and Loveless began meeting with the customer to plan the move. In addition to their online business, Lovely Skin planned to open a retail business in the new building and consolidate its off-site record storage. “The company had a very particular vision and lengthy wish list for the new facility. It took almost seven months of planning before we got the final order,” says Spitznagle.

The move revolved around a two-level 53 ft. long x 32 ft. wide shelving-supported catwalk mezzanine from Teilhaber Manufacturing Corporation. Teilhaber Project Manager Rob Bruce verified concepts, did the design engineering and quoting. “It went through seven or eight changes before we got a final drawing,” Spitznagle says.

As planning progressed, Loveless and Spitznagle began taking the Lovely Skin staff to see projects that Riekes had completed for other customers. “Seeing projects we have done let them know what our capabilities are and also gave them ideas for other products to incorporate into the new facility,” says Loveless. By the time the actual installation began in late 2010, the project had expanded to $100,000 and included a PFlow vertical package lift, UNEX Span-Track carton flow, AMC gravity-fed conveyor, Lyon workbenches and sorting tables, totes, shelf storage bins and wire decking from Nashville Wire Products, Modern picking carts and WireCrafters wire partitions to secure record storage.

Distributor: Riekes Equipment Company
Manufacturer: Teilhaber Manufacturing Corporation, Automated Conveyor Systems Inc., Lyon Workspace Products, Modern Equipment Company, Nashville Wire Products, PFlow Industries, UNEX Manufacturing, WireCrafters
Summary: Taking end-user on project tour convinces customer.

“This is the first project we’ve done that was part retail and part warehouse,” says Loveless. “We were almost in the interior design business. We even brought in a color coordinator. It was a new challenge.” All of that patience paid off, as Lovely Skin went to Riekes for a second round of renovations in 2011. “They were confident we could deliver on their vision in a cost-effective way,” says Loveless. As the partnership continues to grow, so too does Lovely Skin. The company now has 2.5 times more space than the hot dog stand that was renovated in 2004 and stores 7,000 SKUs in its warehouse. After the facelift that Riekes provided, Lovely Skin now has the room to continue to flourish.

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J.M. Equipment Makes the Wheels Go Round

In a three-shift operation such as Silgan Container’s Modesto, California, warehouse, forklift tires can wear-out fast. The metal food packaging manufacturer traditionally purchased tires based on the lowest price, and was replacing the tires every 600 hours. The tires were also going out of round and developing a flat spot as they drove. This led to product bouncing up and down and becoming damaged. Silgan called R.J. Days, salesperson at J.M. Equipment Company (Manteca, CA), for help.

R.J. Days

R.J. Days helps company reduce product damage by outfitting forklifts with Continental tires.

Days brought Mark Madding, sales representative from Continental Tire the Americas, to Silgan’s facility to present Continental’s STB MH20 forklift tires. “Mark and R.J. explained to Silgan that while the Continental tire would be more expensive up front, they would actually save money in the end by not having to replace their tires as quickly,” says J.M. Service Manager Matt Day. To prove it, Madding suggested Silgan take the Conti Challenge and run the STB MH20 and a competitor’s tire for their entire life-span on the same model forklift for the same operation. If the Continental tire didn’t outlast the competition, Continental would buy the tires back.

After taking the Conti Challenge, Silgan was so impressed with the Continental tires that they purchased $51,500 worth. “The drivers liked that the tires spun less and that the Continentals were able run their entire life span without developing a flat spot,” says Day.

Distributor: J.M. Equipment Company
Manufacturer: Continental Tire the Americas
Summary: Side-by-side tire challenge flattens the competition.

Silgan was buying more than 400 tires per year, but since making the switch to Continental, only bought 280 tires in 2010. The Continental Tire’s lifespan of 1,600 hours is more than double what Silgan was accustomed to and the company is suffering less product damage from bouncing product. “Having a Continental rep accompany us and answer any questions, combined with the opportunity to demo the product, helped us win the customer’s business and keep it.”

