MHEDA dealers and suppliers work together to solve the customer’s issue
By Steve Guglielmo
MHEDA members are known throughout the industry for their top-of-the-line product offerings, ability to overcome even the most persistent obstacles and willingness to think outside the box. These are qualities that are born from the blood, sweat and tears of experience. None of the members in these stories got where they were today without some stumbles along the way, but it was the ability to learn from those stumbles and adapt that makes them the envy of the industry. Customers can feel confident bringing any problem to a MHEDA distributor because they know that they not only have the wherewithal to handle the issue but the unwavering support of an OEM partner behind them. Between a MHEDA dealer and MHEDA suppliers, no problem is too large or too small to handle.
Charles Darwin one said that, “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” There is no substitute for experience and MHEDA members have experience in spades. The 2015 Sales Success Stories prove, once again, why MHEDA members are so consistently recognized with awards and plaudits. The following examples of dealers and suppliers collaborating to solve problems only reinforces that notion.
Solving a Storage Crisis
Gene Messer Toyota was facing a storage crisis. The Lubbock, Texas-based dealership had redesigned its parts department and was looking to increase its part storage in the counter area. The problem was, the parts department didn’t have the storage it needed to handle the increased quantity. Out of ideas, Parts Manager Mark Schroeder contacted Western Storage and Handling President Harry Neumann for help.
Neumann contacted Borroughs Corporation to help find the ideal storage unit for the job. After discussing with Schroeder, Harry recommended installing red High-Density Drawers from Borroughs into the shelving.
“The drawers were just the thing to free up some of the existing closed-shelving units and also offered new storage in the back room,” says Neumann. “The new storage was more accessible to the parts and service employees and by putting the parts closer to the counter, it also reduced the pick time for each pick. This not only made the operation more organized but also more efficient and gave employees more room to move around in the back room of the parts area for faster customer service.”
Harry recommended using units that measured 87 in. high, 48 in. wide and 24 in. deep, utilizing the bottom 48 in. of each unit for drawers while leaving the top portion for open shelf storage. Each unit had two 9 in. drawers and five 6 in. drawers.
“The drawers slide out smoothly on ball-bearings to view and access the entire contents of the drawer and can support up to 400 pounds of an evenly distributed load,” Neumann says. “Those features really sold Gene Messer on using the Borroughs HD Drawers.”
The dealership actually purchased the units before the remodel was complete, which left the layout up in the air. Ultimately, the company decided to purchase six shelving units, which allowed them to eliminate 24 sections of shelving in the back room. Four of the units were placed in the middle of the newly renovated parts department, side-by-side and back-to-back, while the last two units were placed side-by-side on the wall.
“This layout provided access to all the parts in the drawers and still allowed employees to move carts through the area and have customers walk through unimpeded,” says Neumann. “The employees are very happy with the changes and the dealership is actually anxious to put more of these units to work in other areas of the dealership.”
Installation on the project took only one day and was completed by Harry and Daniel Neumann. In the end, Gene Messer has a more organized and more streamlined parts department.
Distributor: Western Storage and Handling
Supplier: Borroughs Corporation
Bode and Wildeck Help Baker Distributing Better Serve Its Customers
It’s a question that thousands of companies face every year: what’s the most cost-effective way to expand my facility?
Evaluating goals, objectives and long-term needs often leads executives to either streamline their existing facilities to find space, or build outward by adding on to their building as a way to accommodate growth. But rather than looking out, one solution that’s fast becoming a popular option can be found by looking up … and that’s exactly what Baker Distributing did.
Vermont-based Baker Distributing solved its expansion dilemma by installing four industrial steel work platforms (mezzanines) and two vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs) at its two facilities, and the company hasn’t looked back since.
“The mezzanine platforms made a lot of sense to us because we were already heating the space, and we had room above us to expand,” said Gerry Couture, general manager, Baker Distributing. “In hindsight, it was a smart decision.”
That decision was based on the recommendation of Steve and Scott Fawcett, CEO and president respectively, of Londonderry, NH-based Bode Equipment Co., who has worked closely with Baker Distributing for nearly 30 years.
“Most customers will come to you with a perceived notion of what needs to be done, but Baker was open to starting a partnership right from the beginning,” Scott Fawcett said. “Steve has been calling on them for 25 years and that trust was key in this project. And we’re really fortunate to work with Wildeck on the supplier side as we have confidence in their whole team to provide the right solution for our customers.”
