Evidence Storage Best Practices & Tips

Evidence Storage: Best Practices for Optimal Organization

evidence storage best practicesThe storage needs of police departments and correctional facilities across the country depend on space and financial resources. Still, every department knows that maintaining an uninterrupted chain of custody for their evidence is critical. When proper police evidence room best practices and procedures are in place, they cut down on clutter, making it easier for officers to locate items and ensuring that evidence is not mishandled or misplaced.

Organize Your Evidence Room

With the proper research and planning, you can easily organize your police evidence room. To start, consider how much space you have and if this will be a long-term solution. These will be your two most significant factors in designing a space that is easy to keep organized and secure.

Think about how your team will process the incoming evidence, document the existing evidence, and purge the evidence that is no longer needed. Some cases may require you to store evidence for up to 99 years. If you don’t have a storage plan in place, the amount of evidence you maintain can add up and negatively impact your evidence room organization.

Types of Evidence Room Organization

high density evidence storageOur long-term evidence solutions are perfect when you have a finite amount of space to store evidence. This type of shelving stores the evidence away from the general work area while keeping it accessible to officers that may need it.

High-density storage is ideal for most evidence rooms because it is built on moving carriages with wheels attached to floor tracks, eliminating the need for access aisles. With the push of a button or a turn of a handle, you can easily roll these shelves along the tracks to create the space you need to access the evidence you’re looking for. Once you’re finished, roll the shelves back together to free up floor space.

You can store newer evidence that needs to be processed in an evidence locker. We offer several locker options to make police evidence room procedures easier to follow. Among the most popular are:

  • Pass-thru evidence lockers are installed directly into the facility’s walls. An officer places the evidence into the locker on one side while the evidence technician retrieves it from the other. By placing it in the locker, the officer effectively puts the evidence directly into the secured storage facility, which helps maintain the chain of custody.
  • Non-pass-through evidence lockers are ideal for temporary evidence storage. For example, officers need to deposit evidence 24 hours a day. Using this type of locker means the evidence technician does not need to be present on the other side for the officer to deposit the evidence into the custody of the storage facility.

pass-through evidence storage lockersUsing an identification code to open the locker, an officer can insert the evidence, where it will stay until the evidence technician arrives. This keeps the evidence safe and secure until it can be processed and properly stored.

Some evidence needs to be kept at a specific temperature to avoid being harmed. Refrigerated evidence locker lockers stay at a consistent temperature, keeping biological evidence well-preserved. They even have built-in alarms that will sound in case of temperature fluctuations that could damage the evidence.

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Store Firearms Safely

When coming up with your department’s evidence storage best practices, it can be challenging to determine how and where to store firearms. All evidence needs to be secured, but it’s especially important to follow safety procedures.

There are two main ways that a department can store firearms: evidence bags and evidence boxes. Evidence gun bags are made using a heavy-duty polyester fabric that allows them to be hung on gun racks, increasing the number of firearms stored in one area. If you’re looking for a less expensive and reusable option, you may want to explore storage boxes.

Secure Your Evidence

Security is a high priority when it comes to maintaining your police evidence room. Regardless of which type of storage you install and utilize in your facility, it is important to ensure there is a protocol in place for safety and security purposes.

hanging evidence storage bagsEvidence storage lockers should only be accessible through the use of a keycard and/or password. Having this electronic record of who accesses the storage lockers makes it easier to maintain documentation of the chain of custody.

During the processing stage, supply your evidence technicians with everything they need to easily and clearly process the piece of evidence quickly. Providing them with the right property and evidence bags will protect your chain of custody and keep your evidence secure while making it easier for them to perform their job duties quickly and efficiently.

Quick Tips for Evidence Room Organization

When it comes to evidence storage best practices, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make sure your location is secure.
  • Determine how much square footage you have to use.
  • Place a high priority on security but having multiple locks and electronic access points to keep track of who is accessing the evidence.
  • Have a clear plan on how to process the incoming evidence, document the existing evidence, and purge the evidence that is no longer needed.

How Southwest Solutions Group Can Help

We believe protecting the chain of custody is critical to justice. To help provide this protection, we offer storage solutions for police departments and correctional facilities across the country.

Our experienced planning and design team is ready and waiting to help you make the best of your evidence room organization. Contact us today to get started.


4 Benefits of Implementing High-Density Storage Systems

What Is High-Density Storage?

high density storageHigh-density storage is an innovative storage technology based on movable shelves. In a typical high-density system, tracks are placed on the floor and shelves are mounted on top of rollers that move along the tracks. The result is that the shelves can be pushed together or pulled apart at will, allowing you to make or eliminate aisles as needed.

The disappearance of fixed aisles—and their replacement by more shelves—means that your storage capacity doubles while consuming the same amount of floor space. This incredible efficiency has numerous benefits for your business, which we’ll examine in detail below.

The Benefits of a High-Density Storage System

#1: Save Space

High-density storage rack systems are selected first and foremost for their space-saving ability. Their remarkably compact nature translates into more shelf space in a given area, with the result that your business can devote less of your overall floor space to storage or keep the same floor space but store more items inside it.

powered high density systemIf you choose to devote less space to storage, you can then use more of your floor space for revenue-generating activity, such as production or retail. Alternatively, you may keep the storage footprint but use the high-density shelves to expand your inventory, thus selling more of your most popular products or stocking a greater variety that allows you to pull in new customers. 

