Floor Space Bursting at the Seams?
Mike Vassil 10.08.2014
It’s one of those “good problems” to have. Your shop is getting more business and moving more parts. You’re happy with the growth. But there’s also a nagging dilemma: where to put it all? Here in Okuma’s Service Department, we recently experienced this same challenge. As the years go by, we keep advancing our CNC machine technology, putting out new models so you can take advantage of the latest developments and amp up your business. Every new machine that comes out has hundreds of parts that are unique to that model, so we have to add all those to inventory. At the same time, we remain committed to supporting all the Okuma CNC machines that are out in the field, including those trusty older models. This means we’ve accumulated quite an assortment of service parts as we maintain inventory for speedy support. With all of our floor space now gobbled up, this past year we asked ourselves the old “what if” question.
What If…We Expand UP?
As our support stock continues to grow, we knew we needed to become more efficient and economical within our warehouse. We did some out-of-the-box thinking and realized, we still had more valuable real estate in our current facility that we weren’t taking advantage of. It was “in the air” above our storage shelves – all that space! I’m happy to announce that in September we installed 3 brand new Kardex Remstar vertical storage units. As you can see in the photo here, the “vertical” part means they expand our storage space UP toward the ceiling ¬ very efficient. Inside each of these units is a revolving carousel of shelves that bring us the part we’ve selected on a computer – no searching required. The units also maximize what they call “storage density” by packing similar-size parts into the least amount of space possible.
Vertical Warehouse Storage: What’s in it For You?
Sounds great huh...but how does this help your business? Great question – and we’ve put a lot of thought into this. As your business continues to grow, now and into the future, it’s important to know that your machine tool builder has the Service Parts you need, when you need them. Here’s how our new vertical storage units help you:
- We’re no longer limited by the floor space available in our warehouse. We’re utilizing the air going to our rooftop to add more spare parts so they’re ready when you need them.
- These units are strategically placed next to our shipping table. We can now pick parts in seconds rather than minutes. This means the part you order today ships today.
- Spare parts are stored in an enclosed environment to ensure they leave our building in the exact same condition as when they arrived.
- Inventory accuracy control – we go to pick your part, it’s there. No surprises!
Faster Repairs for Spindles and Cam Boxes
The vertical storage units provide another huge benefit, for us and for you. By freeing up so much warehouse floor space we were able to increase our Mechanical Exchange capabilities by about 30%. We’ve added staff, inventory and run test equipment so we can do more spindle and cam box repairs here in Charlotte. With these new facilities we minimize the need to send repairs to Japan (which adds time to the process). Our goal is to maintain same day delivery for everything we stock by adding new units to the program and eliminating the need for anything to be repaired outside of our building.
Keep Up With the Latest
I know many of you are always pursuing continuous improvement in your processes. We are too. Not just with advanced CNC machine technology, we’re aggressively implementing “advanced inventory technology” as well. To keep you informed, soon we’ll be rolling out a new enewsletter from our Service Department. To make sure you receive this, go to the “Stay Informed” box at upper right on this page. Fill it out and check “Newsletters” (plus anything else you’d like to receive) and keep up with the latest. While you’re at it, fill out a Register Your Machine form to make sure you receive any critical communications regarding your specific equipment and enable us to better serve you should a service need arise.
Mike Vassil is Senior Manager Customer Service, Okuma America Corporation.