Homans Associates uses upright shelving systems, picks from both sides of lift trucks
Narrow aisles helped Homans maximize horizontal and cubic storage.
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First renowned as a seller and installer of aluminum insulation for walk-in, deep-freeze refrigerators and cold-storage warehouses, Homans Associates has expanded considerably since its founding in the 1940s. By offering more wide ranging specialties today, it is now a full-service distributor of virtually all products and equipment related to heating, ventilating, air conditioning and industrial insulation.
Recently, the company moved from a 45,000-square-foot, low ceiling facility in Somerville, Mass., to a 90,000-square-foot warehouse with 25-foot ceilings in Wilmington, Mass. As it prepared for the move, Homans not only wanted to use its square footage, but its cubic footage as well—so that it could maximize its storage capabilities. To build its storage vertically, Homans reached out to a local dealership.
The team met with Homans’ Wilmington facility and provided the layout, design and development for all of the warehouse’s systems. Taking into consideration the warehouse’s 25-foot ceilings, they suggested 16- to 18-foot upright shelving systems to provide greater vertical storage capacity.
To help Homans’ order selector trucks pick from both sides of the 100-foot-long aisles (and heights up to 20 feet in the air), they designed aisles with 51- and 60-inch widths. The narrow aisles helped maximize horizontal and cubic storage, resulting in more products within a given space.
In addition, to accommodate Homans’ three end riders and electric counterbalanced lift trucks, they laid out aisles that were 12 to 14 feet wide in another section of the facility. In all, Homans leased 15 lift trucks for the facility.
The new warehouse design and equipment has delivered real results for the company. The ability to pick from both sides of the truck, immediately package the product and then continue on to the next order has significantly increased Homans’ order fulfillment efficiency and productivity.
By building up and using vertical space (rather than simply building out and increasing horizontal sprawl)—the insulation distributor has also minimized its real estate and construction costs.
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