PeakLogix Keeps Its Cool

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strict regulations regarding the storage of vaccines. Sensors on the coolers of pharmaceutical companies monitor the storage environment to ensure those regulations are being met. A large pharmaceutical manufacturer in Richmond, Virginia, was struggling to keep its cooler below the mandated 34°F because they shipped vaccines on pallets and had to keep the cooler doors open to move the pallets in and out. The pharmaceutical company sought a way to keep its storage cool and stay in compliance with the FDA. They contacted long-time material handling partner PeakLogix (Midlothian, VA) to determine a remedy.

Distributor: PeakLogix
Manufacturer: Powered Aire
Summary: Knowing whom to call results in continued sales opportunities.

PeakLogix Regional Director Tom Martin called Tom Piper, manufacturer’s rep for Powered Aire, to discuss possible solutions. Piper suggested installing an air curtain with a door switch to activate the air curtain every time the door opens. He put Martin in touch with Powered Aire Sales and Marketing Manager Robin Zambrini.

Zambrini recommended using the Powered Aire ETD-3-120 stainless steel air curtain for the 10 ft. wide x 12 ft. tall door. The plenum curtain discharges cool air across the full width of the opening with no gaps in the air stream. This design prevents any heat from entering the cooler, even when the door is open.

Powered Aire ETD-3-120 air curtain

A Powered Aire ETD-3-120 air curtain keeps vaccines cold and at FDA standard in pharmaceutical cooler.

The installation of the $4,000 curtain presented some logistical challenges that had to be addressed. “Typically, we mount the curtain right to the door,” says Jerry Shaw, PeakLogix project manager. “The cooler is made of foam-filled metal. It isn’t a very rigid structure, so we had to custom fabricate brackets to hang the curtain.” The pharmaceutical manufacturer remained open during installation of the 437-pound curtain. That meant that installers had to work around employees walking into and out of the cooler. It also meant that they had to work in the 34°F temperature. “We couldn’t keep the door open for long periods of time because that was the problem that we were trying to eliminate,” says Shaw. “So we alternated between working inside the cooler and outside.”

Since the installation, the pharmaceutical manufacturer has had zero reports to the FDA of excessive temperatures, and has referred other pharmaceutical companies grappling with similar issues to PeakLogix. The client trusts Martin and PeakLogix so much, in fact, that they have done several other installations at the Richmond plant.

Bastian Gets a High Five

When a large plastic solutions manufacturer decided to upgrade its packaging process, it had to replace the conveyors in all five of its distribution centers across the United States. The company spoke to a consultant in Kentucky who referred them to Bastian Solutions (Evansville, IN). “The customer was moving its packaging from standard cardboard boxes to larger octabin boxes,” explains Jon Tilmon, senior sales representative at Bastian Solutions. “The octabin boxes required a larger pallet and the company’s current conveyors weren’t big enough to handle them.”

Chain-driven roller conveyer

Chain-driven roller conveyer from Alba Manufacturing allows customer to ship in larger boxes.

Bastian found out about the project very late in the bid process and had to scramble to put together a proposal. “All of our suppliers provided us the necessary information and engineered drawings to allow us to quote the project in a week,” says Tilmon. “We couldn’t have won this contract without that quick response.” Bastian was also willing to fly to each facility before the contract was awarded to meet with each project manager separately. “Each project manager and set of local engineers had different requirements and we wanted to cater to the needs of each,” says Tilmon, who went to each facility with Brad Bell, sales project engineer at Alba Manufacturing to take field measurements, look at plant specifications and meet with company personnel.

What started off as a corporate buy quickly turned into five distinct projects. Each facility had its own specifications and pre-existing equipment. One plant wanted roller conveyors, another preferred chain mesh conveyors, and corporate insisted on keeping the photo eyes, motors and drives that were already installed in each facility, rather than replacing them.

