Efficiency hits a high note at the University of Northwestern, St. Paul

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For more than 115 years, students have flocked to the verdant campus of the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota, to study the arts in a setting focused on a faith and fellowship.

Unfortunately, storage resources at the university were centuries behind the times. Kirk Moss, music professor and chair of the Department of Music and Theatre, and Tim Sawyer, director of choral activities, have curated the school's library of ensemble sheet music for years. It wasn't until recently that they enjoyed managing the collection as much as they enjoy teaching music.

Before Northwestern installed its very own custom mobile shelving system, Kirk and Tim were forced to relegate their collection to the basement beneath Northwestern's performing arts center – an inaccessible, unventilated tomb fit for the Phantom of the Opera but certainly not students and faculty.

Once space opened up in the library, the two jumped at the opportunity to bring their choral and instrumental arrangements to the surface and organize it all in a way that made sense to them and their curriculum. The move, however, would require a reimagining of how to store these sensitive materials.

What did Montel build for Northwestern?

After consulting with its local Authorized Montel Distributor, Northwestern decided on a Mobilex® mechanical-assist mobile shelving system, complete with SmartShelf® hardware and SafeCrank™ handles located on the end panels of each storage unit.

Here's how their decision made waves for arts education on campus:

Maximum space, minimal footprint

Without a sensible plan for optimizing space, the school could not in good conscience move its ensemble music collection to the library and risk disrupting everyday operations for such an important academic facility.

Luckily, Montel assessed how much space the library had available and deemed it more than enough for an efficiently designed mobile shelving system. Its collapsible design cut storage requirements in half and allowed Kirk and Tim to share the space and not overuse it.

Total accessibility

With the collection safely above ground, students and faculty wouldn't have to jump through hoops to access its contents, let alone manage or peruse them.

For Kirk and Tim especially, the move meant they could spend more time thinking about arrangements for the next concert and considering their options instead of worrying about the logistics of just getting into where they were kept.

Mobilex mobile shelving is perfect for storing musical instruments, too.SmartShelves are perfect for storing musical instruments, too.

Intelligent, efficient organization

A ballad may not be printed on the same size paper as a concerto, nor will it have the same number of pages. These height and width variations make storing large, eclectic collections of sheet music difficult and inefficient.

Thanks to SmartShelf technology in its mobile shelving installation, Northwestern can organize its collection according to size, then tailor each shelf to the exact dimensions of its contents. Better still, users can implement changes as soon as storage needs arise. SmartShelf adjustments don't require special tools or professional assistance. All it takes is a pair of hands and a few spare minutes.

Ease of access

Is mobile shelving strong enough to hold centuries worth of sheet music? More importantly, will users be able to open units stocked with hundreds of pounds of paper?

Mobilex mobile shelving systems are engineered precisely for handling the heaviest weights with the lightest effort. Users need only apply about a pound of force to move fully loaded shelves. The secret is Montel's SafeCrank handles, which separate shelving units with a quick turn of their ergonomic knobs.

The University of Northwestern chose our original SafeCrank with its switch-lock design. Since then, we've updated our popular mechanical-assist mobile shelving handles by changing the switch to a push-button mechanism. See the latest SafeCrank model here.

Mobile shelving will make any storage space sing! See for yourself how many applications and environments Mobilex mechanical-assist mobile shelving serves.

Mobile shelving for off-site storage: What are your options?

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Storage is a universal need, as important to industrial manufacturers as it is to small-business retailers with limited inventory space or libraries with more books than staff members know what to do with.

But there comes a time when businesses and organizations must ask: What do I do if on-site storage isn't enough?

Before you consider moving materials off-site to storage containers or investing in a whole new facility, we challenge you to ask yourself a different question: Why isn't your on-site storage enough?

Off-site storage ought to be strategic, not reactive

No one spends incredible capital on off-site storage without good reason to. But jumping right to off-site storage as a solution to on-site storage issues fails to address the real problem: inefficient, inflexible shelving options.

