Horizontal Carousels & Put to Light Systems

See how Horizontal Carousels and Put to Light Systems make for easy and secure batch picking

Lean Manufacturing, how does it apply to your company?

Lean Manufacturing – how does it apply to your company?

Here is a blog repost of a practical Lean article from KardexRemstar. We see a lot of Lean theory, and it is refreshing to find an article that highlights Lean principles and how they can be applied.

We’ve all heard the term Lean, but what does it really mean and how does it apply to your organization? Lean manufacturing and distribution techniques are used to eliminate waste that occurs in any organization as a normal consequence of doing business. There are seven standard principles of Lean Manufacturing & Distribution:

1. Overproduction – inflexible or unreliable processes that cause organizations to produce goods before they are required.

2. Wait Time – due to inefficient layouts or an inability to match demand with output levels workers experience wasted wait time between jobs or when retrieving parts.

3. Transportation – transporting goods unnecessarily always increases costs and the risk of damage.

4. Processing – using overly complex processes when simpler, more efficient ones would do.

5. Inventory – due to uncertainty with regard to quality levels, delivery lead times, etc.

6. Motion – unnecessary or excess motion that causes worker fatigue due to poorly designed processes.

7. Defects – creating products or services that require rework or must be scrapped.

How can materials handling systems help Lean your facility?

  • Every materials handling systems is designed to store various sized products and can be easily configured to accommodate physical changes of stores goods quickly. This allows you to only keep what you need on hand, reducing overproduction.

Lean Manufacturing

  • Materials handling systems are designed to bring items to the operator, eliminating walking and search time. In addition you can integrate batch picking, pick-to-light and inventory management software can assist in reducing wait time.
  • All materials handling systems are designed with ergonomics in mind to reduce excess motion from walking, searching, reaching and bending.
  • Storing goods in a point of use materials handling systems reduces unnecessary processing and transportation of goods from work cell to work cell and helps to eliminate defects.
  • Kardex Remstar has several materials handling systems that integrate “point and click” software to help manage inventory. This ensures you have the right product at the right time and in the right place, eliminating unnecessary inventory.

For more information on how Storage Systems Midwest can help your facility become Lean go to our website www.ssmidwest.com , email info@ssmidwest.com, or call (800) 776-7032.

For more Lean resources:

Lean Operations Overview

Continuous Improvement, Six Sigma, & Lean Group – LinkedIn Group

Lean Six Sigma  – LinkedIn Group

Don’t Leave File & Document Security To Chance!

Reposting this blog article from KardexRemstar, good points!

When lost files and documents can expose your organization to potential litigation or losses in time, money or customers – don’t leave your file security to chance! Businesses in every industry need to consider carefully the creation and management of records and documents.

File security can have a real impact on an organizations bottom line and it is becoming more important than ever to protect files and documents from unauthorized access. Managing files and documents to ensure their usability, reliability, authenticity and preservation for the mandated time period can be a costly and overwhelming task.

Dynamic filing solutions from KardexRemstar provide secure file storage saving space, time and money. The Kardex Remstar Lektriever Electric Lateral File (ELF) is a series of vertically arranged rotating shelves (carriers) controlled by an electronic keypad automatically deliver files to an operator with a simple push of a button. With three security options available, the Lektriever ELF provides security while simplifying file and document management.

Every Lektriever ELF comes standard with a bi parting lockable door. The door can be closed and locked with a key at anytime blocking access to files and documents stored inside. The Lektriever ELF cannot be operated when the bi parting door is closed, providing secured file storage. To access stored files and records, the bi parting doors must be unlocked with the key and fully opened.

FastPic OfficPro software can be integrated with the Lektriever ELF to provide file tracking. Implementing the software requires operators to log in with individual identification numbers before retrieving a file or document, providing supervisors with file transaction reports for added control. Supervisors can also block access to specific shelves within the unit by user identification.

For maximum file security, an optional automatic security door is available. These doors allow the unit to operate or rotate while the security doors remain closed.  The operator first unlocks the controller using a four digit access code and selects the shelf or file they desire. The unit rotates with the security doors closed and presents only the selected shelf to the operator. The doors close automatically using a delay switch, limiting access to authorized users only.

With the automatic security doors, department managers can restricted access rights for certain  employees allowing them to access only specified shelves. Non-authorized shelf requests are denied and can be recorded on the control system. This helps ensure that specific users can only retrieve files and documents which have been approval by their supervisor. Sensitive files and documents are stored within a secure and enclosed environment keeping items safe and protected.

Call Storage Systems Midwest for information on how to secure your files and documents: 800-776-7032 or email info@ssmidwest.com .