With the team from Alba, Tilmon worked to incorporate each facility’s needs. “Alba provided all of the engineering drawings for each type of conveyor. We produced new drawings after visiting each facility and then resubmitted them for approval. It changed quite a bit from our initial proposal to the final install,” says Tilmon. Project Engineer Steve Durcholz was tasked with integrating all of the manufacturer drawings into one single drawing for each facility.

Distributor: Bastian Solutions
Manufacturer: Alba Manufacturing, Blue Arc Engineering, Navco, Weber Packaging Solutions
Summary: Corporate buy turns into five distinct conveyor projects to accommodate larger boxes.

The $1.6 million project spanned from February through August 2011. In addition to the chain-driven roller conveyor, wire mesh conveyor, pop-up chain transfers and pallet dispensers provided by Alba Manufacturing, Bastian also had integrate labelers from Weber Packaging Solutions, Navco densification equipment and automatic staplers from Blue Arc Engineering.

Summing up the help he received, Tilmon says, “Alba Vice President Mike Kroeger and Brad Bell were amazing. Alba produced a tremendous amount of conveyor in an accelerated time frame, and their willingness to travel with us to each facility was above and beyond the call of duty.”


A.J. Jersey Racks Up Parts Supplies

While the recent down economy was troubling for most businesses, one company found the silver lining. A national auto parts supplier was realizing an uptick in the sale of its automotive parts. More people are now repairing vehicles, rather than purchasing new ones. This means that more parts are being sold.

Distributor: A.J. Jersey
Manufacturer: Tri-Boro Shelving
Summary: Ability to deliver quality product quickly seals the deal.

The supplier decided on an aggressive expansion that would increase the size of its local branches to handle a larger amount of inventory. The branches hold parts that are sent, within an hour of request, to local automotive repair shops, including gas stations, dealerships and repair shops. Organization was paramount, as branch sizes range from 25,000 to 30,000 sq. ft. The supplier was remodeling some branches and building others from scratch.

A.J. Jersey (South Plainfield, NJ) was a long-time supplier to the company. Sales Manager John Robertson points out that years of providing good service and supplies to the company’s distribution centers cemented a strong relationship. With the opportunity to expand into the company’s many branch locations, A.J. Jersey was poised to continue that relationship and show what else it could do for its customer.

Despite the relationship, A.J. Jersey had to compete against other distributors for the job. Joe Kearny, A.J. Jersey sales representative, approached the customer with many resources. Rivet rack shelving to hold inventory was one of the requirements so Kearney went to Fred DeMaio at Tri-Boro Shelving, who made it clear that any special components the customer desired would not be a problem. A.J. Jersey’s Allied Project Engineer Shawn Sandham worked with Kearny on fine-tuning the design, knowing that Tri-Boro had their backs.

To the customer, price was paramount, but the team understood that lead time was also critically important. Says Robertson, “We had no doubt that Tri-Boro would get the rack to us within three weeks, Fred DeMaio had to go above and beyond to come up with special items we needed, and it was never a problem.”

A.J. Jersey won the job and has outfitted seven branch locations with Tri-Boro rivet rack, along with carts, work stations and tables. Allied Products Coordinator Kathy McMahon handled transportation and logistics, a yeoman’s task because the branches were located in five states—New York, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and New Jersey. The customer has over 100 locations east of the Mississippi River and is counting on the partnership of A.J. Jersey and Tri-Boro Shelving.

AHS Bags a Solution

Free-spinning belt rollers

Free-spinning belt rollers positioned at strategic angles on this Intralox merge conveyor move product in the direction of the roller orientation and eliminate manual sorting.

A large clothing retail chain was opening up its first West Coast distribution center for its online store. At its other locations, the retailer handled product in poly bags that presented a challenge for conveyors. Because the bags don’t have a flat bottom, the company couldn’t use conventional roller conveyors. Merging lanes was a logistical nightmare due to the bags’ penchant for slipping underneath the fixed deflector and jamming the system. For years, the company eschewed this issue by conveying multiple bags in totes and having an individual operator stand at the end of the line to manually sort the products. However, at its new 330,000 sq. ft. distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona, the retailer was looking to increase efficiencies by eliminating the manual sorter.