Let's use libraries and library storage as examples. One library, compelled by an evolving media environment, now has a greater need for computer labs and communal spaces than ever before. So after conducting resource analysis and developing a responsive archival/retrieval system, this library decides to move a large portion of its collection off premises, giving patrons new resources without depriving them of valuable information. In this way, off-site storage makes sense, right?

Well, that depends: Did decision-makers at that library first weigh the benefits of a high-density storage system for on-site operations?

Mobile shelving can reduce storage footprints by 50 percent, thus maximizing the space adopters already own and pay for. It's entirely possible, even probable, that the one-time installation of a mobile shelving system would not cost nearly as much as constructing, maintaining and powering an entirely new off-site storage facility.

High-density HI-BAY MOBILE shelving from MontelHigh-density HI-BAY MOBILE shelving from Montel

Challenges of off-site storage logistics

If storage users can help it, they're far better off investing in smarter shelving solutions that keep their resources close by rather than at remote warehouses.

Off-site storage requires advanced cataloging and logistics networks designed to transport resources between facilities and central hubs. More importantly, these processes have to run like clockwork. Otherwise, retrieval or restocking problems will outweigh the value of freeing up space at the main headquarters.

If, for example, retail managers with off-site storage cannot check on off-site inventories or quickly truck in goods that are out of stock, they will miss opportunities to capitalize on hot trends and turn a profit. Without these frameworks in place, it's better to optimize on-site storage with custom mobile shelving than to risk hurting your business or organization in the name of helping it. More efficient on-site storage keeps everything under one roof and limits the amount of change necessary to adapt.

Are storage containers worth it?

Of course, there are other options available for off-site storage. The question is whether they're as beneficial as storage users need them to be.

One popular option – though we certainly don't know why – is the storage container. One pricing study found that storage container rentals could cost anywhere between $50 and $500 per month or more, not including delivery and pickup costs, which vary according to the renter's proximity to the rental company. Modifications, such as insulation or refrigeration, will drive up prices, and the best deals force renters into multiyear contracts. And for what? A big empty metal box that could run you hundreds of dollars every time you want to pull materials, merchandise or equipment from it?

Instead of throwing that money down a hole, organizations should put it toward custom on-site high-density mobile shelving they can use to store what they want as they want and access it whenever they want at no additional cost.

Support better off-site storage with high-capacity mobile shelving

Sometimes off-site storage is an unquestionable necessity. In those cases, storage users must be careful not to repeat history by investing in static, prefabricated L&T shelving and go mobile instead. Here's why:

  • Mobile shelving scales sensibly: High-density mobile storage allows users to grow without wasting space, taking advantage of every cubic foot and upholding good organization.
  • Mobile shelving changes with you: Mobile shelving systems from Montel require no tools or technicians to adjust. When inventory needs evolve, so can storage with minimal effort.
  • Mobile shelving offers diversity: Installations can be customized to include cabinets, lockers, bins, dividers and virtually anything else users could need. Ask your local Authorized Montel Distributor about how you can build a mobile shelving system all your own.
  • Mobile shelving makes room for success: No off-site storage facility is 100 percent storage. By optimizing the off-site storage footprint at all times, mobile shelving users save space for other necessities like offices and meeting areas.

For more information on whether you need manual, mechanical-assist or powered mobile shelving for your off-site storage facility or high-density industrial mobile racking for your warehouse, check out insights on the Montel blog or contact us today.

5 school shelving ideas that have absolutely nothing to do with library storage

Here are four examples of areas at your school that could use better shelving - and no, none of them is a library.
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Here on the Montel blog, we've talked a lot about library shelving systems. And why not? As digitization and multimedia resources change how people seek out information, libraries must adapt. They are, after all, the stewards of that information. In our minds, mobile library shelving helps librarians rise to the occasion.

But what if your library is more than just a library? What if your library is part of a school or university? If that's the case, extra space in your stacks may be but one of your many storage concerns.

