What comes to mind when you think about “storage?” Is it a closet you are scared to open for fear of the avalanche of stuff, an obstacle course of squeezing between wire shelving and stretching your arm so that your fingertips might be able to graze the top of that item you need in the back corner, or maybe just a black hole where things go but never return from? In my past life as a project coordinator in an A/E firm, I saw firsthand a lot of these scenarios as end users would show their existing spaces and problems. “We need more storage” was a staple comment at every user group meeting. From the design perspective, storage rooms were programmed larger and in greater quantity, but inevitably as the design and floor plans evolved, one room would turn into an electrical closet while another would continue to have inches taken here and there for adjacent spaces whose growing equipment list demanded additional square footage. The rooms labeled as storage might still look functional on paper, but over time, those rooms would become the same overcrowded, inefficient spaces where staff had trouble locating items and squeezing between a cart and the door swing.
Everyone talks about storage and generally says “more!”, but how well is it really planned for? It is easy to fall into the trap of designating spaces for storage without giving much thought to what those spaces are storing, how often they need to be accessed, how they are stocked, etc. I think back to the first time my husband and I went to the Container Store. He said “Wow, they have solutions for problems I didn’t even realize we had.” We thought we were maximizing the storage in our own home, until we saw so many new solutions we would have never considered. This is often the same scenario in commercial design. Sometimes as designers we fall into the trap of just drawing standard casework in a space like we did on the last five designs, or just marking a room as storage to be filled with the same old wire shelving. But what if there is a better way? A storage consultant like the team at Patterson Pope can work with you to truly plan the best storage solutions for specific applications.
Poor storage has negative effects in every market, increasing inefficiencies which lead to lost revenue and heightened operating costs. Every added square foot in a floor plan comes at a price, so no one wants to be careless with adding space. It is important to learn that “more” isn’t always the answer, but rather designing the right system for each application can help to solve many of these problems.
Consider healthcare facilities. Research suggests nursing staff experience an average of 8.4 work system failures per 8-hour shift, and one of the top five failures is lack of supply inventory or finding supplies. This reduces the time each staff member can spend with patients, which in turn adversely affects patient recovery times. Maybe CoreSTOR, a nurse server at the point of use, is an option a facility might want to consider when planning for a new facility or major renovation. Nursing staff do not have to leave the patient room for supplies, eliminating all the time spent hunting and gathering supplies at central clean storage rooms. Or perhaps FrameWRX might be the right fit, which can often double the amount of supplies that can be kept on the patient floors in supply rooms. You can read more about other great healthcare solutions such as the Vidir Bed Lift and Hanel Rotomat vertical carousel in recent blog posts. And these are just a few of the many options that could help a healthcare facility to maximize storage, allow staff to dedicate more time to patients and streamline operations.
Universities are another great example of a market that can really benefit from maximizing every inch of available storage space. A campus is essentially a small city within itself. It has libraries, athletics programs, music programs, and campus security departments among others. Books, instruments, sports equipment, uniforms, evidence – all types of media to be stored with unique sizes, shapes and needs. Many campuses are growing faster than they can build, and some are becoming landlocked. High-density mobile systems are a great option for doubling the amount of storage fixed shelving can achieve in the same footprint. With all of the customizations that can be done to these systems, they are an excellent option for books, instruments, all those athletic items and more.
The list goes on for markets such as public safety, industrial, museums, general business…this is the value in Patterson Pope’s team of experts. We can help architects, designers, facility planners and other professionals make the best planning decisions for storage in any market, which allows the end user to truly maximize the storage space available to them.