Tag Archive for: Design

Consumer Packaged Goods

Consumer packaged goods companies represent one of the largest sectors of the supply chain industry. With well-recognized brands like Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Proctor & Gamble, consumers typically encounter CPG products on a near-daily basis, making their journey along the supply chain a critical area of focus for retailers and wholesalers alike.

According to recent research from Infiniti Research, the CPG industry is reacting to “rising raw material costs, stalled demand, declining profits, skyrocketing retail pricing pressures, and the never-ending shift in consumer preferences.” While these challenges have been present in the industry for some time, the degree to which they affect these companies has rarely been so apparent.

As a result of the e-commerce boom coupled with the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer behavior shifted in a way that sawto drive an increase of online orders and less dependency on the traditional manufacturer-wholesale distributor-retail supply chain path. In short, suddenly consumers were expecting a bottle of shampoo to be delivered to their home instead of the consumer going into a retail store to purchase it.

In particular, the dynamic shift of consumer preferences is causing driving CPG storage and fulfillment centers to look at the design and layout of their facilities and examine if changes need to occur. After all, if a facility was designed and built for a specific routine of consumer behavior, then and that behavior changes, then it would only be logical that the facility isn’t operating as efficiently as it should could be.

Most CPG facilities are designed to house some level of dense storage. And, if they are laid out well, they will use a combination of drive-in/drive-thru racking along with pallet runners or pallet flow for their fast-moving items, while slower-moving items are stored on double-deep or other selective racking. CPG facilities are likely to use first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory management methods. In some cases, they will need to account for first-expired, first-out (FEFO) inventory to account for customers who may need a product a certain number of days before expiration.

Storage and fulfillment centers in the CPG industry utilize many of the same storage types and fulfillment processes as those in the food and beverage industry. However, CPG facilities are typically operated directly by manufacturers and not necessarily distributors. This relationship will generally indicate the facility stores fewer SKUs and has higher on-hand storage requirements than your average food and beverage storage facility.

In general, CPG companies are just like “everyone else” when it comes to accounting for a higher degree of SKU proliferation. Ultimately, most companies will have some level of discord between the forecasts that a marketing or sales department may have for a particular product and the actual demand for that product, which can cause a ripple effect in the storage and fulfillment process.

For example, a company comes out with a new scent of shampoo, one that the marketing department forecasts as having a high level of demand. However, no one is buying the product. Now, the CPG company has extra inventory, and they have lost a portion of their storage capacity – designed for fast-moving products – to a slow-moving product. While there will always be some disconnect between forecasts and sales, the discrepancy is felt to a higher degree when you factor in SKU proliferation.

How can you ultimately solve for SKU proliferation before it exists? Design for flexibility. One way to design for flexibility is to have different storage locations from a size and capacity standpoint.

Another way to facilitate flexibility is to implement warehouse technology solutions. By having a modern warehouse management system or warehouse execution system, you can easily identify where you have under-utilized storage locations or honeycombing. For example, if your facility has a 20-deep pallet location that only has had three pallets in it for the past few weeks, you should know about it. Using technology can keep your operations as optimized as possible while dealing with all the other curveballs that arise with manufacturers.

Where to Get Started? 

The best strategies for configuring a CPG fulfillment center always start with the right design. There will be instances when a facility will have to reconfigure its operations or layout to meet new challenges. But, if you’re utilizing a 5-deep, 5-high storage system housing 12 different SKUs, you’re not making use of your 25 storage locations already in place.

At that point, that’s when you give us a call. We have decades of experience in designing flexible, long-term solutions to meet changing business needs. Rather than continually operating in an inefficient environment, we work with you to build a business case with an ROI attached, to design a new facility, or retrofit your current configuration. Let’s explore your options today!

Redesign and Relocating Conveyor

A retailing giant and longtime client recently came to Storage Solutions with a need to expand its retail distribution footprint for one of its brands. The company was tasked with adding 25 regional stores to its network of customers. At the time, its distribution center could fulfill orders for 60 stores, so the company needed to increase its fulfillment capacity for the expansion and expected additional business growth.

Our engineering team met with them to analyze at their SKU profile, facility layout, and all available data to develop the best path forward to achieve their business goals. We determined the best solution was a two-phase approach that addressed their material flow, storage systems, and palletizing operations.

Phase 1 – Redesign Current Conveyor System, Installing MDR, Gravity Conveyor

The first phase of our work consisted of modifying their existing conveyor ‘sorter loop’ to create more space for palletizing operations. SSI was able to redesign the current conveyor system to accommodate multiple palletizing lines for the customer’s different stores. This reconfiguration was accomplished by rearranging the existing conveyor while adding 50′ of new Daifuku Wynright MDR (motorized driven roller) and five gravity lanes of 40′ each. With five new down-feed lanes, they can now palletize products to send to their 85 stores across the United States.