Founded in 1965 by brothers David Sr. and Joseph Baker Jr., Baker Distributing carries a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic products; servicing more than 1,200 retailers throughout the state of Vermont. Today the company is operated by a second generation of family members, David Jr. and Mike, and has more than 220 workers at its two Vermont distribution facilities in Colchester and North Clarendon.
The push for expansion came in part from the brands Baker carries expanding their portfolio of products by means of line extensions. For example, some brands are now offering several different flavors – and those products need to be incorporated into the distribution process. This ongoing trend within the beverage industry has resulted in new SKUs – and the immediate need to create more space.
“Our industry is continually increasing with SKUs and line extensions. You need more space for all those SKUs, so these platforms allow us to better accommodate the trends in our industry,” Couture said.
Couture relied on Fawcett and his knowledge of material handling solutions to help devise an expansion plan that would best suit Baker’s needs. The initial plan was to expand the company’s north warehouse in Colchester. That facility had a limited footprint to work with, and the logical and cost-competitive solution was to utilize the open overhead space. Fawcett believed the Baker operation would be a perfect candidate for an industrial steel mezzanine platform.
He designed a plan that called for the installation of two mezzanine platforms, combined with a VRC and a variety of safety gates and guard rail. One platform is long and narrow, 14 x 127 feet, and was built to fit alongside the building wall; the second platform measures 97 x 80, and is located in the pallet-staging area in the back corner. The top of the narrow platform is used to house point-of-sale goods and displays. Baker relocated the small order picking operation on the second platform, freeing up valuable ground level space for other functions.
“The mezzanine platforms gave us a lot more space to pick the line, which is huge for us,” Couture said.
The relocation of small order picking to the top of the platform also includes order picking for wine bottles; having product and employees off the ground floor and away from busy forklift traffic increases safety.
The VRC at Baker is perfect for safely transferring materials from one level to the next. The VRCs comply with ANSI/ASME B20.1 safety standards for conveyors; can lift several thousand pounds of materials in an enclosed platform; greatly enhance warehouse safety and productivity; and come with safeguards, like Wildeck’s patented AutoSenz Overload Detection System (U.S. Patent No. 7,408,317), to prevent jams, product spillage or equipment malfunction.
“Having a VRC works great for us because we needed an apparatus to bring wine product down from the second level without disturbing the built pallet, coming down on a forklift wasn’t the answer, otherwise we’d lose product,” Couture said. “The thing I love about the VRCs is that we’re building pallets for customers, and they can be very unstable due to their different shapes and sizes. The VRCs allows us to bring them down to the first level without any breakage. VRCs made the best sense for us.”
In addition to the VRC, the mezzanine platform has two gates that allow pallets to be on- and off-loaded from a forklift.
The positive results of the Wildeck platform, VRC and safety gates in Baker’s Colchester warehouse allowed management to look at replicating a similar setup at its North Clarendon warehouse … and it did just that. Two mezzanine platforms, a VRC and safety gates were installed there in 2014.
Although the platforms at both locations are similar in size and scope, their framing structures are different: the Colchester platforms use I-Beams whereas one of the two platforms in North Clarendon use bar joists. This flexibility and creativity in Wildeck’s framing options gives customers like Baker more choices in purchasing a platform that meets their exact specifications and load requirements. The footprint of the warehouse in North Clarendon was such that Baker wanted a mezzanine platform with columns spread apart further, but also desired a more open deck for utilities; thus the bar joist and truss girder design was selected.
Both warehouses have multiple forklifts operating during two shifts. To help protect the VRCs, Wilgard Guard Rail was installed and is also used to protect other equipment such as shrink-wrap machines.
“We didn’t have a concern that Wildeck would be the bottleneck in these projects,” Fawcett said. “We worked closely with Wildeck and it was the right decision. These solutions worked out great for Baker.”
“Time and again Bode proves itself to be a soup-to-nuts first-class company,” Couture said. “Their recommendation of Wildeck was right on the money. We couldn’t be happier with the solutions Wildeck and Bode provided.”
Distributor: Bode Equipment Company
Supplier: Wildeck, Inc.
