I've seen in a few different places hardware racks and bins where a
vendor keeps the supply stocked. My partner and I spend too much time
digging through assorted piles of crap looking for common hardware, and it's
really annoying me. The cost of the part is piddling compared to the cost
of our time.
What are some of the folks that do this, what is it called, and can
anyone offer me some pros and cons of having this done? Are there any folks
in the Seattle area that do this (I know there is, just don't know who) and
are there any recommendations for one or the other?
I think it was a smarmy comment on the sentence structure of the OP's
Nothing really helpful or useful.
To my eye, the OP has two problems. One is houskeeping, the other is
that he does not have a well organised area for his consumables.
For the houskeeping, I'd suggest a cold hearted look at what is laying
about the place, and some time spent organising it, or disposing of it.
Bolt bins are available full or empty, and common hardware is cheap in
boxes of a hundred. A couple bolt bins of matched up hardware, and a
couple pre printed faxable order forms and stocking issues are dealt
with before coffee.
A couple empty bolt bins set up with special hardware can deal with
commonly used small items, other than nuts and bolts stuff.
I have dealt with consumption point style bins with min and max
quantities, maintained by people within our large organisation. In some
situations that can work, but it is smoother if someone with a knowledge
of the usage (both normal and unusual) has a hand in, so that you don't
end up running perpetually short of some items, or not have enough on
hand when you need them for a big job.
I can only see a vendor managed system like this working economically,
if the vendor is going to see profit through high prices, high volume,
or both. $$$
I can be boring and not get my point across. Ar Ah cain tawlk lak Ah
got me a pubik schewl edukashun. Your pick.
I'll drop the topic there; no need to stir the pot any further.
I took this job this summer, and in the process I inherited a sort of a
warehouse area with stuff in tub skids and on pallets, and no suitable
shelving. The few cabinets were full of stuff that last got sorted out in
1993, most of which has no use to our current work. I'm about halfway
through it all, sending out a ton of stuff to the trash pile and staging
even more to head out to our surplus site after everyone else gets to pick
through it. Making good progress, but I can only do so much if I don't have
any shelving to sort keepable stuff onto.
Exactly what I'm doing, all the while keeping several other projects
going at the same time. My boss is sitting on a list of storage racks and
such that I want, getting ready to submit a request for money to get this
and pay for consolidating another lab into ours. Those wheels are turning
slow, but I want to be able to look over the numbers and see if it will all
fit, or I just need to sit down and try to figure out how to set up
I work for a really f'ing big company, but our organization is a hole in
the wall in a dark corner, for the most part. Most folks here have been
here a long time, and it wasn't until I asked to have the briars growing
over the fence cleared did it finally dawn on them that the whole damn place
wasn't far from overgrown. So I have to say that I've been able to nudge
into motion some good things, but I don't know how much I can push. Then
again, shortly after I hired in I asked a few questions and the response to
every one was: "Whatever you think you have to do."
The hard thing is that we use lots and lots of different things in R&D.
Hardware in sizes from 4-40 to 1" and up (in steel, brass, nylon, and
stainless, and now, metric!) with wires in our lab ranging in size from 36
ga to what they call locomotive cable, which I haven't had the pleasure of
working with yet, and all kinds of signal cabling in between. Every day
it's something different, and I hate waiting for several days for someone
with the checkbook to get the stuff I need, then waiting for even longer for
it to arrive. My boss mentioned getting my partner and I that card, but I
won't believe it until I see it, as he's a really, really busy guy. At any
rate, the fellow I replaced and the other tech with me didn't seem to think
too much about using the right hardware (or tools made for the job!) so I'm
gently trying to change the culture. Being the new guy, there's only so
hard I can push and prod.
If I were to start with the basics that every small hardware store has,
that would be a great start for me!
I got a call into Bowman, from Barnes Distributors, and hopefully their
rep can help me put a proposal together. Wish me luck.
Much clearer picture!
I feel for you, too!