Here are five examples of areas at your school that could use better shelving – and no, none of them is a library.

Stock your cafeteria with all the best foods and supplies.Stock your cafeteria with all the best foods and supplies.

1. Cafeteria

It's always better for the budget to buy food in bulk, right? Well, not if you lack the space to properly store your plus-sized groceries. Mobile storage systems in your dining hall can save your school money by allowing staff to take advantage of low-cost wholesale ingredients and keep perishable goods in a clean, controlled environment. Organization never tasted so good.

2. Arts programs

Let's face it: These days, there's little room left for arts education. No, we're not talking about space measured in square footage but rather dollars available in school budgets. Any proposed investments to arts programs, therefore, must demonstrate a great deal of value to the school board before they are approved. Does a custom mobile shelving installation make the cut? Consider the versatility of these shelving modules:

Music department
Ever tried to fit a sousaphone on prefabricated static shelving? Not many have. But thanks to our manual, mechanical-assist and powered mobile shelving units, you won't have to either. They're built with easily adjustable shelves that don't require tools or professional assistance.

Properly store expensive musical instruments.Properly store expensive musical instruments.

Theatre department
Who knows what next year's spring musical will be? Better play it safe by storing all your costumes on clothing racks and in bins available for any of our mobile storage solutions. Check out this custom mobile storage installation we made for Laval University and its theatre department. It even included shelving for the school's audiovisual equipment.

Save costumes season after season.Save costumes season after season.

Fine arts department
Student artwork deserves the same level of preservation used in museum storage. Collapsible, accordion-style mobile shelving installations can protect their masterpieces from damage – and perhaps a campus cat burglar or two.

Hang student paintings on double-sided mobile art racks.Hang student paintings on double-sided mobile art racks.

Best of all, a single custom mobile shelving installation can serve all three departments. Reach out to your nearest Authorized Montel Distributor to find out more.

Safeguard student health with organized medical supplies.Safeguard student health with organized medical supplies.

3. Nurse's office

In elementary and middle schools, nurses act as de facto pharmacists, administering doses of important medication and safeguarding emergency medical supplies. So don't these health care professionals deserve the same resources pharmacists, clinicians and doctors use to save space in their facilities? And isn't it imperative we keep potentially hazardous materials out of the hands of young students?

High-density QuadraMobile shelving, for example, won't take up much space, but it will deliver a great deal of storage power and organization. Moreover, custom locking mechanisms can prevent unauthorized access and tampering.

Mobile shelving keeps all college sports equipment organized.Organize all your college sports equipment.

4. Athletic department

Even though we've discussed sports storage on this blog about as much as we've discussed library storage, we don't mind repeating ourselves: Any school or university with an active and diverse athletic department should consider the benefits of installing space-saving mobile storage.

Montel can help your school design a one-of-a-kind mobile storage system that combines lockers, cabinets, drawers and more. We can even customize your end panels to match your school colors or proudly display your logo on each unit. If your coaches are tired of cleaning up after every game or replacing broken or lost equipment, add mobile storage systems to your locker rooms. They encourage organization and reduce your storage footprint.

Secure weapons with smart storage features.Secure weapons with smart storage features.

5. Campus security

Every student deserves a safe learning environment. That's why smart leaders overseeing large universities and college campus arm their security professionals well with guns and other equipment stored in mobile weapon storage. High-density shelving protects the integrity of security assets and restricts usage to those who are authorized to carry them.

Summer break won't last forever. Start your school year off right with mobile storage. Check out the Montel catalog for information about all our different storage modules and customizable features.

Montel answers prayers for better storage at the Centre D’Archives Mgr-Antoine-Racine [Video]

Let's look at how Montel constructed a powered mobile shelving installation to meet the specific needs of a religious center and museum.
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At the Centre D’Archives Mgr-Antoine-Racine in Sherbrooke, Quebec, history and heritage converge. Catholics come from all across Canada to learn more about their faith, the institution of Catholicism and Monsignor Antoine Racine, the first bishop of the diocese in Sherbrooke and an influential force in the French colonization of Canada during the 19th century.

