Vertical Storage & Retrieval Systems Save Lab Space
Storing laboratory specimens and supplies in the right type of storage can be a difficult and time-consuming task. The right storage can mean the difference between quickly and efficiently retrieving needed items or having to spend valuable time searching for them. When an integrated health care and maintenance organization decided to consolidate its laboratory regional testing operations, they looked at alternative storage solutions and decided on vertical storage and retrieval systems to store lab supplies, specimens, and slides more efficiently and in less space than static racks and shelving.
Static Shelving Vs. Vertical Carousels & Lifts
Prior to the consolidation, regional testing had to be conducted at four separate facilities. This caused duplication in ordering supplies, and the rack and shelving system required a large amount of floor space. Ergonomics was also a concern for employees who routinely retrieved slides and tissue blocks, which had to be retained for ten years. One rack of 100 slides stored on traditional shelving in drawer-style racks weighed about thirty pounds, and the constant bending and reaching to retrieve these racks was a potential source of employee fatigue and injury.
The vertical storage and retrieval systems kept the construction costs of their new facility low with the added benefit of inventory management and control software to improve space efficiency and prevent order duplication. Two dual-access vertical carousels were installed back-to-back to provide storage for biopsy slides and tissue blocks, which were previously stored in drawers and racks that required 1,200 square feet of floor space. The vertical carousels now store them in about 246 square feet (including the access area), resulting in an 80% floor space savings.
An additional refrigerated vertical carousels stores reagents at optimum temperatures. Three vertical lift modules store lab supplies such as gloves, masks, and lab coats. The refrigerated vertical carousel and three vertical lift modules only occupy about 712 square feet, a 74% space reduction from their previous storage area.
Improving Accuracy, Ergonomics, & Productivity
The vertical storage and retrieval systems have provided additional ergonomic and productivity benefits to employees, who no longer need to search shelving and racks for what they need. Lab supplies, specimens, and slides are automatically delivered to employees at the push of a button, eliminating the need for anyone to bend or reach to retrieve items. Since pick lights automatically indicate the specimen, sample, or slide that has been requested, accuracy has also improved.
Inventory management has also helped the lab stay on top of ordering and rotating stock, preventing them from stock-outs, overstocks, duplications, and throwing out expired items. Manual restocking is unnecessary, and the vertical storage and retrieval systems automatically direct operators to the location of the items that is earliest to expire.
Thanks to improved inventory control and management, only one logistic specialist needs to spend about four hours per week ordering and restocking the system, compared to their previous six technicians spending each spending one and a half hours per week ordering supplies. This has resulted in a 56% improvement in productivity.
Contact Us for Vertical Storage & Retrieval Systems
Southwest Solutions Group® provides design and installation services for vertical storage and retrieval systems for storing lab supplies, specimens, and slides. We will also provide you with a free consultation to determine your exact storage needs and specifications before the design process begins. To learn more or to speak with a specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.