#2: Save Time

High-density systems compress the storage area so that workers do not have to travel as far to stow and retrieve items. The natural result is less time spent picking. Over the lifetime of your storage systems (many years with proper maintenance), these small intervals of time saved will really add up, saving the company money as fewer employees become capable of more work. 

Another way the new system can benefit the company is that high-density storage allows you to consolidate all your storage on-site. This results in major time savings as materials and people no longer need to travel between storage areas. How much time is gained will depend on how distributed the storage was before you implemented the new system. 

#3: Save Money

movable space saving racksWhether you own or rent, real estate is often the largest expense for a business. By requiring less floor space for the same amount of storage, a high-density system positions your business for lower real estate expenses. You may not have to purchase or build new storage properties, or you may be able to consolidate all your storage on-site. Either way, you’re saving a lot of money.

A second way that you save money with high-density storage is through lower climate control costs. The reduced footprint of a high-density system means you have less area to heat and cool, which can be a critical expense for goods that must stay within a defined temperature range.

#4: Improve Organization

storage density shelving systemsA high-density storage rack system offers twice the shelving space of a traditional static shelving solution. This opens up space for more precise sorting and organization of items on the shelf. Goods that were previously mixed can be properly sorted into separate shelf areas, and items that were difficult to access can be spaced out.

The result of this improved organization is faster stow and retrieval times, leading to higher worker productivity. It’s also much more pleasant to work in a well-organized storage space, leading to higher overall team morale.

High-Density Shelving Is Available From Southwest Solutions

We’ve seen how high-density systems save time, money, and space, and improve organization. The benefits are hard to argue with, so why don’t we see these systems installed everywhere? The fact of the matter is most people need help understanding how these advanced shelving systems can fit into their space and align with their storage needs. 

Fortunately, Southwest Solutions Group has 50 years of experience designing and implementing storage solutions for a wide range of industries. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Small Break Room Ideas to Boost Employee Morale and Performance

small break room ideasNo matter what industry you’re in, it’s essential to provide an area where your employees can take a break. Your break room does not have to be large, but during long shifts, your employees should have a place where they can grab a snack, store their personal belongings, eat their lunch, or take a minute to recharge their batteries.

But with employees going in and out all day, even the most well-intentioned break rooms can quickly become disorganized and chaotic. This could present a problem, as a messy break room is far from relaxing. It could even have a detrimental effect on your team.

We believe that organizing improves productivity and morale. Luckily, we have several small break room ideas to help you take it from disorganized to relaxing!

The Benefits of a Great Break Room

employee breakroom caseworkAny great employer knows that their employees cannot focus on one task for an unlimited amount of time. Brain breaks are necessary to keep creativity flowing—especially in the workplace.

Giving your employees a place to relax and socialize boosts productivity and employee morale. If your team knows that you care about their well-being, they are more likely to enjoy their jobs and remain dedicated to your team. 

A great break room is an inviting space for your employees to socialize. Encouraging this will create a sense of community that will improve the way your team works together. When your employees feel bonded and comfortable, they are more likely to discuss more creative solutions to company problems.

A small break room is also important when it comes to recruiting new talent. A lot of people in the workforce are searching for jobs that provide perks and comforts. If your company can say that you provide a well-stocked and welcoming break room, you open yourself up to a larger employment pool.

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How to Create a Small Break Room

With real estate at a premium for most businesses, you may be wondering where you would even fit a break room into your existing workplace. To build an enjoyable and useful space, you don’t need much in the way of square footage. These small break room ideas prove that a small employee break room can be just as efficient and inviting as a larger one.

small breakroom caseworkWhile smaller square footage can lead to storage and utilization challenges, a well-researched storage solution plan can combat that problem. Over the years, Southwest Solutions Group® has provided innovative and efficient break room solutions to all types of businesses and government agencies. We have worked with spaces of all sizes to create the break room our clients need.

You should start by considering one of our modular laminate break room casework cabinets. They are completely customizable, allowing you to design the solution you need while staying within your budget. These cabinets will probably take up the majority of a small space, so it is the perfect structure to design your break room around. Once you know how much room your desired cabinets will occupy, you will have a better idea of how much space you have available for additional furniture like chairs and tables.

Another perk of starting with modular casework cabinets is that they allow you to build a kitchenette from scratch without the expense of built-in millwork. You can include things like microwaves to eat up meals or refrigerators to store meals and drinks. They also include cabinets and drawers to store things like silverware, coffee mugs, or water glasses. This helps keep your break room neat and tidy while giving your employees access to the items that they need. They are also moveable if you should ever need to relocate your break room.

How to Make the Best of Your Break Room Space

When you’re keeping essentials like snacks or paper products on hand for your staff, you will need break room storage. This is especially important if you have a small break room that is prone to clutter. From simple shelving to automated cabinets, you can find a variety of storage solutions that will help keep your small break room neat and organized.

Your employees are using this space to relax, but a disorganized break room is anything but relaxing. Installing break room shelving will eliminate the mess and give your employees designated spaces for their items and for items you provide, like free coffee or snacks. A well-stocked and well-organized break room is exactly what your employees need to de-stress from their busy shifts!

break room storage lockersYour employees are also probably bringing personal belongings to work like cell phones and backpacks. To create a safe space for your employees to store their personal belongings while they are working, install storage lockers in your break room. If you have a small amount of space, you might want to consider smaller cell phone lockers

If you have more floor space and your employees need to bring more belongings with them to work each day, consider larger lockers, like backpack lockers, which provide your employees with more space to store things like backpacks or purses. 