Sounds to me like you need a couple guys on there full time just on
the logistics side of things. I have been party to a couple
rationalizations of parts and supplies when shops have merged. Theres a
plain shitpile of work in something like that, and that work pales in
comparison to starting fron chaos.
Vidmar bins! I like open storage, but none of it can store the volume
and variety of parts that you can store in a couple vidmars, if you have
to deal with small stuff a lot.
Of course organising and having such a treasure trove is only half the
battle. the other half is keeping it organised in use, so that it does
not turn into chaos-inna-box!
Good luck! Sincerely!
Actually, when the project it all came from shut down somewhere around
1990, millions of dollars worth of really expensive stuff (really big free
electron laser project that burned through millions. Shoulda started small
then worked their way up. Electron beam quality was a subject not well
understood at the time, but having started big, problems were that much
harder to solve. Now they're using what's called a COIL laser mounted to a
747 to do the same thing. Still a big project, but the issues had all been
addressed on a smaller scale first) headed for the door, and lots of people
spent a lot of time sorting out and inventorying thousands of parts. I
figure they keps about a quarter of it all, and of that I'm having to decide
what's keepable and what's not. I just threw what was once several
thousands of dollars worth of 74 series IC chips in several boxes and put it
all on the outgoing pile. Some customer at Surplus Sales is going to be one
very happy person finding that enormous trove of hobby treasure. That was
just _one_ cabinet! I'm getting there, it will just take awhile. Hopefully
I'll have it mostly done progress before I get told it all has to be cleared
out in a week, meanwhile there's other hot projects burning up my hours at
So I really like Vidmars, to a certain degree. Well laid out is
excellent, but my problem with them is the same problem common to all
drawers. It's too easy just to toss crap in the drawer, shove it closed,
and put the mess out of your mind. I'm guilty of it probably more than many
of us, too. Have a look at my garage! I like Akro bins, where you can move
stuff around without handling the hardware, but they also have their
problems such as spillage and breaking. That was the thinking that had me
build a tool rack for my garage last summer that was made of vertical panels
mounted to drawer slides. Took up a two foot square footprint, carries a
gob of tools no rollaway could, kept things reasonably arranged, and
prevented me from just throwing something in there. Shouldn't have used
strandboard, though, which was a bad ecomomic decision at the time. Can't
keep a nail too well for hanging stuff up. I need to do another one, but do
it better next time, assuming I can find the time.
I actually enjoy engaging my curiosity about what's what and where, and
what it might have been for, but the sheer volume is intimidating. There's
so much of it I can't seem to be able to work one spot all the way through
to the end, but I sorta do a little here and a little there. I find more
stuff and where I can organize it better, but it takes me longer. I like
having lots of stuff to pick from when figuring out how to do a project that
has to get done right away but there's no time for someone to run off to the
store and get me what I need, but how many folks need a box full of itty
bitty boxes with a BNC connector and a switch on it? I've got piles of
little Acopian 5 volt 30 milliamp supplies, and power supplies I won't get
I had done a project at my previous shop that I reduced the quantity of
hardware we had in the area for production (I used to wire up 767's,) put
stuff where it needed to be, had provisions for easy maintenance (even when
gone for seven months I came back to a system that almost maintained
itself!) saved a ton of time chasing parts, and so on and so forth. It
required a lot of knowledge of our processes (ten years in the same area
helps a bit) and a reasonably stable process, but it was a great success,
and still is in my absence, I believe. In my current job, stability is a
term we use when discussing hardware and system quality, and can never be
applied to our job itself. Every day is something new, which I like a lot.
Just about every hobby, job, and skill I've ever had, from heavy equipment,
electronics, robotics, automotive, aviation, industrial electrical, weighing
systems, industrial ink jets, and so, has had an impact on this job and how
I do it. I didn't know anything about extreme magnetics, cryogenics, high
temperatures, superconductivity, particle accelerators, or other weird shit
like that when I started, so I didn't start completely in the know, either.