Increased Locations, Decreased Foot Traffic
Overton’s/Gander Direct, Gander Mountain is the nation’s largest retail network of outdoor specialty stores for shooting sports, hunting, fishing, camping, marine, apparel, footwear and outdoor lifestyle.
Overton’s faced multiple issues with their current storage solutions among their biggest challenges was poor cube utilization, wear and tear on their existing bin boxes, and ergonomic concerns for their employees. A major future concern was a massive influx of SKUs due to market segment growth in apparel. All of these issues combined ultimately to lead them to being out of space and needing to make a change.
Overton’s main concerns were how to be able to manage SKU growth while insulating their employees from having to dig through pallets/totes on the ground or on shelf levels and how to reduce the use of step ladders to reach product stored overhead all while making their products more readily accessible and easy find. They analyzed their data and found that they didn’t have enough of the “right-sized” locations to support growth in their apparel product category. This product segment was growing dynamically and needed additional pick slots to support this rapid SKU growth and they needed them quickly!
Upon seeing the SpeedCell Storage Solution in different publications and having it being brought to their attention by Wayne Garris of Indoff Incorporated, their dealer business partner, Overton’s knew they had their solution.
Already having a horizontal carousel system onsite they knew it wasn’t going to be flexible or scalable enough for this challenge, so they knew it wasn’t a viable option to fix their problem. They also knew that they didn’t want to spread their product over multiple locations which would lead to additional logistics and management challenges. Finally, they didn’t want to take on the additional cost of adding a pick module as it would lead to more WMS costs as well automation and conveyance challenges.
Overton’s decided to install SpeedCell into 4 bays during their peak season to test WMS compliance as well as fit and function. Upon completion of this trial they became very confident that it would work in their environment and thus the decision to move ahead was made, so they installed 88 more bays within their 267,000 sq. ft facility. This installation added 219 locations in each bay or 4,380 locations to each aisle for a grand total of over 17,000 additional locations within their current footprint with no additional structural additions.
The implementation of SpeedCell not only increased SKU locations, but it has also reduced footsteps between picks thus increasing their efficiency and decreasing ergonomic concerns. Now their associates no longer have to crawl over boxes on pallets or climb ladders to reach for products. By decreasing seek times they have significantly increased productivity and it has proven itself as a major time savings solution.
By adding 17,000 SKU locations to their current warehouse, Overton’s was able to increase storage capacity by 86% per bay. Increasing the number of SKUs per bay has also paid ergonomic benefits as well. By reducing footsteps per linear foot and by decreasing seek time for products has improved employee engagement and reduced daily fatigue. A net result of this installation has been that Overton’s employees have increased picking and stocking efficiency by 25%.
Overall this project was deemed such a success that budgeting has been approved for additional rows of SpeedCell in 2015. Now not only will apparel be stocked in SpeedCell Bays but there are initiatives under way for footwear as well as high-value items to be stored neatly and efficiently in SpeedCell.
Distributor: Indoff Incorporated
Supplier: SpeedCell Storage Solutions
Narrow Aisles, Big Results
Gaco Western, located in Waukesha, WI, is a manufacturer of spray foam insulation, silicone roof coating systems and a variety of waterproofing coatings for pedestrian and traffic decking. Gaco products cover millions of square feet of commercial, industrial and residential buildings. Over the past five years, business has really been booming for Gaco, as the company has seen 20 to 25-percent growth year-over-year. While that robust growth has been great for the company, it did provide some logistical challenges for the company’s warehousing and storage.
“We had our production facility which included some storage space, plus we had three outside warehouses in the local area,” says Mike Reher, Materials Manager for Gaco Western. “Even with those three outside buildings, we had simply outgrown our storage space. So about a year and a half ago, we purchased property to the south of our production facility and added an 85,000 sq. ft. warehouse to it.”
Even with an additional 85,000 sq. ft. of warehousing space, Reher and Gaco were cognizant of using that space as efficiently as possible. To ensure that they could do that, they called Wisconsin Lift Truck Account Manager Jim Prey to help design and lay out the new area.
Prey looked at Gaco’s new area and also their existing storage and recommended moving the storage from conventional aisles to narrow aisles.
“There was some apprehension in moving from 14 ft. aisles to 8 ft. aisles and from standard forklifts to narrow aisle forklifts,” says Reher. “We had just used standard forklifts and had primarily bulk storage on the floor in our existing facilities with very little racking. We had run into limitations stacking our products and felt that our storage was inefficient without a racking system.”
