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Nine tips for getting the most out of your high density storage system
Tim Vaughan

High density storage is a great way to improve profitability in parts and service departments, while reducing time, labor and resource costs. High density storage uses less space and makes keeping track of inventory easier. Storing the highest volume parts where they can be accessed easily and quickly reduces transaction time and increases profitability. Replacing existing storage shelves with new high density storage units can reduce a parts department’s footprint by as much as 50 percent, while increasing the number of parts stored. Try these nine handy tips for implementing a high density storage solution and getting the most out of it.

1.      Start by finding out which are your fastest selling parts To discover the fastest moving parts, run a report from your business management system for the last12 months that shows your parts sales by unit volume. From that report, focus your attention on the parts that you have sold the most of in the last 12 months.  Store these parts as close to the parts counter as possible.

2.      Use a high density storage cabinet near the service counter Install a high density storage cabinet near the service counter, stocked with the 100 to 200 fastest moving parts. Make sure it’s within easy reach (two steps) of parts department personnel at each point of sale. The goal is to reduce the average transaction time, allowing both service department and walk-in customers to be processed more quickly. By keeping the parts that are sold most frequently close to the transaction counter, you reduce foot traffic and movement.  Time lost by having to go to the back room to find a part really adds up, increasing the average transaction time and resulting in lost customers and revenue. Storing these best sellers in high density drawers also gives better inventory control by giving parts personnel a visual inventory.

3.      Duplicate your fastest moving parts Consider duplicating your fast moving parts at each check out point on your parts counter.  So, if you have two walk up positions, have the same fast-moving parts in both locations.  Again, your goal is to reduce your transaction time, lowering your labor cost and improving your ability to have happy satisfied customers. 

4.      Organize your high density storage cabinets by type How parts are organized within the high density storage cabinet is also key. The most efficient way to store parts is by type.  For example, automobile dealerships should keep all the spark plugs together, as well as fuel filters, primer bulbs, pulleys, spindles, and springs.  Once labels have been affixed to the drawers and bins, anyone can locate a part more easily by visually finding it among like parts. Because 75-80 percent of all fast-moving parts can be stored in this effective way at the parts counter, retrieval time is significantly lowered. Consider organizing multiple manufacturers with similar parts together for easy cross referencing. When customers come in looking for parts, the parts clerk can open up the drawer that has a particular part, from a variety of manufacturers, stored in one place. They can select the correct one without having to rely on a time consuming parts look up function. Efficiencies achieved by high density cabinet storage systems organized this way can even reduce parts department staffing needs, greatly improving the return on investment for the new storage system.

5.      Select shelving that takes advantage of the power of high density storage You will want to purchase shelving for use with high density storage.  You are not going to want to store the bigger bulkier items in a cabinet.  A 5-inch cube or smaller is the optimum size to really take advantage of the power of high density storage.  Shelving is probably still the best option for storing larger, bulkier items.

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