Efficient Vehicle Parts Management

How one maintenance operation is using a flexible type of parts storage system that evolves as its operations do


“The option to add or adjust shelves, drawers or other accessories as needed should help us maximize storage density where it is needed most, next to the service bays, even if part sizes or configurations change,” Donatelli says.

VERTICAL STORAGE

While multiple rows of adjustable shelving accommodated the bulbs, fuses, hoses, filters, brake pads and other small- to mid-sized automotive items that Donatelli wanted to house near the first floor service bays, he also needed more space to store larger items. So, he went up.

“With the V-Grip storage system, we at least doubled our storage in a limited space,” he says. “We added vertical storage with a deckover mezzanine above our shelves with stair access. This gave us the room we needed for bulky items such as doors, hoods, fenders and body panels.”

Adding vertical storage with a freestanding or deckover mezzanine is straightforward, if adequate vertical space is available. No bracing is needed. The storage just needs to be reconfigured to put a second floor right on top of the shelving.

MOBILE ISLE SYSTEM

For shop parts facilities that lack enough vertical space to add mezzanine storage above shelving, but still need to maximize their storage density, another option is to put existing shelves on carriages and platforms to create a mobile aisle system, says Ammerman.

Mobile aisle systems move the shelves toward each other to eliminate unnecessary aisle space, he says. Reducing the number of access aisles can save as much as 50 percent of floor space, or double existing storage capacity.

When needed, a mechanical assist drive system requires only 1 pound of effort to move 10,000 pounds of mobile aisle load on a system such as Equipto’s V-Grip.

STORAGE SECURITY

Another advantage of mobile aisle systems is how easily they provide additional layers of storage security for high value items, says Donatelli. To lock the entire system down, just roll the mobile aisles together and lock the end carriage.

Since such a lockdown can be accomplished with a single key, the system is quick to lockdown and quick to get back in use for higher productivity on the shop floor, Ammerman adds. An additional layer of security can also be added with optional lockable doors in the shelving.

“Maximizing our storage space allowed us to consolidate most of our upstairs parts operation downstairs in a much smaller space,” says Donatelli.

“Now, our technicians have fast part access right in the service bay. They no longer have to travel three floors up and three floors down to get a part.

“We’re more productive, and it won’t be long before we achieve our ROI.”

Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, CA.

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