A Project Four Years in the Making In January 2017, King County Facilities Management Division approached Workpointe with a project. They had the opportunity for a ground up reset of the way they handled boxed files, oversized documents, systems furniture parts and operations stores – along with consolidating divisions, reducing the footprint and overhead of operating out of multiple facilities. They needed to consolidate six buildings worth of archives and storage into one warehouse. The County looked toward Workpointe for a voice of experience to help guide them down the right path and solve multiple problems – we came to the table and shared all the knowledge we could offer in an open and trusting manner.
The project was phased into three segments to accommodate King County’s budget cycle, and in coordination with the expiry of the leases of the existing six buildings they were moving out of.
The phased planning also made sense due to the sheer volume of planning, coordination, and manpower, which only allowed for certain tasks to be completed at a time in a certain sequence.
One of the biggest challenges when starting a project like this was understanding the existing situation, all the existing locations, what they were storing, how they were accessing the items, and how much space they would need in the new facility for each Department.
The County came to Workpointe because they needed someone with inventory and warehouse design experience. With our extensive experience we were able to jump right in. Once we started working with The Capital Works Project Management Team, we essentially became an extension of the planning group and an integral part of the entire scope to deliver a completed project to each County Department and Division
No project of this size goes off without a hitch, and this project had some challenges we overcame that we were able to problem solve and, in the end, find more efficent and creative solutions. Within the building there was a room with a mezzanine level above, which was intended to be used by The Records Division for their dark storage. We spent months planning the spaces and auditing the existing location to get everything to fit. Unfortunately, after consulting with an engineer, review of the floor load determined that the space would exceed the allowable weight load per square foot. We had to find an alternative solution. Going back to the drawing board, we designed a high density mobile shelving system for the lower level of the space, which ultimately doubled the capacity of the lower-level space and allowed the entire collection to fit in one room, and the upper mezzanine was left completely untouched.
Designing the entire warehouse to accommodate all five County divisions and subdivisions, along with room for future growth was a huge design and planning challenge. King County Records required the largest amount of space, having around 100,000 records boxes, and a requirement for future growth of 20,000 boxes. We were able to accommodate this by shrinking the floor space and maximizing the high ceilings, utilizing 18’H shelving to maximize the use of the airspace, and we designed narrow aisles to limit the amount of wasted floor space. The narrow aisles were a safety concern for The County Team, so we worked with our vendor to provide order picking equipment that would be semi-automated using a line guide system. This allowed us to only utilize 3”-4” of clearance between the order picker and each side of the shelving aisles, which maximizes space use while also ensuring safety.
A COVID-19 Connection
King County Records moved 100,000 archive boxes from their Fir St location in Seattle to their new facility. The existing Fir St location was handed over to The City of Seattle Public housing department for future development. At the time, the building was completely vacant despite 2,000 empty sections of shelving. When COVID-19 hit our town, The City of Seattle decided to turn the building into an emergency homeless shelter. The project had to be completed in a short timeframe, Workpointe assisted by providing emergency labor for nine days to clear out all the shelving and clean the facility to be ready to house hundreds of beds. The project was a success, and The Salvation Army took occupancy of the space
We provided a complete turnkey solution, which included:
· Design & planning/CAD.
· Product procurement; high bay racking, high bay archive shelving, static shelving, mobile shelving, fork trucks, order pickers, line drivers, safety equipment, charging units for the fork and order picking trucks.
· Delivery and installation of all systems.
· Move services – 100,000 records boxes, and thousands of health records files.
· Labeling all 11,700 shelves.
· Scanning the records boxes in and out of the computer systems at each location.
· Seismic calculations