Fixed shelves spaced 10 to 15 inches apart contain a considerable amount of air. In fact, shelving 18 inches deep and 84 inches tall usually offers no more than 50% of its capacity, and sometimes as low as 30%. Three to five sections of shelving (about 9-15 linear feet) can usually be condensed down to a single cabinet measuring about 28 by 28 inches. Using the complete cubic storage capacity of each drawer allows the parts department to store the correct parts in the correct drawers.
Lista began by conducting an inventory of all the manufacturing lines and parts that Ahearn carries to identify how many drawers would be needed for the inventory carried, the best drawer sizes, and other storage needed for Ahearn’s particular inventory.
Based on the inventory, Ahearn installed 14 cabinets (including two counter units), each 5 feet tall. Each of the cabinets has a variety of drawer heights. “This type of storage unit best suited us because we deal with a lot of different-size parts, the majority of which are smaller than a basketball,” shares Ahearn.
Gains in space and efficiency
With multiple vendors and multiple part number codes, Ahearn needed a system that would enable them to place all the parts in the drawers using a consistent numbering system, so they could find parts more easily.
Ahearn also took advantage of Lista’s drawer divider design to remove parts from their packaging and place the parts in drawers in a way that they can be easily found. “It’s manageable and aesthetically pleasing,” he explains. “The dividers make everything uniform. When we open a drawer, it is impressive to see 40 parts in divided compartments, and all labeled. Being able to remove parts from plastic bags offers a slight space savings and gives a real uniformity in parts storage.”
The parts department has reduced its footprint by 50%. Plus the location of parts in drawer cabinets keeps the parts looking new and dust-free. It also enabled Ahearn to organize multiple manufacturers with similar parts together for easy cross referencing. When customers come in looking for parts, the parts clerk can open up the drawer that has all of that particular part from a variety of manufacturers stored together. They can select the correct one without having to rely on what can be a time-consuming parts lookup function.
Purchasing a high-density drawer storage system is a significant investment. As a result of the efficiencies achieved by the new cabinet storage system, Ahearn now plans on staffing one less person in its parts department, making the return on investment only about six months.
Article contributed by Lista International. For more information, visit listaintl.com.