Automation: Don’t forget the basics

This article shows an excellent example of how important covering the basics are. One of our key automation vendors, Dematic, recently learned this while planning for their annual logistics conference. As they were discussing high level concepts and trends in automation, one of the executives asked if anyone else was having issues with stretch wrap. Now I would think that typically someone would redirect the conversation to “more important topics”, but in this case there were several others in the room who were experiencing issues and order picking in this area was a mess. If one of the leaders in automation is having issues with something as simple as stretch wrap, how many of our local companies are missing some of  the fundamentals. Not everyone has the resources for extensive LEAN initiatives. Sometimes focusing on the basics can have just as much of an impact on enhancing safety and increasing production capabilities. We have successfully implemented both highly automated solutions and solutions that help cover the basics. I am always happy to share ideas with you on both.

Automation: Don’t forget the basics – Article from Modern Materials Handling.

Tim Weidenfeller

Industrial Design Specialist



Business vs. Healthcare

Let me be blunt and not waste your time by asking a simple (but controversial) question.

 Do you think of your role in your organization as a provider of healthcare services or as a business person who happens to be in the industry of healthcare? 




I ask this question because of the implications of HCAHPS  (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems). HCAHPS is the 18 question perception-based survey to determine how your hospital is performing from the customer’s standpoint. Think of it as the Government’s own JD Power survey, for those of you familiar with the famous survey house that performs a lot of automobile manufacturer surveys. Here is a link to a website HCAHPS or you can download the HCAHPS Fact Sheet 2010.

Another website you should be familiar with is one called hospitalcompare.com. This is the HHS run website that publishes all the results of the HCAHPS survey in an easy to use graphical format for customers to compared hospitals on these survey results.

These surveys and results not only affect how a consumer chooses your hospital for services (which is a HUGE change from the past), but it will also affect your overall reimbursements from Medicare going forward. Starting in 2014, it could be up to 1% of the total Medicare reimbursements for your hospital and it escalates by .25% per year to 2% by 2017. In an industry that runs on small margins, it’s sort of like a business losing a large volume of their #1 customer.

Are you looking at ways to enhance and improve your employee’s efficiency through LEAN methods and different solutions?

Have you looked at using semi-automation in your hospital?  (Think about Ford not using any semi-automation in their factories and ask how much your next F-150 would cost?)

What about the latest technology?  What are you employing that your competitors aren’t to create advantages for you in the marketplace?  

So now more than ever we need to begin looking at ways to make your business more efficient and competitive in the marketplace since that is how consumers will choose your hospital and its services in the future.  

Lean Healthcare Article worth reading:

Par Level Vs Kanban Methods – Which One For Hospital Material Management?


Chris Dierauer

Healthcare Specialist


D. 262.896.7256

C. 414.520.3900

Wisconsin Warehouse and Manufacturing News

We are thankful to be starting our Storage Systems Midwest Warehouse and Distribution blog with some good news. Biz Times Manufacturing Weekly reported yesterday that Midwest Manufacturers performed better in 2011 than in 2010. Even better news is that 2012 is predicted to have even better performance with expected increases in revenue, profits and hiring.   Manufacturers optimistic about 2012

The federal reserve also reported modest growth in Midwest Manufacturing and expects to see continued improvement Fed: Upper Midwest economy grew through end of 2011 .

Growth is exciting but also poses some challenges. We’ve been hearing from many of our customers that finding the right talent is becoming more difficult. We could write an entire blog just about hiring challenges for Midwest Industrial Companies, but to keep it on topic we thought we would look at the specific challenges facing our Warehouse and Distribution customers. Supermarket News reports that Warehouse Automation is growing in the United States due to the increasing difficulty in finding warehouse labor,  Warehouse Automation Growing in U.S. . The bottom line is that finding people to operate warehouses is a growing issue. Warehouse Automation is certainly an option, but with many of our customers also facing budget constraints we need to be able to find solutions that address both adding efficiency, improving shipping rates while controlling costs at the same time.

You can see some our ideas ‘in action’ on our Warehouse/Distribution You Tube  page. Call to schedule a time for us to review your warehouse or distribution challenge. We will share ideas on what other Midwest companies are doing and perhaps we will find the right solution for you.

Storage Systems Midwest

Call 800-776-7032 or email info@ssmidwest.com

Cut costs and streamline your processes by looking at new ways to access your vital information

To start off our Storage Systems Midwest Business Blog I thought I would share some of the key challenges we have been hearing from our customers. Some of these are not a surprise. Almost all of our customers are looking for ways to cut costs and streamline their business processes. Some of this goes beyond my expertise, but it is interesting how much of this is related to how they are storing and accessing their important and vital company information.