Businesses concerned about security will appreciate our keyless lockers equipped with digital keypad locks. We have installed these secure lockers in all types of locations from schools to commercial businesses. Digital keypad locks take out the stress of managing multiple keys for multiple lockers. They can also track locker usage, which is another layer of security for your employees.

Why You Should Choose Southwest Solutions for Your Small Break Room Ideas

We believe in creating an organized and dynamic workplace. This includes your break room!

Since 1969, Southwest Solutions has provided businesses across the country with small break room ideas and innovative break room solutions. We have worked with every industry, from schools and universities to industrial warehouses and manufacturing facilities, to plan, design, and build relaxing break rooms of all sizes.

When you partner with us, we work with you every step of the way. Our experienced and knowledge planning and design team will help you create the best solution for your break room needs. Once it is designed to your satisfaction, our certified factory-trained installers and service technicians get to work building your break room. Most of our installation team leaders have been with us for over 10 years, and our team has over 300 years of service combined.

If you need some help making your break room an organized and inviting space for your employees, contact us today.


Operable Partition Walls: Things to Know

What to know about operable walls

operable walls

Operable walls, also called movable walls, are popular partitioning options because they can be shifted according to your needs. A typical operable wall is made up of panels or partitions and runs along a track on the ceiling, from which the panels hang. These design features make operable partitions capable of quickly enclosing an area, being partially opened, or fully opened. 

Operable walls are available from many manufacturers and in multiple finishes, including metal, wood, various veneers, recycled materials, and glass.

Types of Partition Walls

Operable walls are distinguished by their finish material, transparency, acoustic ratings, and track system. Some operable partition walls are designed for frequent layout changes, such as those in conference centers that regularly change room size. Other operable wall systems might be moved only twice in their lifetime—when erected and when removed.

operable wall systemsWhen choosing partition walls, consider how you want your space to look. To start, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • How much light transmission and visibility is necessary? 
  • Should the panels have a specific acoustic rating? 
  • Will you change the layout often? 

With these answers in mind, you’ll be prepared to shop for operable walls. 

Southwest Solutions stocks several movable walls and related styles, including glass front walls. One popular option is the Trendway re-locatable office wall, which is available in finishes ranging from tempered and decorative glazing to writable glass, veneer, and fabric, with swinging and sliding doors. You can also choose from numerous partition sizes to match the dimensions of your space. 

For an example of what a space built with movable walls can feel like, see this modern bank project.

Benefits of Operable Walls

operable partitionsThe number one reason builders and office owners chose movable walls is flexibility. With an operable wall system, you can change the interior layout of your space in a matter of days. Need to subdivide a large area into private offices? Enlarge a conference room? Create a whiteboard brainstorming space? All of these situations are easily remedied with movable wall solutions. 

Easy Assembly

The assembly process for operable walls is straightforward. A small crew can install the ceiling track and hang the panels in a fraction of the time a traditional drywall crew would take to build a wall. And because the panels are finished, there’s no need to hire painters. This means that although the operable wall system may cost more upfront than the gypsum board, there are substantial cost savings in construction. The greatest financial advantage comes when you later decide to alter your layout—easily accomplished with movable walls. 


One of the strong points of operable walls is their sustainability. They are often made with recycled materials and can themselves be recycled. During their long usable lifespan, operable walls can be relocated if your office moves or placed in storage until they’re needed again. This flexibility means that movable panels will last far longer than drywall construction. 

Design Variety

manual wall partitionsAnother advantage of operable wall systems is the design variety they offer. Finishes include wood, glass, metal, and veneers in many styles, allowing your interior designer to achieve any desired ambiance. The abundant use of glass is a particular benefit, as it allows maximum light transmission and transparency. You can also have the glass frosted for greater privacy. Whatever the style your office designer has in mind, there’s sure to be a movable wall that can achieve the effect. 

Noise Management

Finally, many offices these days are concerned with noise management. Fortunately, acoustic operable wall systems are available that manage sound to precise levels. Systems are rated from 40 to 44 STC, providing a pleasant and distraction-free atmosphere for office work. 

Why Choose Southwest Solutions for Operable Walls?

Southwest Solutions Group® provides design and installation services for operable wall systems, based on years of experience with office designs of all types. To learn how operable walls can fit into your office space, or to hear advice from an expert on the available options, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.


6 Modular Office Storage Systems to Use

Does Your Office Need a Refresh? 6 Top Modular Office Storage Systems

Your office is a busy place, with emails, calls, and messages going in and out. It’s so busy, in fact, that you may not notice all the…well…things that accumulate over time. These may include inventory items, case files, catalogs, or office supplies. If your office is feeling a little crowded, or if you’ve noticed employees spending too much time searching for the items they need, it might be time to update your office storage system. Modular office storage systems are easy to implement and can boost productivity and morale in your office. Here are some of our favorite modular office storage solutions.

