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Storage Solutions for Third-Party Logistics Firms

One of the most common challenges we encounter with our third-party logistics (3PL) clients involves the ever-diminishing time expectation between when an end-user orders a product and when they think it should be at their door. To meet challenges associated with this trend, 3PL firms are consistently looking at ways to decrease pick time through storage and fulfillment processes.

For the uninitiated, the Material Handling Industry glossary defines a third-party logistics firm as “a business arrangement whereby logistics services, often including warehousing, are contracted to an independent business that specializes in such services and is not connected through direct ownership to the producer or factory requiring the service.”

Because a 3PL’s mission is to maintain profitable logistical operations of fulfillment within the facility – while not taking ownership of the products themselves – 3PL firms tend to prefer flexibility, scalability, and versatility. Typically, 3PLs are working on relatively short-term contracts with their clients (on average 1-5 years), so they want the ability to use the equipment for their current client on their next job.

3PLs are usually storing products for companies that fulfill small orders (for example, retail or e-commerce). This type of fulfillment is typically labor-intensive and costly, so finding the right mix of storage solutions is critical for optimizing operations. However, because their clients are frequently changing or renewing, 3PLs prefer standard solutions that can apply across various industries to allow these firms to be versatile in accommodating multiple pallets in multiple sizes if a client leaves or does not renew.

So, what are the standard storage solutions for 3PL? Let’s take a look:

Pallet Racking

Pallet rack is overwhelmingly the most common storage medium for 3PL firms. Traditionally, most of the industry will use a configuration of pallet rack at 54″ H x 40″ W x 48″ D with 2500-lb capacity beams, which covers most storage applications. That size is also ideal for shipping, as it allows shippers to be more efficient because they can optimally cube out a truck at that size with double-stacked pallets.

Small Parts Storage Solutions

To cover small parts storage, 3PLs rely on a massive amount of shelving and hand stack racks in their facilities. The products required to be most accessible will typically be at the floor-level, so sometimes those shelves are created by adding additional beam levels on the rack that currently exists (along with wire decking) to allow for optimal storage. If you do not have the racking above the shelving, you sacrifice valuable vertical storage space within the facility.

If more than one level of small parts storage is required, then we involve bin mezzanines. However, there are additional costs – both hard and soft — whenever other levels are constructed. Outside of the hard costs of the decking, lighting, sprinklers, etc., there is the soft cost of the additional travel time for the picker associated with the 2nd or 3rd level.

Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor (VRC)

When we introduce multiple levels within a 3PL facility, we typically enlist a vertical reciprocating conveyor (VRC) to assist with moving single-load products vertically for storage or for picking. They can carry pallets, carts, cartons, or products to pickers or for storage on different levels, saving travel time associated with walking up and down stairs. VRCs can be assembled using single or double masts, single or double rails, and even some models can travel on an incline/decline grade versus solely traveling perpendicularly to the floor.

Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)

Because of the high cost and rigidity of traditional automation solutions, which are great for specialized, static retrieval and storage, most 3PLs avoid installing them. However, there are great on-demand automation solutions like autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) that can offer a great deal of support to 3PL facilities. AMR solutions are very portable, reconfigurable, and can be reprogrammed in a matter of hours versus the days or weeks it could take to disassemble and reconfigure some of the more extensive, static storage options. AMRs can improve pick speeds, lower labor costs, and provide other safety matters within most fulfillment operations. Plus, as needs change and the business grows over time, these solutions can scale and grow along with the organization.

Safety Solutions for Third-Party Logistics Firms

As with any installation, we recommend thinking through the safety of the employees, facility, and equipment within the design. After all, safety should be part of your operational philosophy, not just a mandate or requirement. When a project comes up, we provide warehouse safety solutions like mirrors, guard rails, signage, end-of-rack protectors, end-of-aisle protectors, and anything else that may be pertinent to operational safety. At the design and strategy stage, these can be afterthoughts, but we recommend getting everything you need when you begin designing storage solutions for 3PLs.

What’s Next?

While most 3PLs utilize some combination of the storage solutions listed above, we still see operations that require more robust set-ups like traditional conveyors, drive-in racking, and pushback rack. The size of the investment is typically determined by the client paying for the equipment.

Our team has decades of combined experience working with 3PLs across the country to deliver better storage options, quicker fulfillment processes, and greater order accuracy. We know that finding the right answer usually involves finding scalable, flexible, and portable solutions, all while being cost-effective.

We take that approach to every aspect of the fulfillment process, from storage and racking to the facility’s flow. If your third-party logistics operations could use a tune-up, give us a call today and let one of our experts learn about the challenges you face and provide solutions designed around your business’s unique needs.

healthcare supply distributor

Quick turnaround and exceptional project management set Storage Solutions apart from our competitors with this Indiana healthcare supply distributor!

Products Installed:

  • 1,500 Sections of pallet rack
  • 65 sections of carton flow
  • 125 sections of shelving
  • Battery charger stations
  • Safety equipment including guardrail, dome mirrors, bollards & safety netting

Their Problem / Our Solution: 

The customer wanted new pallet rack very quickly.  Our strategic purchasing schedule and partnership with vendors allowed Storage Solutions to meet their deadlines and avoid lengthy lead times.

Our customer had these nice things to say:

“Storage Solutions made it easy.  Throughout the design process and with your crew leader onsite, we didn’t have to worry about anything.”

Storage Solutions offers design services, project management and installation services so you don’t have to worry about a thing. If you’re trying to outfit hundreds of thousands of square feet anew, or just trying to fine-tune your pick process for maximum speed, we deliver more than the materials you need, we deliver the right result.

Learn more about this project and watch the time lapsed video here! Storage Solutions offers a variety of products and services to help plan your next project, from beginning to end. Contact us today to get started!

