5 Signs That Your Shop Needs Lean Sheet Metal Storage

Published May 25, 2021

1. Wooden pallets stacked up at your facility

Tired of wooden pallets stacking up on the floor?

As today’s “industry standard,” steel is shipped to fabricators on wooden pallets. At LEAN, we challenge that “standard.” In fact, we believe wood has no place in a METAL fabricator’s building!

How much do you currently pay for your material to arrive on wooden pallets? Many facilities either don’t know, or think it’s just an unavoidable cost. But as the purchasers, you should understand these costs, and also understand what you can do to minimize them.

On average, we’ve found wooden pallets cost $35-$80 each, which adds up very VERY quickly. If you could save that money, how would you choose to re-invest it?

Replacing wooden pallets is exactly what we accomplish with our patented cartridges designed specifically to better protect the material and employees. Together, let’s say goodbye to the wood, and hello to the cost-saving LEAN cartridges!

Does this look familiar? $50 per pallet adds up fast!

2. Stacks of raw materials cover your floor space

Is your shop limited on space? Do you process a high volume of sheet metal on a weekly basis? Does the raw material storage footprint seem to be continuing to grow every quarter?

Faster lasers and punches offer additional capacity. To fill the capacity, you need material. And for material, you either need a LOT of space, or you need a high-density storage system to keep inventory organized, accessible, and contained.

The concept is very simple. Instead of storing raw sheet bundles on the floor, on cantilever racking, or standard pallet racking, we maximize the vertical space in your raw material bays to minimize the “sprawl” that faster cutting machines and increased customer demands have caused in the industry.

Need storage solutions for raw materials?

The Final Result

Freed up floor space, more room for fork operators, increased organization, and easy access to any stack of material!

Metal Rack Storage System

3. Operators searching for, then unburying the material they need

Operators using metal storage system

How much time do you waste over-handling material? How much does that cost?

If you perform a time-study for a two-week period, you might be shocked at how quickly the time spent (thus, $$) adds up!

Example Time Study: let’s say over the course of an 8-hour shift, an operator spends 55 minutes locating and then unburying the material he or she needs for today’s various jobs. Do you run two shifts? If yes, let’s double the 55 minutes to 110. Then x5 days/week = more than 9 hours per week, or 476 hours per year!! With our help, we can reduce that significantly by having all material organized and independently accessible.

That’s just a quick example, and it bodes the question: How would you choose to utilize the newly-created labor hours? You haven’t hired any additional people, but yet you have significantly increased the billable hours on your shop floor.

Material Handling solutions using metal racks

At LEAN, we provide solutions that eliminate as much time wasted as possible. We know that companies with a Lean mindset will realize the drastic increase of efficiency gained by using our storage racks when compared to the time wasted with traditional storage methods.

4. Machines not being fed to capacity while running

Have you recently invested in a new laser or other equipment?

With the development of fiber lasers, there have been some major changes in the speed/accuracy of cutting sheet metal. Their speed has truly changed the game! The faster cutting speeds mean they also need to be fed at a quicker rate to maintain maximum operating capacity.

And these machines are not cheap, so we need to maximize their beam time to meet (or beat) the budgeted ROI! To do you this, it’s absolutely necessary to have raw materials organized, staged, and ready to be loaded into your laser(s).

Our racks allow shops to have any thickness/type of material ready and accessible at a moments notice. This makes staging/organization/labeling easy for anyone, even during shift changes. Thus maximizing the time spent.

Our racks allow shops more flexibility

5. Safety concerns and damaged material

Have you had any safety incidents in the past year? We won’t share pictures, but we’ve heard of incidents with cantilever racking, broken pallets, and cuts from exposed corners. But the good news: all of these are avoidable!

And how many times have you seen damaged material? Whether it’s a bent corner that you need to program around, warped/stressed sheets that are problematic at both the lasers and the pressbrakes, or scratches from forklifts that need to be worked around… time & material = $$$!!

Again, the good news: these are avoidable!

Safety Concerns

Some of the most common risks that deal with sheet metal are:

Shifting/sliding sheets when moving stacks of sheets with a forklift
Tumbling loads when a wooden pallet snaps
Exposed corners for both employees and visitors
Scrapped material due to waviness, scratches, flared edges, bent corners, etc.

LEAN Sheet Metal Storage Solutions fixes these worries and allows you to focus on efficiency and profit.


Ask for a visit to our facility TODAY by reaching out to one of our project managers.

We are happy to show you around and introduce you to new ways to make your business more profitable.

Make Your Business More Profitable