AHS, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH) has had a relationship with the retailer dating back to the 1970s. When Jeff Miller, AHS executive vice president of engineering, found out about the problem, he assembled a team to determine a solution for his customer. AHS Vice President of Sales Dave Tavel, Project Manager John Louis, Project Engineer Paul Wooldridge and Account Manager Eric Schumacher put their heads together and recalled a supplier’s product training and realized they had a solution. The team proposed using an Intralox S7000 Activated Roller Belt Merge conveyor, a bottom contact conveyor that merged two lanes into one single-file line. The conveyor allows product to rest on free-spinning belt rollers positioned at strategic angles, rather than on the belt surface. The rollers move the product across the surface of the belt in the direction of the roller orientation.

AHS contacted Intralox Team Leader for Warehousing and Distribution Stephen Moseley for assistance. Moseley put together a series of videos demonstrating the merge conveyor handling poly bags, just like the ones the customer would be conveying. A team from AHS flew to Phoenix to demonstrate the solution to the customer. Despite bids from other integrators, the retailer loved the AHS solution.

Distributor: AHS, Inc.
Manufacturer: Intralox, Flexible Material Handling, Hilmot Conveyor, Interlake Mecalux, TGW Systems, Wildeck
Summary: Supplier product training recalls perfect solution.

AHS received the $1.9 million order on December 1, 2010. In addition to the Intralox merge table, AHS installed 24-volt TGW motorized driven roller conveyor, Hilmot belted zone motorized roller conveyor, FMC Maxx reach belt loader, a Wildeck mezzanine and Interlake Mecalux pallet rack. “The receiving area had to be up and running by March 1,” says Miller. “We had a reputation for getting the job done in a tight time frame, and the customer was confident in our skills.”

Since installing equipment in the Phoenix warehouse, AHS has been contracted to do a similar install in the retailer’s Ohio and Canada warehouses. “The success of the Intralox solution prompted the customer to green light these new installations,” says Miller.

Click below for larger images.

Curlin Vaults to Success

Golf Channel needed additional office space at its Orlando, Florida, headquarters and studios. It had a 22 ft. x 30 ft. video vault room that was housing its mobile storage system and video archive. Golf Channel wanted to convert the single-level vault into a double-level office space and storage area. They contacted their maintenance company, DSA Maintenance, to determine the best course of action. DSA knew that an expert would be required and contacted Jeremy Chapman, vice president at Curlin, Inc. (Tampa, FL), to start developing the project. Chapman had an idea of what might work, and he brought in Wildeck’s Scott Dachel, outside regional manager, and Dennis Behr, inside regional manager, for help.

Distributor: Curlin, Inc.
Manufacturer: Wildeck
Summary: Reputation for excellence engineers the perfect solution.

Chapman proposed installing a Wildeck mezzanine inside the vault that would allow Golf Channel to maintain their storage initiatives on the top level and put offices underneath the mezzanine. The mezzanine, however, provided some challenges. The vault had a door in the corner of the room where a support post would typically go, so Pam Day, Wildeck’s project engineering supervisor, developed a solution that would enable the mezzanine to cantilever over the door and allow it to open. The stairway design also changed throughout the design process. Initially, the mezzanine required a staircase that would require an exterior landing. An interior staircase was designed that would fit inside the room and make the mezzanine landing the final step.

The 16 ft. x 26 ft. mezzanine had to be installed in the middle of an office environment. This required installers to hand load and walk all 12 beams inside 35.5-inch wide man doors. Installers had to temporarily dismantle some cubicles in the office to allow for a wide enough turning radius for the beams, which were strategically less than 16 feet long. The office environment also prevented installers from using forklifts. Once inside the vault, installers used a hand crank to lift the 240-pound beams.

