Packing Smart with Smart Pack
Scott Bidwell, ASI President/COO
This month's e-newsletter shines a spotlight on VCK-SQL's Smart Pack feature. For our VCK-SQL clients, it's an important part of the monthly invoicing process, yet one that many customers have questions about or may not be utilizing. Because it's such a vital part of the operational process, we've made it this month's Tech Tip. One of the benefits of Smart Pack is that, just like you get more into a suitcase when you pack efficiently, Smart Pack enables your system to do more by running more efficiently because the search data is smaller.
Since we're talking about efficiency and maximizing space, I thought it would be appropriate to share a couple of resources available from industry leaders that talk about maximizing floor space. For the records center client, I've included an excerpt from PRISM International's brochure "Why Records Storage?" discussing considerations in choosing letter vs. legal sized files. For records centers, I've included an article from REB Storage Solutions International that discusses various warehouse system configurations. I think both include valuable information that can benefit your prospects and current clients, as well as your business if you're in the process of configuring warehouse space.
Lest we forget it's summer when most of us have some travel planned, I figured why not include some tips to make packing for a trip even easier and found this video with some very smart and very Cool Travel Hack packing tips.
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Letter vs. Legal
When making the business case for off-site storage with a prospective client, PRISM International's "Why Records Management?" brochure is filled with helpful facts and figures. For example, here are some considerations regarding legal sized files versus letter-sized files:
- According to the web site of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, legal-size file cabinets cost 13 percent more than letter-size for the upright variety and 28 percent more for the mobile or hanging file cabinets.
- Legal-size file cabinets require 16 percent more floor space than letter-size cabinets.
- Supplies for legal-size equipment cost more than letter-size equipment.
- Within the U.S. government, legal-size files require 20% more space (on average) to store off-site.
It is important to note that a standard records carton used by the offsite commercial records industry is designed to hold either legal size or letter size files (of course a carton will hold more letter size files than legal size files). ARMA International (Association of Records Managers and Administrators) was instrumental in its opposition to legal paper usage, to the degree that they sponsored an initiative called ELF (Eliminate Legal-size Files) to encourage the abandonment of legal sized paper and file usage.
Where real estate costs are expensive and available space is limited, the most effective and efficient type of filing equipment should be selected to maximize utilization per square foot for active and semi-active records management.
Because costs of storage can be greatly reduced by relocating records to less expensive non-office space and storing at a higher density than is achievable in an office environment, inactive and semi-active records with a low retrieval rate should be moved off-site as soon as possible.
Ratio is defined in the ARMA Glossary of Records and Information Management Terms as “the filing capacity expressed in cubic volume of records per square unit of floor space.”
In the case of a vertical filing cabinet, one should not only consider the physical space occupied by the cabinet itself but also the space necessary to effectively insert and remove files from the cabinet. 42 inches of clearance is a minimum recommendation in front of each vertical file cabinet. Each drawer holds 20 to 25 file inches of material. This equates to slightly more than 8 square feet of required floor space for a cabinet that will hold approximately 8 cubic feet of records. The floor space ratio for this type of equipment would thus be 1.0. When four, three or even two drawer vertical cabinets are used, it is clear that the ratio will dramatically decrease. In the case of a two-drawer cabinet, the ratio falls to approximately .36.
Source: PRISM International's "Why Records Management?"
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Catwalk vs. Order Picker System
Optimizing the space in your commercial records center is key to maximizing your monthly storage revenue. Therefore, your racking system needs to be designed and configured to help you achieve maximum use of cubic space within your facility. There are several factors to take into consideration when choosing the right configuration for your business:
- building height
- floor load capacity
- client activity level
- sprinkler layout
- current and desired equipment use
Choosing Your Storage System Type
Two common storage racking configurations are a catwalk system and an order picker system.
A catwalk system is a multi-level decking system utilizing narrow stairways and aisles to maximize overall storage density. Retrieval of boxes within a catwalk system can be performed manually by an unlimited number of personnel and can be aided with chutes, conveyors and lifts.
An order picker system uses high bay shelving and wider aisles to accommodate the use of a forklift or stand up order picker in retrieving and refilling boxes. Guide rails provide a track for the safe aisle alignment of equipment during the picking process. A high-rise order picker system allows for efficient multi-level retrieval of records cartons.
Source: REB Storage Systems International