Maximum effective utilisation of available space is both a necessity and a challenge at any organisation, regardless of location, trade, function or purpose.

Be it a company looking to fit more people into an office, a restaurant trying to fit more tables onto the floor or a distribution centre attempting to fit those extra SKUs in the warehouse, everyone is looking at ways to maximise their utilisation of all available spaces in the most effective manner possible.

At APC Storage Technology, this has been the driving force since their foundation in 1972.

Specialising in storage solutions both big and small, APC Storage Technology works closely with their customers to design the most appropriate and effective system for all their storage requirements. Everything imaginable from reams of paper and crates of beer, through theatrical costumes and vintage washing machines, to fragile ancient Indigenous wooden canoes and spears – whatever the item, APC Storage Technology has always come up with an optimum solution, although some were admittedly easier to solve than others.

APC Storage Technology recognises that due to the vast distances involved in the multitude of locations served, the concept of Just-In-Time purchasing and delivery is a very different proposition in a Metro office than in Far North Queensland or WA’s Kimberley Region. Often due to the length of the supply chain, proportionally more stock is required to be held to offset the replenishment time, particularly with FMCG, perishables and the like.

It was exactly this situation in the Northern Territory that APC Storage Technology was tasked with resolving for the Palmerston Regional Hospital near Darwin. Due to the location and being at the end of a very long supply route, its requirement to stock a large variety of medical consumables and supplies for a multitude of needs, many with a short shelf life and variable demand levels, increased the pressure to maximise storage space.

Pharmacy shelving

In addition to the in-house, purpose-designed, state-of-the-art pharmacy shelving system, there were the more usual storage requirements for a major hospital, such as the Uni-Shelving static steel shelving, static wire shelving, both clinical and non-clinical specialist trolleys and wire baskets, which APC Storage Technology with their WA manufacturing base was able to custom-make to size.

Specialist non-clinical custom made trollies

However, there was also the challenge to create something different to meet specific needs for easy disinfection, maximum use, easy access shelving with excellent visibility and unimpeded floor access, including the possibility of wheelchair access. These unique requirements led APC Storage Technology to design the ‘Top-Track’ mobile storage system.

As both manufacturers and suppliers of the Ezi-Slide mobile shelving system and wire grid shelving, APC Storage Technology chose the logical option of integrating the two, resulting in the transformation of the light, airy wire rack shelving system into a sliding mobile shelving system.

However, due to the nature of access required to the specialist medical supplies it would contain, an unobstructed floor was needed throughout the system. To resolve the problem, APC Storage Technology literally turned the entire concept (and system) on its head, and so the Top-Track system was born.

By mounting the wire grid mobile shelving system on a custom in-house designed and manufactured overhead track, then adding directed castors within a self-supporting housing system, APC Storage Technology was able to provide extra strength, while further enhancing the stability of the units. This enabled APC Storage Technology to expand the uses of the system and fully realise all the essential requirements of the brief.

With all the easy-to-use benefits of a wire grid system and the extra storage space provided by mobile shelving, Top-Track ticked all the requirement boxes for the hospital, so much so that 31 Top-Track systems were installed. When aspects such as the easy-to-adjust shelving and ability to reconfigure the system to take baskets and other items are considered, then the adaptability of the system becomes immediately apparent.

Despite the fact that it is a new system, surprisingly, almost no tweaks have had to be made to the original design concept since its manufacture, especially since the design to completion period was only a month. While offering the potential of versatile application across multiple products, this system has proved to be particularly suitable for hospital use; since the Palmerston Regional Hospital installation, APC Storage Technology has successfully completed subsequent hospital contracts in Darwin, Brisbane and Hobart as well as various locations in New Zealand.

It certainly seems from the feedback provided by its users that the adage of ‘when you’re right, you’re right’ is particularly appropriate for the APC Storage Technology Top-Track system.