CRC-Evans is a manufacturer and remanufacturer of pipeline equipment for the oil and gas industry. They make equipment to rent to contractors laying pipeline in the field, including large machinery to bend, weld, coat, and lay pipe into the ground.
CRC-Evans must store machinery they rent, which requires ample space for bulky items, manpower to store and retrieve, and a system to organize inventory. All three of these aspects needed an overhaul to improve efficiency and bolster productivity for the facility. Their old system used a two-story setup. Heavy equipment was stored on the second floor, and when it came time to rent it out, workers had to haul that equipment from the second to the first floor. Not only did this take tremendous care, but it wasted a lot of time. Each piece had to be manually located, retrieved by means of forklift, and carried down to the first story.
Plus, with such heavy industry equipment, safety is of the utmost concern. Bringing bulky inventory from the second floor to the first was a big safety risk. Workers had to constantly bend, lift, stretch, and perform other potentially dangerous movements. On top of that, their inventory was not consistently organized, leading to slower retrieval times and lack of inventory control. Without a process in place, there was no way to train existing or new employees on how to properly store and trace inventory. As a result, workers were following different processes, and bad habits persisted with no clear path to correct them. What CRC-Evans required was to establish process for organizing and put a plan in place to maintain that order going forward.
CRC-Evans needed a way to enhance efficiency and organization while overhauling their setup to improve safety.
To solve their problem, Stanley Black & Decker Storage Solutions (Vidmar® and LISTA®) installed 3 STAK System® units and 3 Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs). The STAK System uses adjustable pallet racking and a mast and bridge system to utilize every inch of available vertical space – all without a forklift. VLMs are automated storage and retrieval systems, with a high-speed elevator/ extractor that provides access to vertically-arranged drawers.
With the STAK System, adjustable pallets allow for more space utility versus traditional racking, as they can be adjusted for the height of the object being stored. “We could make the system as tall or as small as possible,” explains Kelton DoRemus, Materials Manager for CRC-Evans. The best part of this completely modular solution? No forklift. DoRemus says, “Being able to take the pallet off and retrieve without a forklift is a massive timesaver.” Eliminating the need for a forklift also allowed for higher storage density, no forklift maintenance expenses, and no fumes. DoRemus says, “It allows us to put more racking per square footage area than we would have conventionally. Combine that with the modular ability to shrink or expand space between racks, it just exponentially improved our area to hold inventory!”
The benefits continue with the addition of our Vertical Lift Modules. With both solutions, workers can safely transport heavy inventory stored at height, without the hazard of carrying it back and forth between floors. Retrieval can now be done safely and easily from small parts to even the largest items. The solutions also helped the team streamline organization and were seamlessly incorporated into their new inventory tracking methods. CRC Evans employed the Vertical Lift Module WMS software, an inventory system that easily integrated with SAP – their existing ERP system. All products were barcoded and integrated into their STAK System and VLM locations for quicker retrieval. Each space had a clearly labeled location, and workers could quickly refer to the placement of the product in the system to cut down on wasted time spent looking for items. With this ability for quicker retrieval comes enhanced productivity.
DoRemus sums up the benefits of their new vertical solutions best,The systems are easy-to-use and do not require certifications, so the team was able to hit the ground running once implemented to bolster productivity. CRC-Evans was able to eliminate 11 temporary positions entirely, reduce forklift maintenance costs, and recover 5,500 square feet of space, directly improving their bottom line. To put it simply, “The system allows us to do the job safely, efficiently, and quickly,” said Kelton DoRemus.