1. Rolling Workstations

modular office rolling workstationsStaffing needs change throughout the year depending on the season or project load. You may find that you need to bring on temporary workers or hire consultants during certain parts of the year. Instead of taking up space with permanent desks and workstations that are only used on a temporary basis, invest in rolling workstations. You can roll these portable workstations (which can include desks or benches) wherever you need them. When they’re not in use, either transport them to another area of the office or into your warehouse or storage space. These workstations’ mobile nature is ideal for placing temporary workers in the right departments and near supervisors.

2. Spinning Filing Cabinets

spinning filing cabinetsThe more storage space you need, the more shelves tend to pop up in your office. Modular office storage cabinets are useful for keeping everything where you need it, but you might also look into a spinning file cabinet (also called rotary filing cabinets). Just imagine the lazy Susan on your dining room table, and you’ve got the idea. Spinning filing cabinets have two sides, which employees can access by flipping the cabinet. This doubles the amount of storage space you can enjoy and is an excellent option for storing office supplies, office equipment, and more.

3. Pull-Out Storage Shelving

pull-out office shelving storageTo increase your modular office storage, even more, look into a pull-out storage shelving system. This system places shelves together in a neat line. When an employee needs an item, they pull out the shelf they need. The shelf easily slides out of the row. When the shelves are closed, the files can’t be seen, making it a great option for confidential information or valuables. You can also lock the shelving for added security.

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4. Sliding Lateral Files

office sliding storage cabinetsMake the most of limited storage space with sliding lateral files. With this system, cabinets are placed in rows on a set of tracks. By sliding the front row of shelves apart or to the side, employees can access the back rows. This system eliminates extra aisle space, allowing you to store far more in a smaller footprint. You can also keep all your files and other items together, making it easy for employees to know exactly where to find the items they need.

A sliding lateral file system is a versatile modular office storage solution. You can choose a bi-file system with two rows of shelving or even a tri-file system with three rows of storage. When designing this system, it’s good to put less-used items (like old client files) in the back and more active files in the front cabinets for faster retrieval.

5. Box Storage Shelving

box file storage shelvingDespite the fact that we are living in the Internet age, many companies are still required (or prefer) to keep hard copies of important paperwork, including contracts, invoices, presentations, and client files. However, over time, these paper items can really add up. Instead of stacking boxes haphazardly wherever you can find space or paying for offsite storage, consider box storage shelving. This type of high-capacity shelving is designed to accommodate archival boxes. By placing boxes on shelves, you can better organize your files and free up valuable floor space so your office can continue to grow.

6. High-Density Storage

modular office storage systems high densityThe final modular office and storage system is similar to the sliding lateral cabinets. High-density storage places shelves on a track, eliminating unnecessary aisle space. When an employee needs something on the shelves, they can use a manual hand crank or powered button to open up an aisle between the cabinets. This system can utilize your existing shelves to save you money, or you can create shelves customized to your storage needs. You can also implement a high-density storage system with room to grow. By adding more track space, you can place additional shelves into the system in the future, allowing your storage capacity to grow with your needs.


High-density storage can be a great solution for nearly any business, including law firms, medical offices, libraries, museums, and more.

Which Modular Office Storage Systems Are Right for You?

All you know is that you’ve got piles of documents or inventory shoved into corners or practically spilling out of your warehouse. Which modular office storage cabinets are right for your situation? Don’t guess. Instead, let us help you find the right solution. Our talented design team can learn about your needs and create a storage system optimized for your office. You can also learn more about great storage tips and tricks on our blog

At Southwest Solutions, we believe a well-organized storage system can help businesses run more smoothly. Contact us today and we’ll show you how!


How a Kanban System Can Revolutionize Your Healthcare Inventory Practices

kanban bins shelving systemDoctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals deal with numerous supplies throughout the day, from IV drips to bandages, scalpels, diapers, and more. In an emergency, they can’t afford to discover that critical supplies are missing, and they certainly can’t wait around for a restocking. 

An efficient and reliable healthcare inventory system is crucial to a well-functioning hospital, and one option that continues to grow in popularity is Kanban inventory systems. 

But what is Kanban, and how can Kanban inventory bins help your hospital run better? Let’s discuss its origins and its perks. 

What Is a Kanban Bins Inventory System?

The concept of Kanban first originated in Japanese grocery stores, where keeping the right items in stock could make the difference between success and failure. The original systems included signage to direct customers to the products they wanted. The word “Kanban” actually means “visual sign” or “card.” The concept took off in the 1940s when Toyota adapted the principles of Kanban to create their LEAN manufacturing process.  

In a nutshell, a Kanban inventory system aligns inventory levels with actual consumption rather than stocking items and then expecting them to sell. For example, in a grocery store, the barcodes on each item are scanned, sending a signal to indicate immediately when an item needs to be restocked.

How Does a Kanban System Work in Healthcare?

kanban inventory systemGrocery stores and hospitals aren’t the same things, so how can healthcare facilities benefit from Kanban shelving? Many types of companies can adapt the Kanban system, including hospitals and healthcare facilities. This is usually done using a two-bin system.

Each bin contains the same items; they are typically placed together on a shelf (either side by side or front to back). During a workday, nurses and other staff take items from Bin A. When Bin A is empty, Bin B is pulled forward, and a signal is sent to restock Bin A. 

When the Kanban system is working properly, it can prevent nurses from running out of stock.

What Are the Benefits of Kanban Bins in Healthcare?

