Building Material Supplier Overcomes Logistical Constraints and Mother Nature to Increase Profitability

When Reeves Ace Hardware of Highlands, NC, sought to improve the efficiency and merchandising of their lumber and building material operations, some serious challenges hindered logistics, quality control, and profitability.

Inefficient storage had led to redundant handling of product, causing damage and depleting inventory.  Without a fully covered warehouse, rainfall and snowfall caused product damage. 

A lack of continuous rack space for display and storage also hindered merchandising and inventory management so customers could not readily see all products available, and shipping products to job sites was impeded.

In response, Reeves Ace Corporate President, Jeff Reeves; Manager Jim Luke; and Sales Manager John McCall identified several key objectives.  This involved creating a drive-through structure to provide additional storage without additional overhead, with wide aisles to ease loading, shopping, accessibility, and increased volume.

Reeves turned to LJS Solutions, known for its expertise in lumber and building material facilities. LJS regional sales manager, Bill Lawson teamed up with Steel King Industries, a manufacturer of warehouse material handling products to develop a unique solution, a cantilever rack supported building.

As both design engineer and manufacturer, Steel King was able to offer the sole-source responsibility, resulting in a seamless interface between engineering and manufacturing.  Additionally, the company is the only manufacturer of rack-supported buildings with in‐house P.E. qualified engineers.  

A cantilever rack supported building is more cost effective than a conventional metal building and freestanding racks because the racking supports the structure.  In regard to warehousing and material handling, cantilever rack is often used to maximize the storage density and selectivity of long, odd-shaped items such as lumber, doors, and pipe.  Unlike standard pallet rack, cantilever rack, with no obstructive front column, offers individual selectivity.  This lowers handling time and cost, and saves horizontal space normally lost to rack structure.

To identify the maximum allowable building size on the property, in compliance with building ordinances while optimizing lineal and cubic storage space, LJS Solutions worked closely with Reeves Manager Jim Luke, Sales Manager John McCall, Yard Foreman Justin Watson, and Steel King P.E. Anne Russell, with over 25 years of cantilever engineering experience.  The result would be a 100’‐long x 92’‐wide building with three double-sided runs of cantilever, including two drive aisles.  The building would also take advantage of an existing single-sided, 70’-long cantilever structure.

Functionally, a drive-through cantilever building was the best choice to meet Reeves’ needs, since the racks are compact, adaptable, and well suited to storing long or odd-shaped building materials.  In addition, installing the right system minimizes handling time and employee stress.

Russell’s design utilized strategic spacing of roof support columns, along with cost-effective roof girder and roof substructure.  The engineering resulted in a snow load of forty pounds per square foot that exceeded local code requirements.

The use of drive-through cantilever rack supported building has resulted in significantly better material handling, product protection, merchandising, and aesthetics. This has boosted profitability, the bottom line, and civic pride.

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Building Material Supplier Overcomes Logistical Constraints and Mother Nature to Increase Profitability

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