Planning a Successful Move

Specialty Product Manufacturers' Storage Solutions for Seasonal Production Runs

In the specialty products marketplace, seasonal sales demands are a driving force in the production schedule. A manufacturer of collectible toys, for example, may only gear up to produce fluffy stuffed bunnies in January to ship out for Easter retail sales. January is the only time the bunny patterns, sewing jigs, accessories, and materials will be used—until next year when the production cycle is repeated. Setting up and breaking down the production line for this annual process could easily cause chaos and costly downtime. But with a well-organized plan for storing the parts and pieces in heavy-duty plastic storage bins, the annual transition can flow smoothly with minimal disruption.

Manufacturers and fabricators that use sturdy plastic containers to manage material, tools, and supplies for specialty production runs serve a wide variety of markets. From custom embroidered hat companies that gear up for baseball-season production to the wholesale florist suppliers who make thousands of evergreen wreaths for Christmas, effective storage solutions are critical. The decision to use heavy-duty plastic totes and bins as part of the management strategy for short-term projects has multiple benefits.

Protection from the Elements

Industrial-strength storage bins protect the contents from the dust and moisture that can damage their future viability.

  • Jigs and fixtures used for cutting patterns, fabrication, and assembly are often made of metal. Bin storage protects these items from corrosion that would make them unusable.
  • Tools and attachments such as cutters, stretchers, and clamps can be protected from moisture damage, warping, and breakage by the rigid walls of a sturdy container.
  • Materials such as thread, embellishments, and ribbon used only for infrequent production will have to be discarded if they are exposed to dust and particles. However, if the left-over material is wrapped and place in storage bins, it can be used in the next production run, thus saving money and time.

Better Space Management

Warehouse and storage space is always at a premium in a specialty-products manufacturing company. The squeeze for square footage is even greater when the company makes multiple items that require different setups for each production run. Stackable heavy-duty plastic containers give you space-saving options.

  • Free-standing. Stack the loaded bins directly on the floor. Always put the heaviest one on the bottom and the lightest on the top. You may need to redistribute the bin contents if any one of the containers is too heavy to safely handle.
  • Pallet racks. The storage bins may be stacked and strapped to a pallet and then placed on warehouse storage racks with a forklift.
  • Off-site storage. Plastic bins are easy to load in a van and place in a rented storage unit. Ideal for the tools and materials you only use once or twice a year, the storage space is also handy for keeping files, spare parts, and equipment that's not currently in use.

Inventory Management

Heavy-duty plastic storage bins are available in a variety of colors. Pack all the material related to a specialty production run in a single color so that it's easy to find when you do your end-of-year inventory or when you're ready to set up for the next round of manufacturing.

When the bins are being packed after a production run, create an itemized list of each container's contents. Affix the list to the outside of the container using a clear plastic sleeve with an adhesive backing. This allows your production team to quickly verify at a glance that all items are ready to roll before the production start date. Include the amount of material on each list (e.g., 400 yards red ribbon, 300 extra-large brass grommets, etc.) for reference when ordering supplies for the next production run. Also include relevant measurements, part numbers, and sizes for jigs, fixtures, and tools for easy location in case the items can be recycled for other production purposes.