Many healthcare facilities are still using the PAR system, which requires a staff member to scan or count all supplies to determine what needs replenishing (or brought back up to par). The staff member must then make a trip to replenish the supplies. 

Here are some ways that the Kanban shelving system is an improvement on the PAR system.

1. Saves on Labor Costs

Using a fixed quantity of supplies and dedicated Kanban bins eliminates the need for daily inventory counting. Once Bin A is emptied, the same quantity is replenished. Since no one is wasting time counting, your facility saves on labor costs, and your staff is more productive in other areas.

2. Reduces Re-Supply Trips

Once you establish your Kanban system, you will quickly be able to accurately estimate how many supplies you need for an entire day (or another period), lowering the number of times staff members need to re-supply the bins.

3.healthcare supply storage bin shelving No Dangerous Stock-Outs

Stock-outs aren’t just inconvenient and time-wasting; they can slow down necessary treatment and care in a hospital setting. Because Kanban uses a two-bin system for stocking supplies, there are always medical products on hand, eliminating stock-outs.

4. Reduces Expired Medical Products

The Kanban shelving system promotes first-in, first-out usage of supplies, so no item is left on the shelf too long. This reduces the dangers and costs associated with expired medical products.

5. Shows Important Usage Patterns

Over time, the Kanban system will show patterns such as which medical products are used most often. This allows you to better manage your stock levels. You can easily adjust quantities based on their usage patterns.

6. Improves Medical Supply Inventory Management

Most PAR-level inventory management involves eyeballing the number of items needed; counting is almost impossible and very labor-intensive. With a Kanban system in healthcare, you automate this process to promote better inventory management and take out any guesswork.

How to Set Up a Kanban Bins Inventory System in Your Healthcare Facility

A Kanban shelving system includes many benefits, but one of the best might be the fact that it’s easy to set up. You’ll need to put in some work to physically set up your Kanban bins and then collect the usage data to decide the right inventory levels you need for each item. You’ll also need to decide the right “trigger” to use to alert your materials manager when a bin needs to be supplied. However, after the system is up and running, it is primarily passive, saving your employees valuable time and effort.

Here are two popular ways of setting up Kanban in healthcare.

Small Applications: Barcode System and Empty Bins

medical supply inventory managementOne option is to use a barcode system in combination with placing the empty Kanban bins on the top of your storage shelving. The materials manager can use a barcode reader to scan each of the empty bins and record the data for which supplies need restocking.

This system works well in smaller healthcare facilities or if you are only going to implement Kanban in one or two supply rooms. But it may not be the best option in a large facility or multiple supply rooms because material managers will still spend a lot of time counting. In addition, all the empty bins from fast-moving supplies can become cumbersome and create errors in replenishment.

Larger Applications: Use RFID Technology to Automate the “Trigger” Process

The second option is to automate the “trigger” process with RFID technology. This Kanban inventory system is equipped with an RFID digital restocking tag. 

Once the primary bin items are used, a worker clicks the button on the restocking tag. While the nurses are waiting for supplies to be restocked, they pull items from the secondary bin. A notification is automatically sent to the materials managers about the products that need restocking (i.e., quantity and location).

Essentially, the RFID technology replaces steps in the counting process, saving valuable time while real-time information improves accuracy.

Does a Kanban Bins System in Healthcare Actually Work?

medical supply chain bin storageThe answer is yes, and we’ve seen plenty of examples of Kanban in healthcare using our products. In fact, a hospital recently used Spacesaver’s FrameWRX and StockBox products to switch one of its supply rooms from a PAR inventory system to a Kanban inventory system. 

Within two months of the change, the hospital was able to reduce its inventory from around 3,600 items to 1,900 items and save an hour and a half every single day in time that used to be spent counting inventory! The inventory savings plus the time savings from busy nurses and supply clerks saved a conservatively estimated $10,000 per year. And that was just one supply cabinet.

Ready To Switch to a Kanban Bins Inventory System?

At Southwest Solutions, we believe that good inventory management is at the heart of every well-run hospital. That’s why we love helping healthcare facilities upgrade their medical supply inventory management. Contact us today – we’d be happy to recommend shelving, bins, and RFID solutions for your Kanban shelving system. Our talented design team and installation teams will also make sure your system gets up and running smoothly.

Request a quote today.


How to Organize an Auto Repair Shop with Storage

Five Powerful Auto Shop Storage Ideas

high density mechanic shop ideasLife is busy in an automotive repair shop, and time is always of the essence. The more vehicles you can get on and off of lifts per day, the more profit you can earn. While many auto shop managers focus on encouraging their techs to be as productive as possible, have you ever taken a second to consider your shop’s organization and storage? A crowded, confused, and unorganized shop could be stealing away valuable time from your techs and costing you money. 

The solution? Improve the organization and storage capabilities of your business. The resulting boost in productivity will be well worth the investment. Here’s how to organize a repair shop better.

1. Consider High-Density Storage

auto parts storage rackOne of the primary challenges of many auto shops is balancing the need for workspace and storage space. Storage space allows you to keep more inventory on-site, which can speed up the completion of jobs. However, too much storage space can eat away at your workspace, meaning you can’t take in as many vehicles as you’d like.