Prey, who has worked with Gaco for years and is a trusted advisor of the company, laid out the advantages and disadvantages of moving to narrow aisles.
“We have a long relationship with Wisconsin Lift Truck and they have always given us good advice,” says Reher. “They stand behind their product, and they’ve always been there to support our needs. We had an open and frank discussion about the pros and cons of this system that they were proposing. They demonstrated the system and got us to the point where we were very comfortable with the decision we were making. This candid relationship was a big factor in us deciding to make this change.”
With the decision to use Steel King narrow aisle racking and Aisle-Master narrow aisle forklifts made, installation in the 85,000 sq. ft. expansion took about seven months. Installation took place simultaneously with construction, as the racks had to be designed to accommodate the fire suppression system in the warehouse.
With installation complete, representatives from Wisconsin Lift Truck came back in to train Gaco operators on the new Aisle-Master narrow aisle trucks.
“Wisconsin Lift came out and did some training for our people and then we certified the people who would be the primary users of the Aisle-Masters,” says Reher.”Most forklifts use the rear wheels for steering but on the Aisle-Masters, it is the front wheels. That took a little adjustment period but within a week or two people were very comfortable driving the Aisle-Master and being able to pick and place pallets into the Steel King Rack. The adjustment period was much shorter than what we expected.”
He goes on, “I think that now, if people have a choice between grabbing the regular forklift and the Aisle-Master, they are just as comfortable grabbing either one. The equipment has been widely accepted and that has made this a huge success. We’re quite pleased with how this turned out.”
For Prey, the most important thing was that Reher and the rest of the Gaco team be completely comfortable with what was a radical change in their storage. He answered all questions and laid out the advantages and disadvantages of each system. In the end, Reher and Gaco are extremely pleased with the result and their warehouse has gained valuable space for continued growth.
Distributor: Wisconsin Lift Truck
Suppliers: Steel King, Aisle-Master
SJF Saves Halloween
Speed and efficiency are important in every operation. But for Fun.com, where 90-percent of their business is tied to the sale and delivery of Halloween costumes, it is even more paramount. A Halloween costume that is delivered in November does nobody any good, after all.
The Mankato, MN-based e-commerce company had experienced massive year-over-year growth during its life but its picking operations were not evolving to keep up. Couple the growing demand for costumes with the growing demand for labor in the Mankato area and things had hit a boiling point for Fun.
“Their problem was that there is no labor to be had in the area,” says Frank Sterner, VP of SJF Material Handling. “They were hiring over 1,000 people in order to process their Halloween Costumes for about an 8-week period before Halloween.”
That labor force consisted mostly of college students. However, as more and more companies opened operations in Mankato, that formerly cheap source of labor began to dry up.
SJF was brought in to evaluate the effectiveness of the existing warehouse operations, including the product profiling, racking layout, conveyor system and information technology. Together with Fun’s management team, a plan was developed to help streamline the operation and improve operational efficiencies.
Evaluation of collected sales order data enabled the implementation team to identify seasonal and peak demands for high and slow moving SKUs and corresponding labor requirements. Utilizing this information, a plan was put into action that included: replacing the manual order process with order execution software to include RF technology, re-slotting of the product to minimize the walking distance during picking, automated conveyor systems to transport orders to the designated pack stations, and a final sortation system to sort parcels to designated carriers. This implementation resulted in increased labor efficiencies and a first-year labor reduction of nearly 27%.
Tom Fallenstein, President of Fun.com, wanted a solution to achieve the results in the most economical way. As an integrator and supplier of both new and used equipment, SJF went to work and provided offers for both new and a combination of new and used equipment refurbished through SJF. Fun elected to proceed with the used option that offered lower capital cost and better delivery time.
“The number of touches they had for each order was seven before the item would get to the packing stages,” Sterner says. “The new system reduced that number to two.”
SJF recommended going to an RF type picking, as previously fun was using paper picking.
“By re-profiling the product within the pick rack and placement of the conveyor system, more than 90 percent of the picks go right to the conveyor reducing travel distance,” Sterner says. “We moved them to tote picking, before they had used baskets and carts to deliver everything. And we incorporated dual quality control check using the RF gun by scanning the item when it goes in, and an in line weigh check scale system within the conveyor system as opposed to at the packing station where it had been done previously.”