The entire process took only three days to complete, well ahead of schedule, and the 18-foot clearance allowed Golf Channel to move its storage upstairs and fill out the bottom floor with offices. It was a hole in one.

DACO Scratches Six-Year Itch

Distributor: DACO Corporation
Manufacturer: Advance Storage Products
Summary: When money is tight and needs are big, ten-year relationship instills confidence.

Allan Brothers is a fruit packing company that provides apples and cherries for large retailers across the United States. The company had been considering expanding its cold storage capacity for more than six years but kept getting delayed in its decision. In 2010, however, the company built a new cold storage warehouse and decided that the time was right to expand its storage. Allan Brothers initially considered an Automatic Storage and Retrieval System but didn’t have the budget for it. The company called Eric Anderson, territory manager at DACO Corporation (Kent, WA), who has been their material handling distributor for more than a decade. Allan Brothers wanted to expand to 2,500 pallet positions to allow for future expansion.

Anderson called Adel Santner, regional sales manager at Advance Storage Products. “Having worked with Adel for several years, I knew that Advance would be able to do the job on time and with no issues.” Together with Santner and DACO Sales Engineer Justin Cox, Anderson presented a drive-in system with two levels of pushback rack above it for cold storage.

three-deep pushback

DACO provides 2,500 pallet positions for fruit packing company, including 126 lanes of three-deep pushback.

Advance provided structural engineering for the system, which included double-wide drive-in bays, 306 lanes of four-deep pushback, 126 lanes of three-deep pushback and 32 lanes of two-deep pushback that increases Allan Brother’s efficiency for storing and rotating SKUs. The project was more than $400,000, but as Anderson says, price was only part of the concern. “This wasn’t simply a price project. Having worked with DACO for more than ten years, Allan Brothers knew they were getting an experienced installation crew and a solution that would fulfill its needs.”

The customer appreciated the additional considerations that DACO and Advance Storage provided. The drive-in rack was equipped with column doublers to reinforce the columns and increase safety in the drive-in bays.

Aisles were fitted with rub-rail guards to prevent damage as forklifts enter the bays. The rack had a link cart system that linked the carts together and ensured that the load wouldn’t come loose and fall into the aisles. Advance also arranged to ship the products intermodal, rather than simply using flatbeds for road transport, which saved Allan Brothers time and money on freight. A project more than six years in the making just ripened with age.

Click below for larger images.


Hewitt Becomes One-Stop Shop for Global Account

Distributor: Hewitt Equipment Limited
Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America
Summary: Operational analysis uncovers major needs to be met across two countries.

Kruger, a paper and forest products company operating in Canada and the United States, needed to reduce maintenance costs by 10 percent. It also wanted to be more environmentally friendly in its operations, which involved the transport of large paper rolls and stacks of recycled paper. Kruger contacted Willie Grubesic, major account manager at Hewitt Equipment Limited (Pointe-Claire, QC, Canada) for help.

Grubesic, along with Vice President of Material Handling Michel Lauzon, put together a team of 16 people to rigorously assess and catalogue 439 vehicles in 15 plants over the course of four months. They met not only with Kruger supervisors, but with the forklift operators using the equipment on a daily basis. They crisscrossed North America from Corner Brook, Newfoundland, to New Westminster, British Columbia, to Memphis, Tennessee. A dramatic picture emerged: a fleet at the end of its useful life with more than half of the units above 12 years of age comprised of 16 different manufacturing brands with varied power sources (diesel, electric, propane, natural gas) and many imperfect applications. Yikes!

MCFA special attachments

MCFA added special attachments to handle large, heavy lifting requirements.

Long-time supplier Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America (MCFA) assisted the Hewitt team with helping Kruger redefine its needs. It was determined that specialized lift trucks with 8,000- to 15,000-pound capacity with attachments that could handle the large, heavy paper rolls were the best choice for the operation. MCFA developed a paper-recycle package to reduce downtime and the repair costs associated with the trucks overheating from paper paste clogging the radiators and insulating heat inside the transmission and other machine components.