One great mechanic shop storage idea is to invest in high-density storage. This system places your existing shelves on tracks, which allow the shelves to sit tightly together when not in use. When a worker needs an item, they can use a hand crank or push-button to open an aisle between the shelves. High-density storage eliminates unused aisle space, allowing you to either shrink your storage footprint or increase the number of items you can store in your existing area. High-density storage is exceptionally versatile, allowing you to store everything from tires to mechanical parts.

2. Keep It Mobile

Whenever your techs need to walk away from a project to grab a tool or part, they slow that particular job. Additionally, more people walking across repair bays increases the risk of injury. Here’s one of our favorite mechanic shop ideas: Instead of forcing your techs to go to their tools, bring their tools to them with mobile carts that can carry their most-used tools and parts. The carts can be designed with different drawers and cabinets to hold a wide range of parts and tools.

3. Use Your Vertical Spacevertical tire storage carousel

Do you have a lot of vertical space in your garage? Make sure you use it for more than just car lifts. Employ that space with mechanic shop storage ideas like overhead lifts and mezzanines. Overhead lifts are an excellent option for storing larger, bulkier items, like tires. With the push of a button, you can bring your selection of tires down to the floor to offer your customers these valuable products. When the transaction is done, the lift rises again, leaving you with more space to work.

Mezzanines are a versatile storage solution that can help you make the best use of your vertical space. A freestanding mezzanine platform can hold items you don’t often need, like backup tools or special equipment. Multi-level shelving mezzanines are a great place to store extra parts, so you never have to slow down a job to buy a new part from an outside vendor.

4. Take Advantage of Technology

auto shop vertical storage

Back in the day, the neighborhood mechanic shop might have had easy-breezy organization practices, but in today’s competitive environment, you can’t afford to wing it. New technologies in the storage industry can make it easier and faster for you to get the correct tools and parts to your techs. Two examples of mechanic tool storage ideas are automated storage shuttles and carousels. These high-tech devices can store parts and tools in a central location and deliver them directly to your employees. This cuts back on the time your techs spend searching for the right part or tool for the job. You won’t need to wonder where anything is or try to manage a constantly moving system of supplies; the carousel or shuttle will do it all for you.

5. Keep It Safe

auto shop organization wire cage mezzanineTools and parts are moving all day long in a repair shop, making it easy for an expensive part or tool to “go missing.” The value of your inventory could also make your business a target after hours. Part of good auto shop organization includes making sure your assets are safe and secure. That can be difficult for larger items but not impossible. Automotive wire cages are an easy and simple way to keep your larger items safe. Put your tool cart in the cage at night, or keep tires locked up until they need to be used.

What about your smaller tools and parts? A cage can work here if you carry tools in a mobile cart or build the cage around your tool cabinet. However, another solution may be tool and part lockers. You can even invest in high-tech lockers that can track keys, so you can always know who has a key to the locker and find keys that get lost or stolen.

Bonus Mechanic Shop Idea

Don’t forget to organize and store your shop records effectively! You’ll want to create a clear record trail for every customer, so you can quickly and easily assess each vehicle’s history when it comes back to your shop. You also need to track your own expenses, vendors, employee hours, and more. If you like keeping paper records and electronic records, then filing boxes are the way to go. Keep records together in filing boxes, and then add them to your high-density storage system.

How to Organize a Repair Shop

These are just a few auto shop storage ideas. At Southwest Solutions, our friendly representatives can tell you all about our many different storage options and help you determine what mechanic shop ideas are right for your business. Not sure how to rearrange your shop? That’s what our design team is for. They will help you envision your more functional and productive space, and then our installation team will make it happen. We believe the right storage solutions can make businesses work better, including your auto shop. Contact us today.


Safe and Secure Truck Gun Storage

truck gun storageLaw enforcement officers rely on a variety of vehicles to perform their duties, including trucks. When driving a truck, officers need a safe and secure place to store their weapons, including larger weapons, like rifles and shotguns. At Southwest Solutions, we’ve worked with law enforcement agencies across the country to improve their weapons storage, including truck gun storage.

Truck Bed Gun Safe

After a law enforcement agency asked us to design a gun case customized for their trucks, we got to work. The result is a truck bed gun safe that can hold two long guns as well as ammo.

Security Is Key

police vehicle weapon storageWhen transporting weapons in any type of vehicle, it is imperative to secure them so only authorized individuals can access them. Our truck gun case is made from heavy-duty galvanized steel that can stand up to tough conditions. The gun locker is also coated with Line-X to protect the locker from rust and seal out water and dust.

Most importantly, the truck bed gun safe includes a high-security, tamper-proof door with a key lock. You can open the safe with a Bulldog Security wireless remote. These precautions will help ensure that only your officers can access the weapons in the gun storage bed. 

Adaptable Truck Gun Case

Our truck gun lockers are 48” long by 9” wide by 16” tall. This size allows officers to carry various long arms in the gun safe, including assault rifles, AR7s, and shotguns. The safe can also accommodate extra ammo. 

Fast Access

truck bed gun caseSituations can change rapidly, which means your officers need to be able to access their weapons as quickly as possible in an emergency. By lowering the truck gate, officers can immediately access the door of the safe. The Bulldog Security remote opens the safe door with the push of a button, shaving off precious seconds.

Outfit Your Vehicle with Truck Gun Storage

For over 50 years, we’ve proudly teamed up with law enforcement agencies to help them stay organized and ready for anything. We provide everything from gun storage lockers to police gear lockers and more. We believe that well-designed storage can help officers operate better as they serve our communities.