Project Spotlight ConveyorPhase 2 – Improving Workflow with New Conveyor, “Horseshoe” Design

The project’s second phase involved installing a new conveyor to match the previous outbound system. With this configuration, workstation tables were lined up against the conveyor frames, with boxes for each store being picked by workers. Then, the boxes were pushed onto the conveyor lines once the box was full of product. In addition, SSI relocated and installed a belted incline/decline conveyor from the previous setup. We added nearly 200 linear feet of Daifuku Wynright Photo-Eye Live Roller conveyor and more MDR to complete a “horseshoe” design loop system to help the client increase its fulfillment capacity to match their overall growth projections.

Project Spotlight conveyor 2We are pleased to report that system testing and acceptance were recently conducted and completed at the Cheyenne, WY fulfillment center, and operational and beneficial use began at the facility shortly thereafter.

This project was another example of creating a unique, data-driven solution that accounts for our client’s current-day needs while factoring in planned growth. With our CARES approach to design and implementation, we developed a targeted solution to maximize ROI with minimal downtime.

Suppose you are challenged by increasing expectations on your ability to fulfill a greater share of e-commerce orders without increasing your footprint. In that case, we have the team to collect and analyze your data, make specific recommendations, execute the solution, and provide ongoing support even after the project’s completion.

Click here and let us know the challenges you face and let us help you develop the best solution for your needs!

Storage Solutions completed a project for a longtime client for their 400,000 square foot facility in New Hampshire. The client was condensing their operations to free up warehouse space and required a creative solution to completely reverse the flow of their outbound conveyor system and re-locate their shipping sortation race-track conveyor.

Warehouse Conveyor Manchester NH 1

However, the challenge with this project was the integration of the new conveyor with their existing conveyor system. The design had to factor in their need to have the conveyor interact with their existing pick modules. There was also a time crunch associated with the project, so proper planning and design were integral at the early stages to ensure the project would be completed on time and within budget.

Additionally, at the time, lead times for new conveyors were estimated at 20 weeks, while the client only had an 8-week window to complete the project. So, our engineers got to work while our account representatives and project managers began procuring the proper equipment.

Because of our vast network of partners, we could find a portion of what we needed from new product sources while using some of the client’s existing conveyors. We also found mechanical and electrical installers who were up for the challenge and had a strong base of product knowledge and experience.

We integrated the new conveyor material with their existing system, used TGW’s motor-driven roller (MDR) conveyor to create a 180-degree curve, and Russell Conveyors for spurs, curves, and merges. We were able to utilize a conveyor loop design – similar to a horseshoe – to maximize the use of space. Our engineers and product managers made site visits to ensure everything was on schedule and provided guidance on reprogramming all of the different components to make everything run together properly.

Ultimately, we were able to take a complicated problem like designing and reversing a conveyor system within a smaller footprint – when new conveyor lead times were around 20 weeks – and complete the project with minimal downtime in 8 weeks to the day. This success is just one reason why our clients continue to be repeat customers and it shows that delivering creative solutions can be accomplished because of our internal teamwork and diverse set of expertise.

Our scope of work included:

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.


The idea of climbing a mountain alone sounds daunting: Do you have the right supplies? Do you have enough endurance? What happens when the weather changes?

While managing a warehouse transition may not be as personally perilous as climbing a mountain, there are similarities in both requiring ample planning, preparation, and the ability to adapt as conditions change. They also have another thing in common: they become a heck of a lot easier if you have someone with experience there to guide you.

As part of our Turnkey Solutions, we offer our clients peace of mind by providing oversight for each component of a project. Our team of Project Managers and Project Coordinators consider project management, safety checkpoints, installation progress, permitting, and logistics with every partner across the country. We are in constant communication to ensure your entire project is delivered with the flexibility to change as things may change along the way.

Engineering a Solution with a Single Point of Contact

Our project managers’ relationship with your project begins before you even meet them. They are the team members who are running estimations on parts and equipment, finding the best solutions required to install each stage of the project. They are also working with our designers on preliminary engineering and design. In our world, engineering and design go hand-in-hand. Why not have a single person who knows the ins and outs of both?

Time and again, we hear from our clients how vital our turnkey solutions are to the success of a project. These project managers give our clients more command and control over projects because we know the status of all projects at any given time. Projects are delivered on time because our team has overseen hundreds of buildouts and understand how to anticipate the unexpected. Projects are delivered on budget because we are proactively managing potential hurdles along the way before they turn into costly change orders.

We know that coordinating vendors at your site is a challenging piece of the construction puzzle, but it is one piece that we know gets solved with anticipation, organization, and active communication with all stakeholders.