The 400-truck fleet replacement will take five years and span two countries across multiple dealer service territories. Kruger, now a dealer-managed account, can concentrate on what it does best—tissue, paper, forest products, manufacturing and recycling—not aged, broken-down trucks.

Allied Persistence Pays Off

Allied Equipment Service Corp. (Indianapolis, IN) Account Manager Bruce Merritt does not give up easily. Four years ago, Merritt presented a quote for narrow aisle trucks to Jasper Engines and Transmissions (JET), but was rebuffed in favor of a less expensive truck. Unswayed, Merritt continued to call and provide literature for the client to prepare for future projects. In September 2010, JET began to build a 140,000 sq. ft. expansion to its existing 210,000 sq. ft. remanufacturing and distribution facility in Jasper, Indiana. The company was concerned about the rising maintenance costs of the trucks they had bought and wanted to revisit discussions with Merritt.

Distributor: Allied Equipment Service Corp.
Manufacturer: Narrow Aisle
Summary: Distributor convinces customer to switch lift trucks after four years of courting.

Merritt and Allied Sales Manager Rick Mize contacted Narrow Aisle President Warren Cornil and Sales Manager Bruce Dickey for customer references. Cornil and Dickey researched customers that used both the Flexi G4, a 4,500-pound narrow aisle truck, and a competitor’s truck currently being used by JET. Merritt and JET decision-makers travelled to customer locations to see the trucks in action and discuss the pros and cons of each truck with the customers. “Every customer told JET that the Flexi costs much less to operate than our competitor’s trucks,” says Merritt. Narrow Aisle also provided a demo unit that JET forklift operators could test in their facility.

JET took their time with the decision. “They really did their research,” says Merritt. “They spoke with all of the references we provided and sometimes drove hours to their facilities so that they could see the units.” The Flexi trucks were not the least expensive option, but Narrow Aisle worked with Merritt to provide a cost-competitive pricing structure. In the end, JET decided to order four Flexi G4 narrow aisle trucks for its new facility, recognizing that the overall cost would be lower.

Since making the $210,000 purchase in January 2011, JET has been thrilled with its decision. “The trucks they had been using were always in the shop,” says Merritt. “They haven’t had that issue with the Flexi trucks.” For Merritt, staying in constant contact with a prospective client ultimately paid off. “I knew that at some point we would get an opportunity.”

Atlantic Handling Reinforces and Repairs

In a busy warehouse like Bed Bath & Beyond’s Totowa, New Jersey, distribution center, racking systems are bound to suffer some damage. When a rack upright is damaged, the customer has two options—replace the entire rack or use a rack repair kit to reinforce the existing rack. When Bed Bath & Beyond’s warehouse racks suffered extensive upright damage, the company called John Cosgrove, president of Atlantic Handling Systems (Fair Lawn, NJ), for a solution.

Distributor: Atlantic Handling Systems, a division of Mayberry Material Handling
Manufacturer: Damotech
Summary: Retail chain repairs rack uprights without having to offload any product.

Having previously worked with the retail giant, Cosgrove knew that efficiency is paramount in their operation. To ensure that the customer wouldn’t be hindered during the repair, Cosgrove suggested using Damotech rack repair systems. “The Damotech solution was convenient because it doesn’t require the customer to offload any pallets, which saves a lot of time. The solution also requires no welding, so there was no time spent acquiring a hot work permit for the warehouse.”

Damotech’s Business Development Manager Daniel Bider and Business Development Associate Karine Gauther went with Cosgrove to Bed Bath & Beyond. They showed a video demonstrating a damaged rack being repaired in the field. Convinced that their racks would be safe from further damage, Bed Bath & Beyond purchased 20 Damo Pro repair kits to fix front columns and 20 Damo Flex rack repair kits to fix front and rear columns.

