It’s amazing how many parts warehouses across Australia still have boxes or tubs on shelves to store their smaller spare parts

Perhaps it is the erroneous ideas that boxes on the shelves are easier to access, that they keep your parts in the best order, or that they are significantly cheaper than other options, which fuel the persistance of warehouse managers in choosing this storage method for small to medium spare parts. Australia, we can do better!

At BAC Systems, we proudly promote the alternative and, in our opinion, superior solution for small spare parts storage – the BAC High Density Drawer Storage Cabinet.

BAC Drawer Storage Cabinets allow you to select your drawer heights and the dimensions of your adjustable internal partitions – you get to choose the “bin” size you want to use for your parts, and this can be adjusted over time if the size of your parts changes. This is a very important factor, because a BAC Drawer Storage Cabinet lasts so long that it is likely that your inventory will change multiple times during the many decades that a BAC Cabinet serves your business.

It is worth spending a moment to review the claims for using bins on shelves and debunking the myths. Starting with ease of access, there is a difference between pulling out a BAC Drawer on extremely smooth bearings, that is supported so that it cannot tip at any point in its travel, with the action of drawing out a tub sitting on a steel shelf with no bearings and nothing but your own wit to prevent you from pulling too far and spilling the contents on the floor. It is true that the drawer is definitely safer to access, and your parts within are instantly visible, with internal location labelling and full visibility. With boxes, you only have full visibility if you have only one item type in the box and if you waste so much space in setting up your shelves so that there is a ‘vision-gap’ above each box that causes you to use six times more volume than you need. Or, if you pull your box all of the way out, risking tipping the box.

With regards to order: by far, the most disorderd warehouses we come across are those which use boxes on shelves, as these units encourage bad storage practices, such as multiple lines in the same location and pickers lazily throwing parts into the wrong location. Drawer Storage encourages the use of unique locations, and the easy-to-see label flanges at each location help you quickly identify the part number or relevant identifier.

Finally, addressing the cost of each option requires a big-picture look. Firstly: it is true that a bay of shelving with bins costs far less than a cabinet with drawers and partitions, but this must be balanced against the fact that a cabinet with drawers holds far more parts on the same footprint. The ratio starts at about three bays of shelves to one BAC Drawer Cabinet, but we have anecdotal evidence of a 16:1 ratio. Obviously, this depends upon your parts and how you would have intended to arrange your bins on shelves, but, in choosing a BAC Systems Drawer Storage Cabinet, you can find that the value for money is quickly being realised.

There are additional costs savings that you will realise through the life of the storage system. For example, you will find that you won’t be forced to rennovate/expand/relocate your parts store as quickly, due to your inventory being significantly compressed in the drawer cabinets, saving you potential money on real-estate. Additionally, as your stock footprint is compressed, the reduction in the picker’s walking distance means that you can actually pick more parts in a day (yes, those small savings in distance travelled add up pretty quickly!). So, your up-front investment is actually very similar for each solution, but it is the ongoing savings that realise value for money for the savvy parts manager who engages the BAC Systems team to help him set up an efficient parts store with partitioned BAC Drawers.