Tag Archive for: design solutions

Engineering Consulting Services Project Spotlight

A longtime client in the manufacturing industry approached us after acquiring a new facility in the Midwest, where they were hoping to relieve storage and distribution stress on other manufacturing sites after developing a new product line. They were unsure of what they needed for storage methods for this new line and looked to us to provide expertise in the area. So, we proposed evaluating their data associated with the new product and working to determine their storage needs.

After learning about their unique needs and goals for this new line, our sales and project management teams collaborated with our Solutions Engineering group to investigate any potential options beyond traditional storage methods that could help them not only optimize their storage but dramatically improve their operations as well. The customer had the goal of storing as much product in the building as possible, and we knew the best way to help them do so was by creating a roadmap through a phased-in data-centric approach.

While they did not have all the data needed for a complete analysis, we used our operational experience and industry knowledge in engineering solutions to fill in the gaps. We took that data, classified their SKUs, and assigned growth factors to each to understand their short-and-long-term storage needs as they grew.

In developing this roadmap, our Solutions Engineering and National Accounts teams enlisted multiple partners to provide different options available with a mix of storage and dynamic solutions, with a plan for a return on these capital expenditures attached. For this project, the breakdown contained options including single selective rack, dense storage options, pallet shuttles, and automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) solutions. We also provided quotes on installation time, labor costs, and alternate layouts that could affect how those labor costs would grow with additional throughput.

After sitting down with this client and learning their unique challenges, we decided on an option that fell somewhere between the least expensive and most costly. Our client wanted a long-term solution that fits their business model and didn’t require the construction of a new warehouse sooner than necessary. By factoring in their needs and intimately knowing the challenges of constructing a new warehouse, we helped them reach the best decision for their business.

For the ultimate solution, we looked at the labor costs that came with manual picking and measured that against the capital expenditure of developing a 110-pallet-deep pallet shuttle storage system, which may be the longest in North America to store over 46,000 pallets. The solution also contained nearly 6,400 pallet positions for very narrow aisle (VNA) racking, and floor stacking for over 5,000 pallets.

In evaluating the 110 deep pallet shuttle lanes, Storage Solutions’ engineering team calculated the labor savings of the long lanes vs shorter lanes that would be rotated 90 degrees. The engineering team determined that the long lanes would reduce forklift travel by 500 feet per pallet. That design and engineering solution ultimately increased storage capacity and minimized the additional labor required as throughput forecasts increased. This approach led to a labor savings of $625,000 per year, reducing the client’s time to receive a total return on their investment. Best yet, we were able to model reaching that ROI in under three years, despite not choosing the least expensive option.

We use this real-life situation to highlight that we act as a true partner to those we work with, meaning we are sitting there with you, not “across the table” from you. Instead of telling you what to do, we develop transparent, strategic options, and we ensure that our clients fully understand each option.

Because of the operations experience on our engineering team, we understand how the solutions that were chosen to operate in real-world settings, not just in a theoretical environment or because of rigid partnerships. Plus, as a partner, we can provide long-term project management support as installation occurs to ensure the right result is delivered on time and on budget.

Scope of work included:

  • Engineering Consulting
  • Installation
  • Project Management
  • 4,500+ Bays of Racking
  • 165,000+ Pallet Positions

Want to learn more about past projects we have completed? Check out other case studies from a variety of project types across several industries.

Let us know if Storage Solutions can help you with your next project.

Warehouse Design Consultant

At Storage Solutions, we consider ourselves way more than a traditional warehouse design consultant; we pride ourselves on learning about the challenges you see, then providing solutions that make a real difference to your bottom line.

For the most part, warehouse design firms recommend changes that theoretically will work in your facility because those changes are likely based on suggestions that worked in another facility. However, we understand the difference between theoretical versus practical changes. Practical solutions should result from in-depth discussions and data, not a cookie-cutter approach.

Plus, we take an agnostic approach to which solution partners we work with on each project. We are not picking a particular solution because we need to hit a quota. Our goal is to allow you to grow your business and ease some operational pains along the way.

In contrast with a warehouse design consultant, our team has authentic operational experience in actual warehouse environments. We have not been living behind the computer, so to speak. We’ve solved various challenges across manufacturing, e-commerce, food-and-beverage, third-party logistics (3PL), distribution, and more industries. Our team has been in the field and understands the operational side of things. And we offer the flexibility that comes with having our project management teams on our planning discussions, so we are all on the same page in delivering on a specific goal.

Furthermore, as a project partner, Storage Solutions delivers on implementation and installation, complete with project management support that comes with project execution. When a warehouse design consultant hands a project off to an installer, things can get lost in the shuffle. Design intent can be missed. After all, the installers may just be looking at what is black-and-white on paper and may miss genuinely relevant information about “why” something was designed a particular way. So, instead of starting the conversation over again, we can have clear communication with the manufacturers and installers to guide a project through implementation.