Open to the public, the archive at the Centre D’Archives Mgr-Antoine-Racine contains priceless artifacts, boxes of fragile records, paintings, books, clothing and more, as well as audio-visual equipment and contemporary media. Collection managers called on Montel to bestow them with a SafeAisle powered mobile shelving system versatile enough for their diverse storage requirements and flexible enough to blend with the sublime beauty of the institution.

Although any organization that replaces static storage units with mobile shelving enjoys half the storage footprint at twice the capacity, let’s look at how Montel constructed a powered mobile shelving installation to meet the specific needs of a religious center and museum:

Designed for silent sanctuaries

Tranquility is essential for research as well as reverence. Montel encases the motorized components of its powered mobile shelving to soften and virtually eliminate sounds made from its movement. Units slide apart quietly and slow to a resting position so as not to disturb those around the storage area.

Heavenly light at hand

Repositories in religious centers may not have the best lighting. The same is true for any other organization housed in an older facility. Powered mobile shelving from Montel includes LED-backed touch panels that perform well in dark environments. Prompts are clearly visible from the controls located on the end panels of every aisle. Even from a distance, users have a clear understanding of the status of the system, whether it’s in motion or standing still.

Guardian angels in every aisle

One-of-a-kind relics and irreplaceable records demand smart mobile shelving that protects them and the people who seek them. Aisle LED Guard technology holds aisles open while the space between units is occupied. Users cannot override the setting, so as long as there is an artifact, a container or a patron in an aisle, the units are locked firmly in place. This prevents injuries and preserves works of art and history for the next generation.

Ascetic aesthetics

The Centre D’Archives Mgr-Antoine-Racine is located in the basement of the Saint Michel Cathedral in Sherbrooke, a minor basilica in the Roman Catholic tradition. Shelving and other storage equipment must not clash with the understated beauty of the property, which is why archive managers chose muted colors for their custom installation.

Teaching people to fish (for history)

Above all else, powered mobile storage needed to be accessible for archive managers as well as visitors seeking answers. Users browsing the stacks or perusing the art will find drawers, racks and other hardware lightweight and easy to control.

Relics on racks

Montel included two art racks on either side of the installation perpendicular to the rails of the mobile shelving, a design unique to this particular installation and one unseen elsewhere in the industry.

Other features include the following:

  • Bin dividers for storing artwork.
  • Locking hinged doors for protecting priceless artifacts.
  • Horizontal rolled storage for preserving maps, charts, etc.

Montel believes mobile shelving makes excellent sense for any organization or business in search of smarter storage. Visit our blog to see our other success stories – like this one from the Boris Lurie Art Foundation in New York City – or reach out to an Authorized Montel Distributor today for more information.

Optimize or maximize? Win-wins with mobile shelving solutions

A change to mobile shelving can make a big difference to all sorts of businesses, whether they’re looking to shrink their storage footprint, expand it or simply do more with it.
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When was the last time you thought about how you shelve?

Every business, commercial or industrial, does it – but do they shelve as well as they could or should? And if not, what are they all missing out on by avoiding the problem?

A change to mobile shelving can make a big difference to all sorts of businesses, whether they're looking to shrink their storage footprint, expand it or simply do more with it.

Are you an Optimizer?

Is your storage occupying more cubic footage than you expected it to? With the wrong layout and static shelving, even businesses with minimal storage needs are susceptible to wasted space and high inventory management costs.

Mobile shelving systems optimize the area devoted to storage, freeing up new possibilities. What can businesses do with the space they save by installing customizable mobile storage solutions in their warehouse or stockroom?

For one, they can just leave it empty. After all, mobile storage modules condense the same volume of goods into an area 50 percent smaller than with static shelving. That level of spatial efficiency saves businesses immediately, especially if those businesses were planning to expand their properties, relocate or invest in off-site storage facilities because of their chronic storage issues.