Damotech rack repair kit

Damotech rack repair kits reinforce broken uprights in a Bed Bath & Beyond distribution center.

To install the structural steel kits, Atlantic Handling had to first jack the existing upright off the floor and secure it. This allowed the installers to cut out the damaged beam without having the rack topple to the ground. Once the beam was cut, the Damotech frames were attached and bolted to the floor. The frames are equipped with a bull nose and HILTI anchors to prevent the posts from twisting and buckling if hit by a forklift.

The project took six weeks to complete, and Bed Bath & Beyond was so impressed that they ordered 60 additional Damo Pro and 20 Damo Flex frames to fix other racks in the facility.


AHS Solution Floors Customer

The multi-level mezzanine at a Toyota parts distribution center in Hebron, Kentucky, was wearing out. Heavy carts were being pushed over a three-level rack-supported pick mezzanine, and over time the floor developed soft spots. Toyota began searching for manufacturers capable of replacing the floors with a sturdier material. One of them was Cornerstone Specialty Wood Products. Cornerstone works closely with AHS, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH) and brought the distributor in on the project.

Distributor: AHS, Inc.
Manufacturer: Cornerstone SpecialtyWood Products
Summary: Manufacturer refuses to sell direct.

AHS President Chuck Frank and EVP of Engineering Jeff Miller collaborated with Cornerstone President Greg Doppler, National Sales Manager Keith Shipman and Engineering Manager Scott McGill. They determined that ResinDek floor panels would be a durable, long-term solution.

Knowing that Toyota was courting three other manufacturers, Cornerstone provided them with several pieces of ResinDek flooring to field test, and AHS took Toyota to visit a nearby facility with ResinDek flooring. Toyota recognized that the AHS-Cornerstone partnership had their best interests in mind, and awarded the $450,000 project to AHS.

Installation of the floor proved tricky. “Installing a floor like this is similar to putting together the pieces of a puzzle,” explains Frank. “Varied sizes of wood are placed down and moved before a final drawing is made.” The installation had to be timed in a way that did not disturb Toyota’s day-to-day operations, so a crew of ten worked an off-hour shift, 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. The installation on the second and third floors of the mezzanine was completed in eight weeks.

MHI Helps IVC Go Green

Clark GEX32 80-volt forklift

The Clark GEX32 80-volt forklift lifts heavy rolls of tile over 325 inches high.

IVC Group was opening its first manufacturing plant in the United States in Dalton, Georgia, and wanted to go green at its new 500,000 sq. ft. facility. Plant Manager Scott Whittle contacted Terry Stanfield, territory manager at Material Handling Inc. (Dalton, GA), about options to match IVC Group’s environmental ideology. Stanfield and his sales manager, John Patterson, responded with several potential electric truck options, along with a total cost of ownership study for each option. They also provided a comparison of these costs versus conventional propane lift trucks. IVC management expressed a great deal of interest in a fast-charging solution, but had concerns that electric trucks would not be able to meet the daily demands of their application.

IVC manufactures vinyl flooring and its forklifts must lift 13.5-foot-long rolls to a height of 329 inches for storage. Patterson called Clark Material Handling for help. Vice President of Sales & Marketing Bo Maslanyk and Regional Manager Herb Michelli knew the GEX 80-volt lift truck with a 5-stage upright would give IVC the lifting capacity it needed, and accompanied MHI’s Patterson and Stanfield to meet with the customer. The team decided that a week-long test with real data would allay the customer’s concerns. Clark provided a demo truck and fast chargers were set up.

Distributor: Material Handling Inc.
Manufacturer: Clark Material Handling Company, Hawker, PosiCharge
Summary: Fast-charge electric demo gathers operational data to help buying decision

While the unit was in operation, MHI gathered electrical consumption and operational data for shift change, lunch and break times. The data they collected reinforced the recommendations.