When design intent is missed, and the practicality of a solution is secondary to a solution’s availability, problems occur after implementation. Design failures are often not noticed until after turning on the system, causing further change orders or requiring more labor to make up for the design impracticalities. Either way, you are adding costs to your project. Execution can be the trickiest part of implementing a solution, and through our simple, smart, strategic approach, we make that transition easy for our customers.

If you are looking into a warehouse design consultant for a new facility or to retrofit your current configuration, give us a call first. With a quick, 30-minute call, we can begin the conversation to uncover challenges and do some quick “napkin math” on establishing a ballpark return-on-investment (ROI) you can see from solutions offered by a true project partner.

Many warehouses and fulfillment centers are seeing similar challenges. Labor costs are rising. Fulfilling orders to meet delivery expectations is becoming more complex. The need to store more products in less space is a reality.

We offer an expansive portfolio of solutions that can solve the challenges that are unique to your operation. We have practical experience in implementing all these solutions. We want to provide solutions that work for you – both theoretically on paper and operationally for the long haul. Let’s get started today!

essential solutions storage needs

As the COVID-19 crisis continues its lifecycle, businesses deemed non-essential are closing down across the country. Because our company serves many necessary logistics, construction, and supply chain industries, Storage Solutions is continuing to operate unless circumstances change. We were early to establish a COVID-19 Task Force and shift to a remote workplace, wherever applicable.

We also know that we are not alone in our essential role in our economy. Companies in the material handling industry are working safely to ensure deadlines are being met, and progress continues as well as it can, given the circumstances. We are seeing many businesses responding to a change in demand. Now more than ever, companies are seeing the need for flexible, dynamic operations and are adjusting how they work to meet those challenges head-on.

Our experts are always ready to learn about how the challenges are causing pain in operations. As our company is continuing to evolve, we have the expertise in providing essential solutions and so much more.

Let us know what we can do to help. Below are a few ways we are supporting companies who are running to the best of their ability to meet changing patterns in demand at a rate they may never have before.

We Are Buying and Selling Used Warehouse Equipment

We are here to help make sure your business and storage space has what it needs to operate as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Sometimes that means having an affordable solution. We hunt for the best-used equipment and thoroughly inspect every piece to ensure it’s 100% safe and ready to use.

If you are getting rid of your equipment, reconfiguring your warehouse to meet new demands, or relocating your operations, we are also here to help you solve the issues that naturally arise. Whether it’s tools, lighting, logistics, or anything else the job requires, Storage Solutions’ experience and integrated services approach creates truly effortless teardowns that don’t need your constant attention.

Plan Projects with Turnkey Solutions

Because we take an integrated supply and service approach, we can manage projects of any scale to meet your timeline and budget. Need to get permits signed off? We can do that. Need an installation schedule developed? That’s our bread and butter. Need to handle logistics? Why rely on another vendor when we can do that in-house. Our Project Managers assume the unexpected and work with you closely to give you a single point of contact and peace of mind with better command and more control.

Determining the Right Course with Design and Dynamic Solutions

We know that the best solutions start with the best designs (link to blog), and we are ready and capable to get started in providing Design Solutions to develop the optimal storage layout and pick process custom developed for your operation. We can address issues like SKU proliferation, the impact of e-commerce, anticipated changes in demand, and factor in costs associated with labor. We want to give you a flexible and scalable solution based on data and expertise.

We can also talk about how adding dynamic solutions like automation to your operation no make it more technology-driven, no matter what level of automation currently exists (if at all). Many companies are looking for creative ways to stay competitive in an ever-changing economy, and one of the most cost-effective forms of changing the way your warehouse works is to introduce these solutions.

Let’s Talk About Essential Solutions!

Whatever your needs may be during this time, we are here for you. We are interested in learning about the challenges you may face. Whether those challenges arose before, during, or after the crisis, we are ready. Give us a call at 800-474-2001, and our experts would love to connect.

We are here to serve you with the essential solutions that are necessary to keep your business optimally running. And, we are here to do so in the highest degree.


There are few industries that are not affected by SKU proliferation. Within industries ranging from consumer goods to life science, there are a number of supply chain complexities that come with an increase in SKUs. Typically, SKU proliferation results after a company acquisition or a new product launch. Alternatively, SKU proliferation may occur as a result of adding new varieties of current offerings or changes in seasonal demand.

SKU proliferation can cause headaches for warehouse managers who now need to anticipate new order frequencies and volumes. To combat SKU proliferation, should you completely reorganize your warehouse? Should you make minor adjustments and re-evaluate later? Where and when should you begin?

You Always Start From the Start.