Navigating the Permitting Maze

Once a proposal becomes a project, our team has already begun creating a permit package, which acts as a roadmap of all the boxes that need to be checked along your project’s lifecycle. There we identify all the requirements, including fire codes, storage permits, structural permits, documents required for the Department of Homeland Security, and so much more.

Depending on the region, navigating the permitting portion of a project could be its own fulltime job. However, because we have worked with a wide variety of municipalities across the nation, our team learns, grows, and shares information on best practices on each project. For example, we understand how important each detail is in drawing submissions, which helps to eliminate unnecessary laps between the regulator and us. Because we spend so much time at the front of the process getting those details correct, the rest of the project can run as smoothly as possible.

Make the Best Use of Your Time

And what is the opportunity cost of doing all the permitting yourself? Do you call the building department or the city planner? What are the fire codes? Is the area under construction part of a seismic zone? When you are stuck on the phone trying to call around to find these answers – and figure out if these are the only questions you need to ask – you are spending valuable time that could be used on tasks more closely associated with your jobs. The Storage Solutions team already knows what questions to ask, whom to ask those questions to, and how to get the answers to the appropriate party. It is the Storage Solutions difference.

Let’s Get Started

Decisions typically come down to the value of your time. Because we are a trusted partner to our clients, we understand the intimate details of each proposal and have a head start on what is needed to get the project done. Our team is ready to get started and learn more about your upcoming project, whether it is a new building, a renovation project, or a relocation/removal situation. Call us today at 800.474.2001 or contact us here to speak with a Storage Solutions expert!


As increases in customer service demands continue to change the distribution & fulfillment industry, a growing number of warehouse managers face the challenge of configuring their layout and process for an optimal, efficient workflow. Whether your organization is clearing space for new equipment, relocating, or installing new equipment to meet the needs of a changing economy, maximizing throughput is the key to optimizing your future operating strategy. When you are considering your options for your new layout, know that optimal systems start with the right design.

Find The Right Design for Your Business’ Operating Strategy

Our expert team of design professionals works with clients on analyzing the challenges they currently face. Fulfillment issues can arise from problems caused by scattered SKUs to a lack of flexibility in your system to account for small or rush orders, among other inefficiencies.  However, Storage Solutions has the experience and knowledge to find these pain points and turn them into strengths. We find solutions to address your current challenges.

Our expertise in design revolves around using data to maximize your space while keeping costs down. We also look to your future and can build in such a way to provide flexibility to account for future growth in the dynamic world of the supply chain.

Continuing Support for Your Project

We don’t just stop at the design aspect, either. We work with firms throughout the life of their projects with our CARES (Collect, Analyze, Recommend, Execute, Support) system. This process ensures quality and care from the initial design phase until after installation and training are completed.

It is important to us that your new system works for optimal performance. With over 40 years in the industry, our team knows how to set up a system for success.

Let Us Solve Your Challenges

Our support team knows the challenges that come with growing businesses. Instead of holistically evaluating your workflow with each new process or project, perhaps a process gets tacked on to your current set-up, and maybe those challenges get solved with a “band-aid,” so to speak.

When you are ready for that full workflow assessment and evaluation, call us. We know that the best systems start with the right design. We are ready to get started. Click here or start a chat below and one of our experts will work with you in assessing your needs for warehouse workflow improvement.

dense storage solutions

As a natural byproduct of business cycles, warehouses need to be flexible as storage needs ebb and flow. During periods of economic growth, these warehouses need to find ways to increase capacity without increasing the facility size. Similarly, as a result of new equipment or new inventory profiles, managers are often tasked with finding ways to decrease their layout’s footprint while maintaining (or even increasing) their storage capacity.

In our experience, many small-to-medium-sized companies are unfamiliar with the benefits of introducing dense storage solutions. Often, these companies are more familiar with a traditional, selective pallet rack option. Depending on your inventory, there may be an opportunity to install dense storage racking at this stage of a business cycle. But first, before you evaluate those options, managers should make sure they design the optimal plan.

Perform a Facility Design Assessment

Whatever steps you decide to take, know that your best bet for an optimal result may begin with a complete facility design assessment. Our experts can look at your layout and provide suggestions for the optimal design for your operation. Our experts can help you take the guesswork out of the process.

Integrate Smart Slotting Data

Primarily, Smart Slotting introduces a data-centric approach to optimizing your picking process. The tool measures operational and storage costs against the volume of your picking demand to give you the optimal inventory slotting strategy. However, this approach also improves your ability to increase capacity by moving SKUs to the best possible storage media types.

Are You Ready for Dense Storage Solutions?