Moreover, mobile shelving reduces recurring costs associated with per-square-foot refrigerated storage. According to investment management firm JLL, cold storage facilities cost triple what conventional warehouse storage cost. Mobile storage protects from overspending those who lease refrigerated storage units or who aim to invest capital in their own.

Are you a Maximizer?

On the flip side, a significant space savings of 50 percent will certainly tempt leaders to conceive of new ways to utilize areas once devoted to storage. Here are a few ways some Montel customers have used the space they saved by switching to mobile storage:

Expanded the sales floor: With a smaller storage footprint, retail businesses can grow their revenue-generating areas. Whether they choose to provide more room to mill about or a more diverse selection of goods, patrons will appreciate the improved shopping experience either way.

Added production or processing power: Industrial businesses such as manufacturing need their shop floors for far more than storing inventory and finished products. Reductions in storage open up opportunities to build a new line, for example, without overspending capital on a whole new facility.

Doubled up on storage: Warehouses are in the business of space. If they so choose, these businesses can reclaim aisles and maximize storage. Mobile shelving installations therefore give warehouses twice the capacity, twice as many vacancies to sell or utilize and twice as many SKUs to offer end users.

Whichever route you decide to take, trust that manual, mechanical-assist or powered mobile shelving solutions will propel your storage operations toward success. For more information, visit the Montel blog or reach out to your nearest Authorized Montel Distributor today.

Introducing HI-BAY MOBILE high-density solutions for off-site storage

If traditional static shelving options leave you desiring more, imagine what your off-site storage would be capable of with HI-BAY MOBILE from Montel.
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Do you have an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality about your off-site storage?

Storing goods away from your main facilities doesn’t make those things any less important or less susceptible to inefficiency. If traditional static shelving options leave you desiring more, imagine what your off-site storage would be capable of with HI-BAY MOBILE from Montel.

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6 industry-leading safety features built into Mobilex mechanical-assist mobile shelving [Video]

Goucher College, Baltimore, MD. Assembled by Douron Inc., Authorized Montel Distributor in Maryland.
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In the industrial spaces where high-density storage performs the greatest service – warehouses, off-site storage facilities and the like – all business must be built from the foundation of safety.

While the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports indicate the rates of fatal and non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses in the private sector are decreasing, facilities managers and site supervisors can’t let their guards down. After all, any number higher than zero is not worth celebrating.

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HEC Montréal rewrites the book on library storage with help from Montel

HEC Montreal has it all - a beautiful campus, diverse student body and innovative educative resources. What it didn't have, however, was state-of-the-art library storage. But things have changed.
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Internationally acclaimed management school HEC Montréal has it all – a beautiful campus, diverse student body and innovative educative resources.

What HEC Montréal didn’t have, however, was a state-of-the-art library storage system, one that met the high academic standards set by faculty and allowed learners to take full advantage of its collection of 300,000 monograph reference books and 1,400 periodicals.

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5 bright ideas for whiteboard end panels on mobile shelving units

Have you ever thought about all the things you could do with end-panel whiteboards on your mobile shelving?
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Steve Jobs loved whiteboards, or so the legend goes. It’s hard to imagine the late mastermind behind Apple and Pixar without a whiteboard as his backdrop.

Montel actually designed a Mobilex mobile shelving for Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., complete with – you guessed it – full-length whiteboards as the end panels.

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Introducing SafeCrank mobile shelving technology from Montel

How does mechanical-assist mobile shelving keep users protected at your place of business?
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Safety should always be a chief concern among business leaders.

Protecting employees from accidents in the workplace is not only the right thing to do morally, it’s one of the most cost-effective commitments an employer can make. According to research from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, American businesses spend an estimated $1 billion every week on workers’ compensation payments alone. Yikes! That can’t be good for the company checkbook or a brand’s reputation.

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