The best way to battle SKU proliferation – and the inefficiencies caused by not optimizing your setup – is to start with the right design solution. The right design solution will match your storage capacity with your inventory profile, taking into account the dynamics of the optimal pick process.

By beginning with a Facility and Storage Assessment, you set yourself up for success by engineering a game plan before any action takes place. Also, we take into account other variables that can affect the optimal performance of a warehouse. Typically, we talk to clients about trends they see with smaller shipping packages, changes in service expectations, and other external factors that can reshape a distribution network. 

What Else Should You Factor In?

Also, this is a great time to introduce Smart Slotting to our clients. Smart Slotting uses factors such as labor costs, space costs, replenishment costs, and equipment costs to provide you with the most efficient inventory slotting plan. All operational costs are taken into account to define the lowest possible throughput cost per item for your facility. This

We have found that examining all variables at this stage leads to a more efficient warehouse. Ultimately, the right answer comes from taking a step back and taking a look at “the forest, not the trees.” At this point, warehouse managers need to ask themselves: Is now the right time to introduce automation? Do you need to increase dense storage? Are you running out of shelving space?

Ask the Experts.

Storage Solutions experts are here to answer these questions. We have the knowledge and experience to tailor the right solution to suit your needs. Especially if your warehouse does not have an industrial engineer on staff (and not many do), the correct answer may not occur naturally. However, the right answer will likely come from an expert who knows the ins and outs of facility redesign. It comes from making changes based on where demand from your customers is shifting. 

More often than not, we hear clients say, “I am running out of storage space.” Our answer is typically, “Are you? How well are you using the space you have?” 

The answer is not always rocket science. However, the right solution usually is simple, smart, and strategic. That is what we are here to do: Connect you with that solution. Contact us today to get started! 

Fetch Robotics Smart Slotting

One of the hidden costs of warehouse operations is inefficiency. Because there is no line-item on the operating statement associated with suboptimal performance, the costs associated with unnecessary wear-and-tear, unneeded turnover, and the growing gap between what you are doing and your competitors’ performance. Sometimes, these inefficient processes go untended for too long.

What is the value of your warehouse efficiency? What is it worth to improve your storage utilization by more than 70%? How much longer is your business going to wait for data to drive your processes?

Warehouse picking is about balancing what has to be done manually with areas where automation can be cost-justified.

At the end of the day, warehouse optimization is all about balancing workloads within picking zones. Every bottleneck or delay in picking causes the next action to be delayed. When you take into account the number of picks per day, week, and month, the total can begin to add up in the wrong way. Especially for operators who lack good balance throughout their picking areas.

Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) provide a great flexible and scalable solution to automate picking. However, one big challenge of all AMR solutions is the need to balance workload throughout all pick zones. The easiest and most cost-effective way to address this balance is with a good slotting plan.

By combining Fetch Robotics’ On-Demand Automation services solutions and Storage Solutions’ Smart Slotting, warehouses can experience unmatched efficiency in their picking processes.

How Does It Work?

To begin, Storage Solutions will evaluate your current process and layout. Using our special slotting tool, Storage Solutions establishes a “heat map” of your most popular SKUs. From there, we evaluate costs associated with space, replenishment, and equipment to provide you with the most productive solution possible. It is all based on data — not guessing or assuming.

In short, we use the information to configure the SKUs you pick the most to be as efficient as possible. And, we spread them evenly throughout all pick zones to avoid bottlenecks and maximize productivity.

From there, once the proper inventory slotting plan has been established, we work with our Fetch Robotics team to ensure the optimal workflow is put into place.

Finding the right balance

Fetch Robotics is an industry leader in On-Demand Automation. As a Fetch Certified Solutions provider, we offer dynamic, flexible solutions to make the most out of every square foot. Autonomous mobile robots are designed to be deployed into any facility, as is – without adding physical infrastructure or installing IT systems, built to any scale with flexibility to change on the fly.

We work with your footprint to get the most products out of your door in the most cost-effective way. Also, we design with flexibility to adapt to ever-changing business needs and scalability for your company to grow.

Less wear and tear

With Smart Slotting, you can make the best use of some of your biggest capital investments: your material handling equipment. Many other slotting systems only take into account the total distance traveled in the picking process. Smart Slotting assigns dollars to your data, measuring labor, materials, equipment, storage mediums, and more. Then, we define and implement the lowest-cost operating plan for your facility.

Let’s say your environment changes, given new demand or a new set of orders. We can reoptimize the inventory slotting plan at any time. We would only need a new data set.

Lower labor costs per pick

By placing the most-selected items in the easiest-to-access areas of your warehouse, you physically move less. Imagine the savings in labor costs and efforts by doing the most repeated tasks more efficiently, every time. We also have the ability to factor in seasonal spikes to account for times in which you may be moving more products.

