September 2014 – Shepley In Hyannis Gets A New Look!

Our Hyannis yard has a whole new look. Using a roller rack storage system, from auto-stak Systems, Inc., that we first implemented in our Wellfleet yard some years ago, we have now changed the way we store and sell trim boards, sheet goods, decking, PVC items, fir timbers, and sensitive pressure treated items. Our new auto-stak is a roofed over rack system that measures 200’ x76’ and allows us to very efficiently stock many non bulk stock items in a way that will make your pick up orders, and our picking for delivery, much more efficient and convenient. The items in the auto-stak are protected from the elements by a 20’ overhang on each side and the system is well labeled and staffed by a dedicated team to get you the right items in record time.

We have grouped items by: picking frequency; by association (which items go with which); and by geography to significantly reduce forklift travel. We are taking labeling to a whole new level, to make it easy to understand what each product is. We are staffing the auto-stak with a specialized team, led by new recruit, Tom Dias (pronounced (Dee-as), who comes to us from North Conway NH, where he was the general manager of Chick’s Lumber. Tom brings a wealth of industry experience. His mission is to make the auto-stak the centerpiece of our entire yard reorganization. Not only will it help on the efficiency and convenience end, but it will also serve as a training center to ensure that our folks get plenty of hands on training with product.

We have moved the pressure treated along side the auto-stak as PT is a category that is continually being picked up, so we have clustered frequent pick up items together. We want service levels to increase and customers coming into the yard to get help picking their stock and advice whenever they need it. We are instituting a labeling procedure that will put a product label on the lower left hand corner of every lift, so that you always have a consistent place to look for an identifier.

KD spruce and plywoods will be similarly labeled and in new locations that fan them out around a centralized loading area and localized receiving area. Our load picking will evolve to be more localized with more picking done by yard staff who specialize in particular areas, to cut down on unnecessary travel and  allow them to be better trained and educated about the products they handle.

Construction hardware and fasteners will move next to the auto-stak for far greater convenience than driving across the yard. The current hardware shed will become a sales area for liquidation stock.

We have planned all this out with the help of an outside consultant who is a lean manufacturing expert. Instead of telling us what to do, he did a masterful job of guiding us to our own discoveries.  He gave us the factual, black and white analysis, which was often eye-opening, but coached us, instead of pushing us, to conclusions. Huge credit goes to our operations guys who have had to not only deal with all the changes, but to actually implement them. All our yard and warehouse staff deserve great credit for trusting in the process, daring to make a few mistakes, learning from them, and then keeping the process moving forward. Eric Hoffer, longshoreman/philosopher is credited with the quote “Change doesn’t take place until the pain of the status quo exceeds the pain of change”. While that quote may be very reflective of human nature, I am proud to say I work with a group that doesn’t wait until they are simply forced to change, they change because they’re competitive and want to be better. Never in 36 years, have I worked with a better overall group of people, who are focused on what we can do to aim higher.


“The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order” – Alfred North Whitehead, English mathematician and philosopher



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