These changes still produced staggering efficiency gains while not straying too far from Fun’s established and comfortable modus operandi.
This year, with the addition of automated bagging technology, SJF partnered with Sharp Packaging to add two auto baggers. With this implementation, Fun expects to increase pack speeds from two parcels to 10 parcels-per-minute on each lane.
“It was about applying good principles to the operation in order to move them into that next stage,” Sterner says. “Taking a company that was very comfortable with themselves and introducing them to automation and new technologies.”
In addition to the massive efficiency challenges SJF was faced with, another issue that came up had to deal with the sorting system that the company had ordered new from a manufacturer, but they failed to deliver.
Since the system design hinged on the ability to sort parcels at the shipping dock, the sorter was a crucial element to the systems success. Unable to find a new vendor, the SJF engineering team was able to redesign an SJF Sweep Sorter to meet Fun’s requirements in time for Fun’s peak season.
Overall, the company was able to handle their busy Halloween rush and still manage to save 25% in operating costs, by reducing labor 27% and increasing efficiency from 2000 labels generated per hour to over 4000.
“They said that because they could not hire the number of people that they would have needed, if it wasn’t for the changes we instituted, they would have never made it through their season. They credited the entire change over to their success for last year’s season.”
Distributor: SJF Material Handling
Machine Guard System Protects Workers and Ensures Safety
Since 1968 Penna Flame Robotics has been in the business of flame hardening steel. As Penna Flame’s operations expanded, so did their need for more aggressive and customized safety considerations.
Initially, machine operators were protected by a standard light curtain configuration, but as additional robotic cells were installed and methods of production efficiency were conceptualized, the need for an increase in quantity and adaptability of automated machine safety devices became apparent. At this time, the experts at Conveyer & Caster became involved in the project. Safety engineers performed thorough fact-finding interviews and walked through the large facility to help determine the most effective way to maintain a high level of production while keeping workers’ safety as a top priority. The professionals at Conveyer & Caster were aware of the need for a durable machine guarding solution that would hold up in the harsh industrial environment, and determined that WireCrafters Machine Guarding System would be the answer.
The project called for WireCrafters standard machine guarding product which utilizes a 5 ft. high panel that begins one foot above the floor. A sliding tunnel door, designed with no overhead track to allow tall objects to pass through the opening unobstructed, was equipped with a Fortress Interlock. The interlock was wired to the Gorbel robot which shuts down the automated equipment when the door is opened. The end result of the installation is an effective blend of light curtain technology and WireCrafters Machine Guards that provided the Penna Flame Robotics Department with the highest level of protection while maintaining their quality production standards.
Distributor: Conveyer & Caster – Equipment for Industry
Supplier: WireCrafters LLC
Persistence, Persistence, Persistence
Rome wasn’t built in a day. If anybody can relate to that famous idiom it’s Sunbelt Industrial Trucks Territory Manager Randell Hiltbrunner. When a local rental company approached Sunbelt looking for forklifts with very specific measurements for their customer’s needs, Hiltbrunner had the perfect solution. However, as everybody who works in sales knows, sometimes even the perfect solution can take time to develop.
The rental company’s biggest client is a custom concrete construction company that builds parking garages. The client needed forklifts to hold the forming systems in place during construction and to transport them between locations. Its current fleet of forklifts was beginning to age and needed to be replaced.
“The challenge was that because of the forms and low clearance in the parking garages, the forklifts had to have a very unique height,” says Sunbelt Vice President of Sales Matt Maddock. “Randell suggested using this one-of-a-kind Nomad forklift that UniCarriers produces. It is the size of a cushion-tired truck but it has pneumatic tires that are more able to withstand the rigors of a construction site.”
Randell had never worked with this company before but when he suggested this solution, the customer was intrigued.
“It came down to persistence,” Hiltbrunner says. “The whole thing took 26 to 28 months. It always takes a bunch of touches to get somebody’s trust. You can have the lowest price but if they don’t like you and trust you, they’re not going to buy. It took a while and a lot of meetings for me to gain their confidence. Over a couple of years they decided they didn’t want to do business with anybody else. We came out of it in good shape and so did they. Everybody won and that’s important.”