Want to learn more about how Smart Slotting works? Read our latest case study and success story here.

While You Wait

While you continue operating with inefficiencies, the world is changing. The “Amazon Effect” is real. The highest-performing warehouses are constantly re-evaluating and optimizing.
While you are addressing your warehouse’s labor shortages, your competitors are reducing their turnaround times and adjusting to a new demand model.

By combining Smart Slotting with a Fetch Robotics solution, you are setting your warehouse up for success both in the short-term and long-term. You are using data, technology, and automation to achieve maximum efficiency as soon as possible, all while factoring in future growth potential.

The decision does not have to be made today. However, the process can start at any time. Click here, hit the chat button below, or call us at 317-449-8740 and one of our experts can get begin to determine your workflow needs.

Project Spotlight Smart Slotting

You may have heard us mention our new Smart Slotting tool recently. In this project, the customer came to us looking for an answer to their low storage utilization percentage of 20% across the entire facility. With Smart Slotting, we were able to provide a practical answer to this problem, while also increasing productivity and efficiency.

By collecting some preliminary data, our experienced team uses Smart Slotting to provide a layout that best suits your needs. This new layout provides you lower operating cost, while also increasing the daily throughput of your facility.

In this example, the customer saw over a 12% decrease in their daily labor costs. They were able to find a location for all of their SKUs, and raise their storage utilization numbers over 70%. In addition, they were able to cut their storage mediums in half after the Smart Slotting evaluation. The new location types and sizes designed for stored items is much more efficient and simple.

This project had a significant impact on the customer’s operation by improving space utilization, reducing labor costs, and increasing throughput to lower operating costs. The new storage configuration also set the customer up with space for product growth for a minimum of five years.

Interested in learning more about the methodology and analysis behind this project? View the full case study here and contact us today to see how we can assist with your operational needs.

Pallet Rack Pushback Dense Solutions

Want to learn more about the pallet racks that we store in our 330,000-square-foot warehouse in Westfield, IN? Keep reading to learn about our products and what our team can do for you!

What is Pallet Racking?

There are four main components of pallet racks. Those components are uprights, beams, pallet supports or wire decking, and row spacers. These are always kept in stock at Storage Solutions. Moreover, they can be used with different pallet rack designs.

There are also four different types of pallet rack construction/connection types. The most common type is a roll-formed pallet rack, which is typically manufactured in the “teardrop” style and has a rivet connection where the beams connect to the upright. Another type is a structural pallet rack, which is made of thicker steel c-channels and the beams are always bolted to the upright.

Pallet Rack Types and Designs

Pallet RacksHere at Storage Solutions, we stock different pallet rack types and designs. These different pallet racks can serve many purposes throughout your warehouse.

Some of the rack types include selective pallet racks. This is the most common pallet rack used, it has low density but high selectivity(accessibility to each item). In addition, we also stock the double-deep pallet rack, which is constructed back-to-back to allow for higher storage density, utilizing fewer forklift aisles. Another design is a push-back pallet rack, which uses gravity flow and inclined rails to make the placement and retrieval of pallets easy.

Drive-in/drive-thru pallet rack has a high density and low selectivity which allows for fewer forklift aisles. Forklifts can drive directly into the rack to drop off and pick up pallets. In addition, we also stock pallet flow racks. This design, which is driven by gravity, is equipped with wheels on sloped rails. This unique design allows the pallets to flow forward from the entry side of the rack to the opposite side of the rack for picking. The cantilever rack utilizes cantilevered arms to store long and narrow items.

In addition, if you want to see some images of our pallet rack types, you can view our visual glossary.

If you are interested in learning more about our pallet racks give us a call at 866.474.2001 or contact us here.

Smart Slotting

Here at Storage Solutions, we recognize that the demands of your customers are constantly changing. With that, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to help you make sure your operation is running at optimal efficiency. That is why we are excited to announce the addition of our newest service offering, Smart Slotting. Smart Slotting is a warehouse slotting optimization tool powered by Slot 3D.

Smart Slotting Capabilities

Our slotting solution is fully integrated with AutoCAD®, the world’s leading design software program. With Smart Slotting we will help take the guesswork out of your facility layout. The software uses several factors when determining the best solution possible for your operation. These factors include things such as space costs, replenishment costs and equipment costs. By simply pulling together and inputting the necessary details, Smart Slotting can then run the numbers, analyze the data and help us define the lowest cost operation plan for your facility.

Concerned about seasonal spikes or future growth? Not a problem! Smart Slotting allows us to factor this in and more to make sure you design a facility to fit all your ongoing needs.

Learn more about the benefits of Smart Slotting here, or contact one of our slotting experts today at 866.474.2001.