Until recently, most of this important information was in a hard copy format. For years I have been providing solutions to traditional filing, so that our customers can store more in less space. Saving space certainly was valuable, but it didn’t address the labor cost involved with finding and organizing this information. Here is some eye-opening data on what companies spend on average:

  • $20 in labor to file a document *
  • $120 in labor to find a misfiled document *
  • $220 in labor to reproduce a lost document *
  • 7.5 percent of all documents get lost; 3 percent of the remainder get misfiled *
  • Professionals spend 5 – 15 percent of their time reading information, but up to 50 percent looking for it*
  • $24 average cost to process a single invoice manually **
  • 40% of 1,200 organizations surveyed indicated disaster recovery planning not a priority +
  • 2 out of 5  companies who experience a disaster are out of business in 5 years ++

* PricewaterhouseCoopers + Captaris ** IOMA ++ Gartner

One way we are solving these challenges for our customers is to look at how document scanning (taking hard copy documents and turning them into an electronic format) would save time and money. We are finding that when we pair document scanning with document content management software both time and money are saved while increasing the security of the information.

 Scanning Brochure

It is our belief here at Storage Systems that working with scanned documents empowers companies to reduce costs and better serve their customers.  Please contact us to learn more about document scanning and how it can help your business.

Brian Brath

(262) 896-7214


Where in WI is Shannon Cooper from Storage Systems Midwest?!?

We are launching a new challenge to the A&D community this winter, thanks to the very successful response to our autumn Jeopardy Challenge!

Our new challenge is “Where in Wisconsin is Shannon Cooper from Storage Systems Midwest?”. The prize for this new challenge is a $200 Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Certificate! Participants will receive seven weeks of visual challenges. You will first have to guess where Shannon is by looking at the architectural and interior design details that we will provide.  That will earn you one entry into our drawing.  Secondly, you can to look at the type of storage Shannon is representing, then head to our website SSMidwest or Spacesaver’s site to figure out the storage solution being shown in the visual, again earning you yet another entry into the drawing.  Entries are earned by emailing Shannon with your guesses (scooper@ssmidwest.com).

Our goal is to provide you with a fun challenge, showcase some interesting Wisconsin architecture and show you some of our unique solutions. In the end we hope you will have a better understanding of all the great things we can do to provide your clients with some great storage solutions.

Be on the look out for the first challenge email next week!

We are looking forward to seeing your answers!




Happy New Blog Year

Ok, so I’ve been asked by my company to submit a blog post related to healthcare since I’m the Healthcare Specialist at Storage Systems Midwest, Inc., which raises a good question, what exactly is a Healthcare Specialist?  We see a tremendous amount of store rooms, clean utility rooms, SPD areas, Patient rooms and the like in hospitals.  It seems like there is never enough room to store all the supplies in a hospital. We recently completed a clean utility room for a hospital, and after partnering with us, they were able to get 30% more product in the room.  This also allowed the nurses to walk 50% less than they did previous. Sometimes the simple things make the biggest impact, right?

So what do have to talk about in Healthcare for 2012?  Some topics that will dot our Healthcare Blog are:

–          Healthcare Reform – This could be a blog all by itself!

–          Medicare/Medicaid Cuts – What are we seeing and how are you dealing with them?

–          Staffing and FTE’s – How best to use them?  How to make them more efficient?

–          Quality and the HCAHPS Survey – How is patient perception translated into dollars?

–          Staffing and Supplies – The two biggest cost centers in healthcare – how can we get them working together better?

–          LEAN in Healthcare – How can the system that made Toyota better work in your hospital?

–          HAI’s and Readmission rates – How can we cut down on HAI’s and reduce readmission rates?

These are just a few topics off the top of our collective heads, but let me know others that you think might be good for this blog.  We want this blog to educate, inform but also be a conversation.   We all learn more when we are all involved.  We certainly don’t have all the answers but we can provide some direction in certain areas and shed a light on items we’ve seen.

Shoot us an email or respond to this blog below.  Let’s get a conversation started!

Chris Dierauer



See real results in our Thedacare Case Study



RockUrStorage 2012 is here! Win an Athletic Storage $30,000 Makeover!

RockUrStorage 2012 is here! Go to RockUrStorage.com to upload a picture of your Athletic Storage nightmare. Then you need to have your community vote (parents, teachers, whoever!). There will be both a higher education and secondary education winner announced on May 2, 2012  – each receiving a $30,000 Athletic Storage EXTREME makeover!

For more information contact, John Butler, jbutler@ssmidwest.com.