How to decide what to put where is one of those great unknowns, too, and
that's a tough one that will take me the rest of my career to figure out.
It'll be fun regardless of how it turns out, that I know for sure.
Thanks, and I really mean that. I wish more folks had jobs as cool as
this one. Got off my antidepressants, too!
"college english"? The title just swished right over your head, didn't it?
No wonder you can't find anything, if you think what you originally
posted was a model of clarity, you have a very untidy grasp of
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
I didn't either (have any problem understanding the OP). If you're
going to be serious about grammar policing, you're going to be busy.
There are some post'ers here who are nearly incoherent. So bad that I
generally just skip their posts rather than try to figure out what
they're saying. Bob
I couldn't keep from weighing in on this, despite that buttwipe on one
shoulder advising me otherwise.
Actually, I didn't go to college, other than a very painful but passing
whack at calculus 101, but my wife and I are pushing my kids to go and do
better. Without a good education, or the right breaks in life, you can wind
up with a painful life of surgeries to correct occupationally incurred
issues, such as bad knees, shoulders (one chopped on already, the other I'm
trying to hold off with this new job) and so on, which many of us are
painfully aware of.
Despite the dubious "handicap" of not having a college education, I do
consider my writing skills to be much better than a whole lot of college
students and other far= more educated folks. I've read enough crap put out
by highly educated but nonetheless illiterate ignoramuses (not speaking of
iggy!) to know better. While when I wrote the original message I knew it
was a bit long, but for those who can retain the entire sentence in their
brain by the time they get to the period at the end, it's actually readable
and clear enough that I felt I made my point with less wordage than I could
have. I'm known for getting wordy, too. As an opening post, I didn't feel
the need to explain myself more than necessary, because lengthy explanations
cause folks to skip over the issue without offering any thoughts. I don't
think anyone will have an issue with that. If anyone does, I'd like to hear
about it, so we can all dissect the sentiment.
And I can take it, as I've put up with far worse. I'm also in a good
BTW, I won't criticize anyone else's composition ability unless they put
themselves up on a wobbly pedestal trying to show themselves as being holier
What you wrote was fine. I recently reviewed several resumes from candidates
with master's degrees and was appalled by obvious and numerous spelling and
grammatical errors. These candidates were born in America and went to fairly
Check with your nearest FASTENAL store. They may even supply the bins if
the volume is there.
There is an outfit called MIDWEST FASTENER that does all the hardware at the
supply store. They do the stocking, maintain the inventory levels, etc.
Their stuff is not cheap,
but there is a bunch of variety.
If it's just nuts and bolts, check with the local fastener companies. Most
of them have outside
sales people on established routes.
--One of the 'technical' terms for this are "rack jobbers"; i.e. a
company with a line of products brings a rotating rack with all of their
line on it, then periodically reappears to restock, so that the shopkeeper's
duties are simply to sell the stuff and be done with it. Rack jobber
probably tracks sales via barcode or some such.
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : There's never a tachikoma
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : around when I need one!
That's what you will believe until you experience the "Premier Push" - the
practice of pushing the nuts/bolts to the back of the bin in order to make
it look as though you need another box of 100.
Just imagine a truck shop with more than 500 1/4-20 nuts in the bins....
Then, there is the "appreciation programs" in which your shop foreman
receives points for every one of YOUR dollars he spends with the company.
Guess who pays for THAT?
Been there....Done that.
Now, once a month, I inventory my hardware and put in an order locally -
buying no more and no less than *I* believe I'll need - not what the vendor
believes he needs to sell me.
Also, dealing locally, I can easily head down to the store and pick up
anything I might have run out of - long before the order-writing buffoon
from Premier, Lawson, Kent, Bowman, etc. shows up again.
Vendor managed inventory may work in some applications, but most vendors do
not have a clue as to what is scheduled in your shop, or what your needs
are - other than how many nuts and bolts you currently have in your
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