Are you ready to retrofit your trucks with gun storage beds? Our design team can help ensure that the lockers will fit your existing truck fleet, and our installation team will work fast and efficiently to implement your order. Contact us today to request a quote!


8 Ways to Optimize Your Museum Artifact Storage

artifact storage museum display systemsThe mission of a museum goes beyond just exhibiting its best pieces for visitors; a museum’s purpose is also to collect, preserve, and interpret items of historical and cultural significance as well as exhibit them. In truth, most museums are only able to showcase small portions of their collections to the public. The majority of their pieces must be safely and securely stored. But what does the right type of artifact storage look like?

The answer to that question depends on the type of artifacts in a museum’s collection, the storage needs of the artifacts, the space limitations of the museum, and the overall storage goals of the museum itself. Ideally, a museum storage system is customized to the size, shape, and needs of its collection. That same system also ideally optimizes storage space so a museum can continue to grow.

At Southwest Solutions, we believe that museum artifact storage is a public good, allowing museums to preserve important historical pieces and records of our past and present cultural inheritance. That’s why we want to share eight of our unique and innovative storage solutions just for museums. 

1. High-Density Museum Storage

One of the most popular forms of high density museum storagemuseum storage is high-density mobile shelving. The system places your existing shelves or new shelves on tracks that allow the shelves to slide together. The beauty of high-density museum storage is that the shelves eliminate unused aisle space, increasing your storage capability by over 50 percent.

If you already have shelves specially designed for your artifacts, you can place them on the tracks or purchase customized shelving. Believe it not, you can store almost anything on high-density shelving, from small figurines to large pieces of historical furniture. (You may want to consider bulk storage racks for larger items.)

The shelves come with a range of features and designs. If you don’t need to access your archives often, choose a hand-crank wheel to move the shelves. If you want faster access, you can design more aisles into the system and choose the electric push-button feature to move the shelves. Either way, high-density shelving is incredibly versatile and can give you the space to keep growing your collection without resorting to off-site storage.

2.museum artwork storage racks Artwork Storage Racks

If you need to store frame paintings, drawings, photography, or other flat art, then storage art racks built for these items are an ideal solution for your museum. Artwork racks can store pieces that range in size and width in numerous ways, from storage cubbies to pull-out art panels, wall-mounted panels, and visible display racks that you can even place in your exhibits. High-density storage can also be adapted for artwork, with special racking that can hold multiple pieces. All these options will keep valuable artwork off the ground and protect it from damaging elements.

3. Garment Storage

From historical clothing to famous movie costumes, many museums need to store important garments. However, garments are especially vulnerable to time. Sunlight bleaches away dyes, while moisture eats away at the organic materials. Consider special shelving designed to hold many different types of garments. These garment storage racks can be designed with a single hanging rack to hang dresses and full-body suits or two rows of hanging racks for singular items, like tops or bottoms. The shelves can even be designed with drawers, pull-out trays, and shoe shelves for extra accessories. You can also incorporate these shelves into a high-density mobile storage system, allowing you to store more clothing.

4. Entomology Cabinets

Insects are a fascinating and integral part of our ecosystem, and they deserve to be preserved and studied. But how can a museum effectively store such small and delicate samples? Believe it or not, storage for entomology samples does exist. These entomology storage solutions include cabinet systems and drawers, all designed for small storage. The cabinets and drawers can also keep delicate samples out of the sun and out of harm’s way.

5. Herbarium & Botany Storage Cabinets

entomology herbarium botany artifact storage cabinets

Like insect samples, plant specimens can be extremely delicate and vulnerable to damage. Fortunately, the right museum storage system can include secure museum storage cabinets and drawers that make it easy to preserve plant samples. These botany storage cabinets offer a secure seal that can keep out light, water, rodents, and other damaging materials.

6. Geology Cabinets

Rocks and fossils tell the story of our world and all the creatures who have lived before us. It is crucial to preserve this record in the form of geological and fossil samples. However, these artifacts are vulnerable to water, rodents, dust, and sunlight. Geology storage cabinets and shelves can be customized to store even the smallest and most delicate samples, while larger cabinets can preserve bigger fossils and geological samples.

7. Flat File Cabinets

Do you wish to store historical documents, maps, blueprints, negatives, or historical articles? Bending, folding, or rolling up old papers can irreparably damage them. Flat file cabinets are the ideal solution, allowing you to store these delicate pieces flat in secure drawers so the elements and curious critters can’t damage them. Pull-out compartments make it easy for staff or researchers to access these pieces.

8. Archival Storage

Archival documents like newspapers, diaries, and census records are important relics, but they take up a lot of space. Archival storage is ideal for keeping these pieces safe while also optimizing space. A combination of storage shelves designed for archival boxes and a high-density mobile storage system can help you safely store your archive documents – including your own museum records – without ceding too much space in your museum for shelving.

What Museum Storage Is Right for You?

Most museum collections include many items, from paintings to records, significant artifacts, and more. The right museum storage system for you may consist of different shelving and organizational systems. Not sure where to begin? Contact us and talk to a friendly and knowledgeable representative today. We want to hear more about your needs, budget, and space allowance. Then, our talented design team will create an artifact storage plan just for you, while our installation team ensures that your shelving units are ready to secure and protect your pieces, whether you need drawers for tiny fossils and insects or bulk storage racks for large sculptures and more. At Southwest Solutions, we can help you keep your collection in pristine shape now and into the future.