 Storage Solutions has used Particle Board Shelves available for sale immediately! Contact your sales representative or call 866.474.2001 for additional information.

NOTE: All items are subject to prior sale.

particle board

Details:

36″ X 18″ X 3/8″ PARTICLE BOARD SHELVES | QTY: 570 | $2.00

36″ X 24″ X 5/8″ PARTICLE BOARD SHELVES | QTY: 5,984 | $2.00

 Storage Solutions has a used package available for sale immediately! Contact your sales representative or call 866.474.2001 for additional information and pricing.

NOTE: All items are subject to prior sale.

shelving

LYONS

DIVIDERS

24″ X 9″ | QTY:    4,235 | TAN

24″ X 12″ | QTY: 1,703 | TAN

24″ X 18″ | QTY: 693 | TAN

36″ X 9″ | QTY:    608 | TAN

36″ X 12″ | QTY: 301 | TAN

36″ X 18″ | QTY: 98 | TAN

OLD STYLE WELDED INTERMEDIATE PANELS

18″X90″ | QTY: 34 | TAN

18″X96″ | QTY: 32 | TAN

24″X90″ | QTY: 61 | TAN

24″X96″ | QTY: 48 | TAN

BACK PANELS

36″X96″ | QTY: 95 | TAN

SHELVES

36″X18″ | QTY: 135 | TAN

36″X24″ | QTY: 13,568 | TAN

36″X36″ | QTY: 1,938 | TAN

 

TENNSCO    

POSTS

84″ ANGLE POST | 24 | GRAY

84″ BOX POST | QTY: 103 | GRAY

84″ T-POST QTY: 90 | GRAY

SHELVES

36″X36″ | QTY: 640 | GRAY

X-BRACES

36″ BACK “X” BRACE | QTY: 56 | GRAY | QUANTITY IS IN PAIRS

36″ SIDE “X” BRACE | QTY: 140 | GRAY | QUANTITY IS IN PAIRS

And we’re back! We hope you enjoyed Project Mississippi, but now we are going to take you to the beautiful state of Washington, where our team is working on a 550,000 sq ft facility, for the next Project Spotlight series!

This project includes everything from a bin mezzanine, to VRCs, to shelving, to cantilever rack!

storage solutions

Next week we will dig deeper in to the details, so check back! To look at past Project Spotlight series, click here!

Material handling is defined as the movement, storage, control and protection of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal. The material handling industry is responsible for manufacturing and distributing the equipment and services required to create material handling systems. These systems range from pallet rack and shelving to conveyors and automated systems.

project OhioSo where does Storage Solutions fit in to the mix? ALL OF IT! Not only can our team provide you with the equipment necessary for an efficient storage operation; we provide the services needed to put your operation in motion. We are a turnkey solution to your warehouse design needs. Storage Solutions offers in house warehouse design, project management and installation teams that take our customers’ visions and turn them in to completed projects.

Interested in our services? Contact us at 866.474.2001 and our knowledgeable sales team will help find the solution that best fits your needs. We also sell new and used warehouse storage equipment. Visit us online and check out our ever-changing inventory.

Source: Wikipedia

It has been a while since we featured a product special on our blog, but here it is!  USED SHELVING BLOWOUT!  We’ve got shelving units in great condition in two different sizes, available immediately.

36″W x 30″D x 87″H
Penco Gray
6 shelves
Qty: 2,418 bays
$65 each
36″W x 12″D x 87″H
Penco Gray
6 shelves
Qty: 738 bays
$65 each
Used Shelving Used Shelving Connector Used Shelving
Used Shelving Used Shelving Used Shelving

For additional photos, questions and inquiries, contact James Cira at 866.474.2001!

Aaaaaand we’re back!  We are finally ready to introduce you to another project in our Project Spotlight series.  This time, we’re taking a look at “Project Ohio”.  This project was located in midwestern Ohio, but for confidentiality’s sake, we’re just going to call it OHIO.

Storage Solutions Project SpotlightFeatured Products:

  • Selective Rack Bays
  • Bin Sections In Two Level Mezzanine
  • Resindek and RoofDeck

Objective – Optimize the use of warehouse space to provide the customer with efficient racking systems.

Make sure to come back next week to see how this project is progressing.  To take a look at past Project Spolights, click here.

As promised, this week brings you the third installment of our new emloyee introductions.  This week we’re excited to introduce you to another new employee, Tyler Northway.  Tyler is the newest addition to our Kansas City team.  A little about Tyler…

tylerHometown:  Lee’s Summit, MO

Education: Northwest Missouri State University

Favorite team:  Kansas City Chiefs

Role with Storage Solutions:  National Accounts Manager

On behalf of our entire Storage Solutions team, we’re excited to introduce another well-qualified account manager to provide you with great service.  Whether it’s pallet racking, steel shelving or a warehouse needing new configurations, we are ready to give you exactly what you need in order to make your operations successful.

As part two of our four-post introduction series, Storage Solutions is excited to introduce you to another new employee, Art Ibarra.

ArtThe most recent addition to our project managing team, Art brings 11 years of industry experience to the table.  Originally from the Chicago area, Art combines his knowledge of steel products with innovative thinking to make project planning efficient and effective.

Background:  Art studied both in Mexico and at University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).

Specializations:  new and used pallet rack (selective, drive-in, pushback, etc.)

Favorite Teams:  San Fransisco 49ers

Hobbies:  Watching movies, golfing and playing tennis.

On behalf of the entire Storage Solutions team, we are happy to welcome Art to our company.  Whether it’s pallet racking, steel shelving or a warehouse needing new configurations, we are ready to give you exactly what you need in order to make your operations successful.