vertical lift modules storing tactical equipmentWith an increasing number of materials, a supplier and rebuilder of combat and tactical equipment for the U.S. Army also wanted to combat their lack of space. In addition to space, they also wanted to be able to ensure the safety and ergonomics of their workers. The ultimate goal was to make employees’ jobs more enjoyable by eliminating many of the pains associated with their old shelving.

Jason Madore, a representative at Southwest Solutions Group, worked together with the supplier to design and plan a new storage system that would meet all of their needs. Read on to learn about how the VLMs were able to upgrade their storage and save space in their warehouse.

Before the VLMs

Materials and parts were placed on static pallet racking and custom-made pallet boxes where all storage and kitting occurred. Staff picked everything by hand. They traveled to locations in the warehouse via guided vehicles that no longer functioned. Their materials were also spread out over multiple warehouses. This caused delays and required extra resources and manpower to send or retrieve items from another warehouse.

The warehouse wanted to be able to save enough space to consolidate all of their storage into one. They also wanted a solution that would assist with picking and putting processes, managing inventory, and fulfilling orders. Any software solution also needed to be integrated into their existing LMP, a customized SAP system. With their static storage, it took about 48 hours to reset lines, pull parts, and pick new parts. Their goal was to complete 40 orders a day in one shift with 5-10 lines per order.

The Solution

The desire for compact storage, security, inventory management, and (most importantly) employee safety helped them decide on a solution. To meet all of their goals, they decided to install four nearly 30′ tall vertical lift modules (VLMs) in the warehouse.

VLMs combat equipment storageThe VLMs provide automated storage and retrieval on a grand scale in the building. It stores a huge amount of items, from small to medium parts. This includes anything from consumables, nuts, bolts, wire harnesses, and screws to heavy and bulky hardware. With the VLMs implemented, the warehouse experienced a 60% increase in floor space. Instead of storage, the area is used for more productive operations. With the ease of picking operations in the VLM and the extra warehouse space, employees are much more efficient and able to retrieve, construct, and ship more equipment faster. Because the supplier decided to consolidate their materials, they also didn’t need to spend time and resources transferring items between warehouses.

The picking and order fulfillment software installed with the VLM integrated seamlessly into their existing LMP. This allowed them to continue operations without any downtime while the system automatically tracked inventory and assigned storage locations.


The staff is extremely pleased with the system and SSG’s installation team, who concluded the project one month ahead of schedule.

The new VLMs secure all of their small to large parts in one machine instead of having needed parts in different locations across the floor, which took extra time to retrieve. The automated shutter door keeps supplies secured while not in use, which prevents pilfering or theft. It also provides additional protection from dust, dirt, or water that can damage contents.

They are now able to use their space to its full advantage and reach all of their production and shipment goals. The VLMs work so well, in fact, that the supplier plans to fill the entire room with over 30 machines.

Contact Us

Southwest Solutions Group provides design and installation services for vertical lift modules (VLMs) in all types of applications across all industries. No matter what you store, we want to help you upgrade your storage and save space. We will also provide you with a free consultation to determine your exact needs and specifications before the design process begins. To learn more or to speak with one of our specialists, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.