One of the challenges that arose was a question of timing. As the company’s rental fleet aged, its customer needed serviceable forklifts that fit their very specific needs. Here too, Sunbelt was able to separate itself from the pack.
“The problem really was the customization of the lift,” Hiltbrunner explains. “On the back end, their client needed equipment right away. We helped them out as best we could keeping that aging equipment going. Our lead-time was about the same as everybody else, but the kicker was we could get the truck ready to roll from the factory instead of having to do aftermarket machinations afterward. Having the trucks come from the factory ready to work made our client comfortable that everything would work together. UniCarriers’ Truck Modification Department was instrumental in getting these trucks built to the custom specification and they hit our dock equipped exactly as our client specified.”
After more than two years of hard work, Sunbelt and UniCarriers delivered 14 of the Nomad units to the company in May to great fanfare.
“They’re very pleased,” Hiltbrunner says. “The new units are a lot quieter and cleaner. The client loves them. Actually they’re thinking about having another order about the same size again later this year. It has been a very good deal for them.”
Though it took a while for the seeds to bear fruit eventually a beautiful partnership blossomed.
Distributor: Sunbelt Industrial Trucks
Supplier: UniCarriers Americas Corporation
Pan American Berry Growers Saves Time and Money
With a rapidly expanding blueberry farm and packing operation in Salem, Oregon, Steve Erickson, CEO of Pan American Berry Growers was researching options to provide additional safety and protection for the facility.
“Previously, we would fabricate our own security bollards in-house,” he says.
Sourcing materials and producing the custom made bollards took staff away from their core duties and used up precious time and expenses.
Enter DACO and Cubic Designs: Steve searched for an alternative solution on DACO’s website and contacted his local DACO Account Manager, Chris Meserve for additional information. Chris reached out to Cubic Designs Safety Products Sales Manager, Dave Bartels for support.
Dave promptly sent out a sample steel safety bollard with detailed product information that Chris reviewed with the client. Steve and his team were so impressed with the high quality and value of the Cubic Designs 43 in. square safety bollards that he placed an order for over 50 units.
The security bollards were shipped and received in less than 10 days and have been installed throughout the plant. Steve is so pleased with the engineering, safety and value of the Cubic Design’s steel safety bollards that he is planning to purchase additional units as his operation continues to grow and expand.
Distributor: DACO Corporation
Supplier: Cubic Designs
A Solution for the BOSS
HUGO BOSS is one of the market leaders in the premium and luxury segment of the global apparel market, focusing on premium fashion and accessories for men and women. Headquartered in Metzingen, Germany, HUGO has almost 13,000 employees and net sales of EUR 2.6 billion in 2014 fiscal year. The fascinating brand world of HUGO BOSS comprises the collections of BOSS, BOSS Orange, BOSS Green and HUGO.
When HUGO BOSS needed more room to store and distribute its merchandise in the Unites States, it built a fully automated distribution center in Savannah, GA and chose W&H Systems as the material handling systems integrator of the project. Efficient distribution is one of the reasons the company chose the location. HUGO BOSS items can set sail from Europe and quickly land in Savannah’s ports, where the company can drive a half-hour to pick up the goods. The close proximity to Atlanta also reduces the transit time for goods.
For over 15 years, HUGO BOSS has chosen W&H Systems to implement all their material handling needs for the 330,000 square foot building, located in Midway Industrial Park. W&H Systems provided consulting, design analysis, Intelligrated conveyors, racks, 10,000 sq. ft. mezzanine level and the Shiraz Warehouse Control System. HUGO BOSS uses a Webb Garment on Hanger (GOH) conveyor that utilizes a power chain to transport trolleys filled with hanging garments over distances, through changing elevations and along complex paths. With rates in excess of 10,000 units per hour, the GOH makes a perfect choice for improving productivity and order accuracy levels for sorting garments.
The Shiraz Warehouse Control System (WCS) from W&H Systems directs operations for returns, shipping and manifesting, labeling, packing, order consolidation, labor and task management, packaging sortation, and order picking. The warehouse control system acts as the brain for any automated distribution center, providing communication between the WMS and all of the material handling equipment and processes needed to complete an efficient distribution system.
HUGO BOSS’s fully automated distribution center in Savannah services 700+ points of sale in the USA, 60,000+ SKUs and has an annual outbound volume of over 9 million units across wholesale, retail, e-commerce, and concession channels. The flat pack goods business comprises 85% of their outbound volume and employs the largest number of associates.
