The conversations in our webinar series have often turned to industry changes brought on by innovation, globalization, and demand. However, we can’t ignore the still crucial, albeit supporting, role that traditional material handling equipment still plays. So we were particularly keen to talk with Greg Caron, territory regional manager with Heartland Steel Products (HSP) responsible for SpaceRak Division and Heartland Engineered Products Division.

Staying competitive in the 21st century

While SpaceRak Division offers pallet racking solutions of all kinds, Heartland Engineered Products Division (HEP) provides platforms, stairways, and safety products such as headers, guardrails, rack guards, and safety bollards. These two companies each provide different services to the same industries.

When discussing the many benefits of combining the resources of the two companies, the first one that comes to Caron’s mind is that of delivery to the West Coast. In the past, HEP struggled to meet its own high standards. “Everything,” he explains, “was manufactured in, and shipped from, Harrison, Ohio.” Now, HEP is able to manufacture their products in Lodi, California. “This isn’t just saving our customers the time and money it would take to ship from Ohio to the West Coast. It’s also allowing us to meet our personal standard – and the promise we give to our customers – of on-time delivery.”

Changing goals and resources

HSP is proud of their 99% on-time record, and for good reason. They understand that their customers and partners are working under intense pressures, trying to keep tight schedules. Whether they are constructing a new facility, updating an older building, or replacing damaged parts, they need their suppliers to show up on time with the goods promised. And Caron is confident that HSP will move forward and both SpaceRak and HEP Division will be better positioned to meet their partners’ needs.

When asked for an example, Caron is quick to talk about Heartland’s popular line of stairways. “I don’t think you can buy a better staircase,” he says. “And now that we can manufacture them in Lodi, we’ve become an even more valuable partner, able to get these products to our clients more quickly, with a more precise delivery date.”

Solutions for an ever-present problem

No matter how advanced automation becomes, no warehouse will be able to function without storage. “At SpaceRak,” says Caron, “we not only offer all the systems you see in the market – roll-formed rack, structural rack, drive-in/drive-through, pallet flow – but we can also engineer systems specifically for a facility.”

One area in which SpaceRak has added value is in their ability to provide hybrid racking systems. Their engineers can mix structural-frames with roll-formed beams, or pallet-flow systems with structural components on the outer limits, and many other combinations of traditional racking systems. “These hybrid systems,” Caron explains, “offer our partners more flexibility in the materials used in a project, in the costs of installing their new system, and in how the space in their facility is used.”

To make the different pieces of the hybrid systems work together, the right information has to be collected at the very earliest stages of the project. According to Caron, it’s when the quote is being put together that all of the tolerances and other requirements have to come to light. “Only when all of these things are known,” says Caron, “can they be combined to make a successful project.”

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