Records management is a rapidly growing and highly competitive business that is dominated by a few large players. However, Sydney-based Access Records Management is succeeding against much larger national competitors by providing exceptional service levels, with guaranteed delivery in under two hours to anywhere in metro Sydney.
Dale Rockell, Access Records’ general manager, said the company had created its own niche in the document storage market over the past 20 years by providing unmatched service to more than 400 professional customers including legal firms, insurance companies and the like. “The type of customers we have often require their documents at a moment’s notice, so our business is about meeting those requirements faster and more reliability than any of our competitors,” said Mr Rockell.
Access Records is located at Botany, less than 20 minutes from the Sydney CBD. The business relocated to its current site in 2001, with constant growth necessitating further expansion. “Our choice was to look for new premises or expand our current location. Fortunately for us, an adjacent property became available late last year,” said Mr Rockell.
“We pulled down the wall between our buildings and have been able to almost double our storage capacity, from 280,000 cartons up to more than 450,000, which will help support our growth strategy for the next couple of years,” he said.
Smart storage system design
A key enabler for Access Records is smart storage systems that enable the company to meet its demanding order turnaround times. All cartons and storage locations are barcoded, ensuring full traceability of all document movements.
Cartons are fed in and out of the storage system by an integrated conveyor, which delivers cartons to various parts of the multi-level structure. “We sat down with our storage equipment supplier and asked them to come up with a cost-efficient design that would maximise space efficiency, provide safe and easy access to all storage locations, and meet increasingly stringent fire safety regulations,” said Mr Rockell.
Archive storage decks
“When it came time to deciding on the type of shelving we wanted for the new warehouse, our supplier recommended MantaMESH DOCUDEK archive storage decks, rather than the particleboard shelving we had traditionally used,” said Mr Rockell.
“We were unsure about how wire mesh decks would perform, so MantaMESH provided us with a couple of prototypes to make sure they suited our operation,” he said. The products feature twice as many longitudinal wires as normal wire mesh decks. This prevents the edges of cartons from catching or snagging on cross wires, and also distributes the load from the carton over a greater area, eliminating any problems associated with the heavy cartons embedding into the wires.
Dale Rockell is satisfied with the wire mesh decks and is now considering progressively retrofitting wire mesh decks to the remainder of the existing rack structure. “It gives us a vastly superior fire safety solution than solid shelving. It also improves the overall appearance and ambient lighting throughout the installation. It prevents dirt and dust building up on shelves, and our people find it easier to slide cartons on and off the DOCUDEK than on particleboard,” he said. “I also expect the system to provide maintenance-free operation for as long as the racking stands, unlike particleboard shelving which tends to warp and sag over time.”
Innovative flooring system
“One of the concerns we had when designing the multi-level storage system was to make sure the suspended floors felt solid and secure,” added Mr Rockell.
The storage system equipment supplier’s solution to the problem was to utilise a new type of steel grid flooring panel. Supporting the steel grid flooring panels required the storage system supplier to manufacture special U-shaped hangers. The U-shaped hangers sit over the rack beam and support the steel grid flooring panels from below, keeping the flooring panels flush with the MantaMESH DOCUDEK, enhancing OH&S.
“Our storage system supplier and MantaMESH worked well together to deliver a cost-effective storage solution that meets or exceeds all of our requirements, and gives us a great platform from which to further grow our business,” he said.