10 Ways High Density Mobile Shelving Systems Can Improve Your Business

How High-Density Mobile Shelving Systems Can Help

how high density mobile shelving systems help businessesWe may be a little biased here at Southwest Solutions, but we believe that well-designed storage is one of the most underappreciated features of an efficiently run business. Imagine a cramped, crowded office where shelves are shoved haphazardly into any available nook or cranny. Employees looking for client files, paperclips, or an inventory item have to wander maze-like corridors wasting valuable time searching for what they need. Poor storage is a killer of time, productivity, morale, and even profit!

One of the most popular solutions for businesses with big storage needs is a high-density mobile shelving system. We’ve seen these systems revolutionize businesses big and small in many industries.

So why should you consider high-density mobile shelving systems for your business? First, let’s explain what this system is.

What Are High-Density Mobile Shelving Systems?

high density mobile shelving systemLet’s start with the basics. What exactly are high-density mobile shelving systems? Also called high-density mobile shelving storage, this system places new or existing shelves on a set of tracks that allows the shelves to move together. Depending on the system you choose, the shelves can move laterally or horizontally. The true beauty of the system is that a business can eliminate unused aisle space by pushing the shelves together.

When an employee wants to access a shelf, they can use a hand-crank system or push-button to easily separate the shelves, creating an aisle to access what they need. Security measures like locking mechanisms prevent the shelves from being closed when someone or something is in the aisle.

That’s high-density mobile storage shelving in a nutshell, but how can something so simple dramatically improve your business? Here are 10 of the biggest benefits of high-density mobile shelving we love to share with clients.

1. Optimized Space

The most obvious benefit of high-density mobile shelving systems is that it can eliminate a ton of unused space – up to 50% of storage space when compared to traditional shelving units! This can make a huge difference in the look, feel, and functionality of the office.

high density storage warehouse systems2. More Storage

Businesses from law firms to hospitals, museums, and warehouses face a continually growing storage demand. If they’re unprepared, they may face cluttered, confusing offices and boxes stacking up in corners. A high-density storage system allows you to store more items in less space, expanding your overall storage capability. This can allow you to stay in your current space rather than renting or buying a larger area or spending extra money on third-party storage.

3. Keep Your Items Together

Whether you want to store case files, hard copies of client invoices, inventory, sports equipment, or anything else, high-density mobile storage allows you to keep everything together. That means your employees don’t have to trek across your location to different shelves to find what they need.

4. Improved Organization

One of the most frustrating experiences at work is needing an item and being unable to find it, especially when time is of the essence. By keeping all of your items together on your mobile shelving, you can easily implement a clear and intuitive organization system. Employees will know exactly where to find what they need and can use the organizational system to quickly pull the file, inventory item, or other assets they need to continue with their work.

5. Greater Versatility

A high-density mobile shelving system is incredibly versatile and can hold just about anything. You can order specialty shelves to hold items great and small. For example, we’ve installed mobile storage systems for university sports teams to hold equipment like uniforms and helmets. We’ve also installed them in museums to store antiques, police stations to store evidence, and so much more. (Read more from our past clients.)

6. Improved Office Traffic

Opening up more space in your office by eliminating excess storage can help you create a more open space and improve the traffic flow. You can also utilize the extra space to help your business grow. Add a conference room, put in workspaces for your new hires, or turn cubicles into offices to reward your superstars. The sky’s the limit: more space gives you more growth options!

7. Fewer Misplaced or Lost Items

high density mobile shelving storage

In a storage free-for-all, it is easy for employees to put items in the wrong place or even keep files at their desks to save time and effort. When employees can’t find the items and information they need, it can cause project slowdowns, mistakes, and lots of frustration. By keeping items together and implementing an organizational system using high-density storage, you can keep better track of what goes in and out and where all your assets are at any given time.

8. Greater Productivity

When your employees know exactly where to find what they need at work, they can complete their projects quickly. You can even place your high-density mobile shelving storage closer to the employees who need to access the system the most, saving them time and effort. Fewer lost items will also cut back on wasted time or stalled projects. The result is a higher rate of productivity that can impact your bottom line.

9. Higher Employee Morale

It may be strange to think storage could impact employee morale, but it does. A cluttered and cramped office can bring down employee morale, just like a well-designed office with good traffic flow can improve it. Wasting time searching for items or not being able to work due to lost files can all drag down morale. Good storage makes happier employees, which makes them more productive and more loyal to your business.

10. Big Savings Over Time

Purchasing a high-density mobile shelving system is an investment, but it’s one that can pay off big time in the long run. When your employees are happier and more productive, they’ll get more done and give you better work. They’ll also commit more time and energy to their work instead of searching for the items they need. Improved employee loyalty means you’ll keep your star players and avoid the heavy cost of recruiting and training new talent. Lastly, greater storage can help improve communication and accuracy, saving you from costly mistakes that could end up in unhappy or lost clients.

Improve Your Business with High-Density Mobile Shelving Systems

Ready to learn more about high-density storage systems? We’d love to talk to you about how your business can benefit. Contact us today to talk to a friendly representative who can help you decide if a high-density storage warehouse system is the right choice for you.