“The investment will repay itself within a three to four year timescale.”
Guy Mayhew, New Ways of Working Project Manager, Kent County Council
Kent County Council’s initiative, the ‘New Ways of Working’, was set up to increase the efficiency of the Council’s estate portfolio and enable agile working practices. Key to the West Kent phase was the closure of the Commercial Services facility in Kings Hill and the relocation of teams. One of these teams included the Libraries, Registration and Archives (LRA) service, which required a bespoke solution.
The proposed new home for the LRA service, a warehouse unit in Quarrywood Industrial Space, had a significantly smaller footprint, to help meet the Council’s cost saving targets. As a result, Guy Mayhew, New Ways of Working Project Manager, was looking for an innovative, space-saving solution to accommodate all the stock in a much smaller area.
“The function of the LRA store is to carry the reserve stock for libraries, Bookstart, records management service secure store, storage for music and drama sets, and so on,” said Guy. “We needed 3,000 linear metres of storage space.”
“I am extremely impressed with the Compactus Double Decker from Bruynzeel. Almost overnight, the system solved our problems relating to space. It will deliver long-term property savings and its flexibility allows us to adapt to changing business needs.”
Guy Mayhew, Kent County Council
Innovative Double Decker Mobile Shelving with Integral Mezzanine
“Within the budget parameters, we couldn’t find any space large enough to house this. Initially we looked as a single tier of roller racking 2.5m high,” he said. “That solution worked up to a point, but didn’t leave enough room around the storage for the large working area and medium sized office we required, all squeezed into a relatively compact space.”
Guy identified that a mezzanine floor was a potential solution to the problem. However, a structural mezzanine in the space was prohibitively expensive. It was then he came across Bruynzeel’s Double Decker mobile shelving system with integral mezzanine. “We were quite surprised how economical it was in comparison to the conventional mezzanine floor solution,” he said. “The investment will repay itself within a three to four year timescale – basically the reduced revenue costs of rent and rates over that time, when set against a larger warehouse space with a conventional storage layout.”
Ease of use a priority due to high pick rate
With up to 15 staff working in and around the Double Decker system at any one time, and with a very high pick rate as stock is redistributed to dozens of locations around Kent, ease of use was a priority.
“Staff receive requests for a couple of hundred books daily from Kent. There is extremely high turnover of stock in and out of the system, as well as the static stock as the council backup, so getting to the right bay quickly and easily is very important,” said Guy.
Bruynzeel’s Compactus Double Decker has a number of features that ensures Guy and his team have a simple-to-use system suitable for processing orders on a daily basis. The electronic motor drive in the Double Decker allows staff to move heavily stocked shelving at the touch of a button. Colour coded front panels on the aisles help staff to quickly identify where stock is stored.
Security and Lighting
Security was also an issue for the council. “The RFID tags, to restrict entry to certain bays for security, will be really useful in monitoring and controlling access,” Guy explained. The project team from the council were concerned about visibility in the bays, following the installation of a mezzanine. The Bruynzeel system has integral lighting, which solved this problem and also helps reduce overall energy bills as the lighting only illuminates when the aisle is open.
Bruynzeel worked closely with the Kent County Council team to ensure shelves were built to match the exact dimensions of the stock, thereby optimising capacity in the available space. A whole range of items, from printed material to resources like confetti, are stored in the bays, as well as large archive boxes for modern records. “We worked with Bruynzeel to produce the depth of shelving required,” said Guy, “and because the depths are variable and non-standard, we managed to cut the footprint considerably by tailoring them to our storage needs.”
Organisational Agility in Times of Change
Bruynzeel’s Double Decker system has met and exceeded the council’s requirements, providing more than 3,100 linear metres of shelving. In a world where organisational agility is becoming increasingly important, the Bruynzeel system fits perfectly with the needs of the council. “The bays are completely independent – you can divide the system into smaller elements. We really like its flexibility,” said Guy. “In times of change, and with changes on the agenda in local government, the ability to adapt to future needs is a great asset.”