With a seamless transition, W&H Systems executed the HUGO BOSS’s DC plans on time and on budget. The entire project with improved processes and procedures for picking, packing and putaway has reduced labor costs, exceeded productivity goals and sped fulfillment to meet customer service requirements. Order processing time has been reduced by 25% through the use of standardized processes and by leveraging a previously unused picking function.
Distributor: W&H Systems
Function Meets Aesthetics
When Allegheny Performance Plastics needed additional office space and a Quality Assurance area in a controlled environment, they had a very specific vision for the project.
“Not only did they need additional space, but they were looking for something that really popped when customers and vendors walked into their manufacturing facility,” says Cranston Material Handling Senior Account Manager Greg Engelmeyer. “They weren’t going to compromise on aesthetics, rather they wanted a look that would stand out and catch their customer’s eye, as they walked through the plant.”
To make their vision a reality, the plastics manufacturer contacted Starrco, who in turn contacted Cranston, a Starrco distributor.
“We met with the company’s plant manager, Shevey Westbrook, who explained that he envisioned a two-story building with a quality assurance room and for an area that was available in the back,” says Engelmeyer. “He took us to the location which presented a myriad of interesting challenges. There were water lines on the back wall with valving that the company did not want to relocate, so we had to strategically locate an access panel that was removable, even though it was going to be partly obstructed by the interior drop ceiling. There were building columns and a 24-inch diameter HVAC duct overhead with which we had to contend. We also had to include an access stairway from the 2nd floor of the modular building to the storage roof of an adjacent building.”
Besides the building’s existing obstacles, Allegheny had some specific design requirements.
“One of their criteria was that they needed higher than normal ceiling height on the first floor for one of their inspection machines. We were able to provide a 109 in. clear height,” Engelmeyer says. “It was a challenge given the plant’s low ceiling height, but we were able to provide a two-story building that meet the customer’s requirements.”
Engelmeyer continues, “We had a lot of hours of proposal and project planning time. In the end, the customer was very satisfied with the workmanship and attention to detail of the Cranston team. The final product was not only functional but aesthetically pleasing.”
Cranston President, David Cranston Jr., added, “I think the whole driving force from the customer’s mindset was that he wanted a building that at the end of the day was going to look very professional. They were trying to convey an image of high quality and professionalism.”
To do this, they chose aluminum facing on the wall panels giving off a nice sheen and added a ductless HVAC system minimizing air conditioning noise inside the room. They also specified windows across the entire length of both floors. These features create a positive work environment for their employees while at the same time making it a real showpiece.
Though it was a tight fit, by using every inch, Cranston was able to install a building 44 ft. long x 13 ft. wide. The bottom floor is devoted entirely to the new quality assurance area, while the second floor is divided between a common area and a manager’s office. In addition, Cranston was able to hide the storage area access stairs in their own vestibule on the back side of the building.
Though Allegheny was a new customer for Cranston, they were so impressed that they have already given Cranston additional work. The company’s unwillingness to sacrifice form for function resulted in a building that not only meets their needs, but one that provides an impressive look as you walk through the process equipment on their manufacturing floor.
Distributor: Cranston Material Handling
Doing Business Across the Pond
As they saying goes, there is no substitute for quality. When J Barnsley Cranes, LTD needed drum trucks to use in their warehouse building explosion-proof cranes and hoists, they took to the Internet to find the top-of-the-line stainless steel products. Their search brought them to Carolina Material Handling’s Robby Reighley’s website featuring Morse Manufacturing’s stainless steel drum trucks.
The difference between this search and a typical search is that J Barnsley Cranes is located in West Midlands, United Kingdom, while Carolina Material Handling is all the way across the Atlantic in Greensboro, NC.
“This company reached out to us through our website and they were looking for a quantity of 10 of these stainless steel drum trucks,” says Reighley. “Due to the six hour time difference, communication was difficult at times but they knew exactly what they wanted and within a week or two we had set up a purchase for 10 160 Stainless Steel Morse Drum Trucks.”
With an international client, shipping presented a bit of a logistical challenge for Carolina and Morse.
