Most companies need to store parts, components, tooling, and repair items in an easily accessible location. This is not too hard to plan for a small plant or building, but with larger facilities, the time to access items from a distant location can become a factor in maintaining an efficient operation. There are two basic options for this type of storage, each with their own benefits.
The more common situation is to create a secure area in one location that would contain the items that people in your company need. This could include maintenance items, machine tooling, repair parts, component assembly kits or high value inventory items. Workers that need any of these items need to go to the ‘cage’ or ‘parts room’ or ‘tool room’ to get what they need. The advantages of this layout are:
- Better control of inventory and job costing data
- Minimizing access to sensitive areas
- Increased security for high value items
- Maximized storage efficiency
The disadvantage of this layout is primarily time; time to walk from a work area to the storage room and back again; time waiting in line for service; time spent with co-workers along the way. In a larger facility or a busy facility, this can become a significant additional cost.
The alternative would be to have specific items located in secure modular drawer cabinets, shelving with drawers, or in an vending machine style dispenser close to the area where they are actually needed. The advantages for this type of layout are:
- Components are immediately available at the worksite location
- Access can be controlled by any or all of the following:
- Cabinets keyed differently for each worker
- Individual drawers keyed differently for each worker
- Cabinets keyed differently by work group or department
- Master keys for company wide or departmental access
- Electronic locks to record and control access to parts
- Automated vending machines for commonly used items
These security options allow control of inventory by certain workers only and eliminate any delays in getting those items to the worksite locations when needed. Quick visual inventory for spot checks is also easy as the drawers open to their full depth making all compartments easily visible.
Evaluate your situation and decide which storage plan is best for your business and then consider using modular drawers to maximize your space and increase efficiency in your operation.