If you have large quantities of pallets on hand for each item you are storing, dense storage may be right for you. Let’s look at the options:

  • Pushback: These are systems in which pallets are stored on a cart system on a slight pitch so pallets can gravity flow back down to the front location as pallets are removed from the system. Pushback racking is ideal for Last-In, First-Out (LIFO) inventory systems or First-In, First-Out (FIFO) inventory for larger lot/date code SKUs. These systems often utilize nested carts, which make the placement and retrieval of products easy.
  • Pallet FlowPallet flow rack is an ideal option for warehouses that operate on a First-In, First Out (FIFO) inventory system & have large quantities of pallets on hand per SKU. This flexible racking system can be designed to your desired depth to maximize your capacity & utilization of the storage system. Pallet flow systems are customizable and uniquely designed for your products.
  • Drive-In / Drive-Thru: Drive-In and Drive-Thru racking are similar in that they increase storage density & require fewer aisles in your warehouse. The main difference between the two is Drive-In racking is accessible via forklift by one end. Drive-Thru racking is accessible from both ends. Drive-In & Drive-Thru racking work best for operations with really large quantities of pallets on hand per item. The best applications have the same SKU stored from the ground to the top & from the front to the back in each lane of the storage system. To keep utilization high, it is also ideal to have multiple lanes of Drive-In or Drive-Thru racking filled with the same item.
  • Semi-Automated Deep Lane Systems: These systems allow an operator to utilize a semi-automated cart to move packages into dense storage racking. This system can integrate perfectly with both LIFO and FIFO inventory systems. Semi-automated deep lane systems are often 25-40 pallets deep & work great for operations that have lots of pallets on hand per SKU & relatively high throughput requirements. These modern systems are fast and extremely easy to use, also utilizing green technology to operate.

Whenever you are ready to talk about your dense storage solutions, we are here for you. To get started, contact us and we can look at your inventory profile and share how our design-based solutions can increase storage space and ultimately increase your warehouse’s capacity.


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! 

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.

Strategic Optimization Solutions

With the constant changes taking place in the supply chain industry, everyone is looking for ways to improve efficiency and take their operation to the next level. At Storage Solutions we also recognize these changes and want to ensure we are always offering the latest products and solutions to best serve our customers. As a result, we have rolled out our Strategic Optimization Solutions (SOS). This new approach includes six key areas of focus: design, dynamic, technology, storage, turnkey and relocation solutions.

Simple. Smart. Strategic.

The goal of our SOS offerings is to provide value to every customer in tackling any business challenge they partner with us to address. By using a simple, smart, and strategic approach we offer our customers solutions to cover every aspect of their operation. Whether you need to add a new storage system to maximize space utilization within a facility, make a change in your warehouse design to improve productivity, or make an upgrade to the latest technology in the industry, we have you covered.

With so many offerings, it can be hard to know which approach is best for your company. Take a deeper look at our Strategic Optimization Solutions to learn more about each one. Our team of experts can work with you to analyze your challenges and review any necessary data. From there, our simple, smart and strategic approach will allow us to develop recommended solutions tailored to your needs. Contact us today to start the process towards optimal efficiency in your facility. Let us work together with you through all your operational endeavors!

Workplace Productivity Increase with Ergonomics

We often examine the positive effects an efficient warehouse design can have on your operation, but what does it mean for your employees? When it comes to warehouse productivity, one of the main components of keeping your facility moving is keeping employees safe. Taking small adjustments into account when setting up your warehouse can be huge for your employees in the long run.

Warehouse Ergonomics

Part of keeping your employees safe is keeping them comfortable. One way to do this is by storing items at the optimal level to reduce strain on pickers. Along with keeping items at a certain level, another aspect of warehouse ergonomics is keeping highly selected items around the same area to lower foot traffic in the facility.

Another way to keep your employees in good health is to integrate some type of automation within your facility. Automation will help you decrease the foot traffic needed to transport goods to all parts of your warehouse. Less exertion means fewer ergonomic issues down the line, helping you keep your staff healthy and comfortable. This will also assist with your overall warehouse productivity as well, which makes it an all-around win.

How We Can Help?

When it comes to keeping high pick volume items in the same area, we offer our newest service, Smart Slotting. This inventory slotting tool takes all of the data provided, such as picking and replenishment rates for different SKUs, and will give you the blueprint to optimize your space and help cut down on unnecessary movement around your facility.

Another way to support ergonomics is through automation. We offer a variety of dynamic solutions that can help with cutting down strenuous movement and wasted time. This includes powered conveyor to move items with ease throughout the facility, and Vertical Lift Machines (VLMs) to allow for fast and ergonomic picking with almost no walking being required.

Another dynamic solution we offer is Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs). AMRs give your employees the ability to stay in one area to work as opposed to moving around the facility. This keeps employees out of the way off forklifts and other machinery moving throughout the warehouse.

Want to learn more about how we can help you keep your facility safe and productive? Click here for more information on our Dynamic Solutions.