Founded in 1926, family firm Hammonds has had a long and successful history in creating tailored storage solutions for the home improvements and new-build markets. Synonymous with market leading design, choice and a full-service solution, Hammonds tailor-makes its products for each customer to maximise even the smallest of spaces. Initially designing and manufacturing bespoke fitted bedrooms, the company has grown significantly and today offers a complete solution from the loft down to include home office furniture and storage solutions.
To create its bespoke range of furniture, Hammonds has stayed loyal to its British heritage and today has 57 showrooms across the UK. Each unit is manufactured from the company’s three purpose-built factories in Leicestershire which process in excess of 250 orders per day.
With its factories handling thousands of parts every day, Hammonds must ensure that materials and orders are available efficiently, safely and productively to maximise throughput. Following scheduled inspections at two of its sites, Hammonds needed to replace some Narrow Aisle Pallet Racking that had reached the end of its serviceable life and was no longer suitable for its intended purpose.
Stakapal was asked to provide a quotation for the project. Another racking supplier had already provided a costing on the racking but, while the specification met the customer’s immediate needs, it was very clear to Stakapal that it provided very little flexibility for Hammonds if stock requirements changed in the future.
“Although we work in the factory every day, we are not racking experts!” explains Steve Neal, head of manufacturing at Hammonds. “It’s very easy for a racking supplier to provide you with a quote for a like-for-like replacement and win a contract by offering the cheapest price.
“Stakapal take a different approach, helping you gain an understanding of not only what your requirements are now but what they might be in the future. Without you even realising it you end up with a much better solution than the one you had in mind when you asked for the quotation.”
Having worked with the company for the last 20 years supplying and maintaining its Cantilever Racking systems, Stakapal could use its experience and knowledge of the company to design a bespoke solution. They worked closely with Hammonds to understand what products were currently being stored, their height and weight and the location and size of the storage space.
“Stakapal has worked with manufacturing industries for over 55 years supplying a full range of racking and storage solutions that meet their requirements,” confirms Chris Humphreys, joint MD at Stakapal. “As Full Members of SEMA (Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association), we can also provide additional reassurances for our customers that our products have been independently assessed to guarantee they are designed, manufactured and installed to SEMA codes and industry standards.”
At the Nutts Lane site, Hammonds wanted the option to store Euro Pallets and Stakapal instantly recognised that the company’s current racking, which sits at nine metres high with a bay loading of six tonnes, didn’t have enough depth or strength for these pallets.
Stakapal’s Pallet Racking is a flexible storage solution which is ideal for bulk and heavy items in both internal and external areas. It is available in three different post types which enables Stakapal to offer an extensive range of racking frame load capabilities.
The new system has a common beam length of 2700mm with a maximum bay load of 18,000kg. The Fleming Road racking, meanwhile, is five metres high with 3350mm beam spans and is used for the storage of mouldings, with a maximum bay load of 15,000kg.
The new design will future-proof the racking for Hammonds, enabling them to create additional beam levels and maximise the racking in terms of expansion by storing more pallets or heavier products.
For any company to remain profitable it is essential for operations to continue running smoothly, and this is especially true within a manufacturing environment.
“Dismantling and installing new racking can be incredibly disruptive to a busy factory environment, creating numerous problems,” agrees Hammond’s Steve. “You’ve got to move the stock to gain access, decide where deliveries of the new racking will go, what access and egress points there are. At the same time, you also have to keep your employees and racking suppliers safe!”
Working on Narrow Aisle systems can make dismantling racking more challenging for the installation teams, especially when they are nine metres high with a limited 2500mm space to work in. The Nutts Lane racking also had the additional problem of a fabricated mesh screen which had been welded to the back of the racking, making the dismantling process additionally hazardous. The installation team had to circumnavigate the racking out through a working production facility before moving it out of the building.
Stakapal’s in-house installation team are SEIRS registered, a key initiative from SEMA which is recognised as a best practice example of the industry regulating itself. SEIRS installers undergo a rigorous training scheme which covers all Health & Safety aspects for the industry and trains on correct installation methods.
Chris explains: “We organised a pre-site meeting with our Installation Manager, Steve, and their Health & Safety representative which gave everyone the opportunity to understand the complexity of the job in hand. This enabled a very detailed and comprehensive Risk Assessment and Method Statement to be provided, with all parties having a full understanding of the work to be undertaken.”
Careful planning on both of these projects resulted in a smooth installation with no disruption to the running of the factory nearby.
Steve confirms: “One of the big advantages of using Stakapal is that they provide the full service – they don’t just sell you some racking, put it up and then go! Stakapal worked closely with us to ensure that they had covered every small detail – they even covered some areas that we hadn’t even thought of!
“Racking is a substantial investment for any company, and you need to make the correct choice. By working with Stakapal, we now have a racking solution that not only suits our requirements now but essentially will grow with us as the company expands.”