“We presented them with three options,” Reighley says. “We offered standard Ocean Freight, which meant shipping the trucks to a port in the UK and having the customer pick them up, Air Freight and then Ocean Freight with door-to-door delivery, where we would ship the trucks to the port and then work out the logistics of getting the trucks from the port to the warehouse. Ultimately they decided to go with the door-to-door delivery.”
For J Barnsley, the cost associated with International freight was well worth it to get the Morse Stainless Steel drums.
“I wasn’t surprised at all,” Reighley says. “Morse makes an incredible product that they stand behind. Their service is exceptional. I’m not surprised at all that there is a company in the UK that is reaching out for a Morse stainless steel made drum truck.”
And for Morse Manufacturing’s Phil Mulpagano, this project represented a milestone of a different kind.
“I think what makes this a great story is how, through internet advertising, we are able to sell Morse ‘Made in the USA’ products all over the world.”
Not only has the Internet made the World much smaller, it also opened doors for companies like J Barnsley to search outside their area or even their country for the best products available.
Dealer: Carolina Material Handling
Supplier: Morse Manufacturing
Police Department Adds Vital Space for Busy Radio Shop
In the City of Milwaukee, the Police Department Radio Shop focuses completely on maintaining the central radio communication needs of the city’s response vehicles.
The vehicles include all police, fire, rescue, water, and all department-wide trucks and vehicles.
The Police Department Radio Shop provides vital services – all behind the scenes. This ensures that the officers and emergency response teams on the street and at headquarters can communicate immediately, clearly, and with zero errors in their communication system.
Maintaining the city’s fleet of 80 vehicles is a real commitment. The Radio Shop employs eleven full-time and two part-time staff members to keep the communication department functioning at its best at all times.
David Go, the Electronic Technician Foreman, has been with the city for more than ten years, five of them as a foreman.
“Space is at a premium,” explains David. “We need to manage a lot of inventory to be able to equip our vehicles with the best communication equipment available.”
Before the addition of the Wildeck® mezzanine, space was at a premium and boxes of communication parts were stacked on pallets up to eight feet high. Now, as new radio parts are received, it is much easier to identify older material and rotate the inventory.
The existing facility is not a spacious building, but the team at the Radio Shop worked to make it effective so they can quickly turn around the vehicles.
A now-retired member of the team looked into several solutions, knowing that increasing the building size or relocating were not viable options. He determined that a mezzanine would be the best solution for the available space. Stoffel Equipment and Wildeck were contacted to create plans to incorporate a Wildeck® Mezzanine at the Radio Shop.
Stoffel Equipment is a trusted partner of Wildeck with the practical capabilities and know-how to utilize space in the most efficient manner possible.
When it comes to continuous improvement, Stoffel works with their customers to understand that efficient materials handling is the key to the success of their operations.
After careful design review, the Wildeck® Mezzanine specification was approved, released, and Stoffel was awarded the project.
“Working with Stoffel and Wildeck was great,” David explains. “We are very busy, and the project went smoothly and was finished ahead of schedule.”
By adding a Wildeck® Mezzanine, the overhead space is now fully utilized and the Police Department Radio Shop has gained valuable working, storage and repair space at a much lower cost than new construction.
To incorporate the mezzanine into the available space, Stoffel and Wildeck had to design and install the mezzanine around access doors to the office, a janitorial storage area, and waiting rooms; as well as lighting fixtures and electrical conduit.
“The installation went fast,” continues David. “Both Stoffel and Wildeck worked within the parameters of our overhead doors and access doors. We added under deck lighting and the project couldn’t have gone any smoother.”
David and his team are utilizing the newly created space with no problems. It allows them to work faster, locate parts quickly, and reduce the interruption to their working floor area.
As with any addition to a workshop, planned improvements must consider future needs.
Currently, the team at the Radio Shop does not utilize a fork truck, but the mezzanine has been designed for it by including a Wildeck® Bi-Parting Swing Gate. This will allow the mezzanine space to stay current should the operation of the shop floor change.
“This is the best utilization of the space,” says David. “We are extremely busy and store mobile radios, parts, portable chargers and installation equipment. We need to be able to organize and locate the necessary communications equipment for all of the variety of municipal vehicles that we update here.”
The mezzanine has helped improve workflow and productivity by providing Radio Shop employees with the room they need to efficiently perform their essential services.
Distributor: Stoffel Equipment Company
Supplier: Wildeck, Inc.