IVC purchased five Clark GEX32 80-volt lift trucks with a 339-inch 5-stage upright. Hawker Energy Plus Batteries were added, along with PosiCharge fast chargers. The sale not only enabled IVC to utilize overhead space and reduce maintenance, fuel and labor costs, but met its objective for a green solution.

Mission Accomplished By warehouse1

When Uncle Sam comes calling, warehouse1 (Kansas City, MO) moves quickly to respond. Actually, warehouse1 moves very quickly to fulfill the needs of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), the agency tasked with providing supplies and equipment to government agencies. Government Contracts Manager Char Norman is well-versed on the requirements of a listing on the GSA schedule. “We must have secure financials, a great reputation, acceptable NAICS codes, and a strong and long sales history,” she explains. One more thing: warehouse1’ s suppliers must meet the same strict standards. “We’re trading not only on warehouse1’s reputation, but on that of our suppliers, who are listed on our GSA schedule.” Suppliers are required to have sufficient inventory and the ability to manufacturer a certain number of units with no delays. “One missed delivery can make the difference,” says Norman. “When doing work with the government, if you mess up once, you’re done.”

Distributor: warehouse1
Manufacturer: Mobile Industries
Summary: Understanding how government purchasing is done, knowing the right questions to ask and securing delivery results in 200 pallet truck order.

In January 2011, a federal agency contacted warehouse1 to provide a bid for 200 pallet trucks. Because of its relationship with Mobile Industries, warehouse1 could secure a large number of trucks in a short amount of time. As a woman-owned company, warehouse1 had an edge, and won the contract.

Norman called Mobile Industries President Steve Guagliano to begin delivery of 200 ML Series pallet trucks to 32 locations across the United States. Because it had warehouses in five different cities, Mobile could easily drop ship to the locations. The order included 5,500-pound capacity and 10,000-pound capacity trucks. A variety of dimensions were needed, in addition to the standard 27 x 48 size. Some were wider, some longer; some differed by only a half inch.

Including the custom work, it took a little less than five weeks to deliver all 200 pallet trucks. For Char Norman, though, the $255,000 sale meant more than deadlines and dollars. She was confident that her supplier partner would handle their end of the deal. What she didn’t count on was the feeling of pride she had knowing that those 200 trucks would be in the hands of the U.S. Armed Forces. “The pallet trucks are moving aircraft parts, ammunition, backpacks for soldiers who get deployed at a moment’s notice,” she explains. “We are moving critical parts to help them meet their mission. This was more than a sale for me.”

Searching For Sales Success

The following list represents the Top 50 Keywords that brought search engine users to wikiMHEDA.org in 2011. Here is what material handling end-users are looking for on the Internet to leverage sales success online:

1. Pallet dimensions
2. Consignment inventory
3. ICC bar
4. Standard pallet size
5. Pallet sizes
6. Dock to stock definition
7. Standard pallet dimensions
8. Euro pallet dimensions in inches
9. Block stacking
10. Consigned inventory
11. Block and brace
12. B10 life definition
13. Pick to light wiki
14. Inching pedal
15. Gma pallet
16. Pallet dimension
17. Pallet size
18. Cube utilization
19. Finger dock
20. wikiMHEDA
21. Double deep
22. Cluster picking
23. ABC stratification
24. Lift truck classes
25. Pallet exchange program
26. Rohs wiki
27. Pallet
28. Brand integrity definition
29. Dimensions of a pallet
30. Standard pallet height
31. Economic justification definition
32. Class 7 forklift
33. Class 3 forklift
34. Pallet height
35. 5s definition
36. Opportunity charging
37. Gma pallet dimensions
38. Material handling principles
39. ICC Bar definition
40. Ul certification wiki
41. Transverse flue space
42. Class 2 forklift
43. Wiki mheda
44. Euro pallet dimensions height
45. Turret truck
46. Advanced shipment notification
47. Shipping marks definition
48. B10 life
49. Class 4 forklift
50. Available to promise calculation

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Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association