How Less Part Numbers Create Tougher, More Versatile Systems
By: Dan Matz, ErectaStep Sales Manager, North America
At ErectaStep, we’re always on the lookout for ways to improve. Whether it’s a technique to make our products safer or a new technology that can help us be leaner on the factory floor, we work to incorporate the innovations that make us better.
Recently, we made a change to the way we produce our modular crossover systems, which has transformed the way we build and the way we sell. But most of all, it’s improved the strength and versatility of our product — giving customers more confidence knowing they’re even safer in their day-to-day tasks.
Stackable Components Heighten Options
This year we reduced the number of distinct parts, or SKU numbers, that make up our crossover platform systems. By decreasing this number of possible SKUs from 62 down to 20, we’ve actually increased how high they can go. Now, our crossover systems can be ordered as high as 20 steps, whereas they used to only go up to 11.
How exactly is it possible to come down in SKUs, but up in height? To start, there are five components that fit together to make different formations of the crossover system: the platform, stairs, ladder unit, tower support and handrails. In the past, three of these components (the stair, ladder and tower) used to have 20 SKU options to choose from. But with our new system, they each only have six SKU options.
So when you’re choosing a set of stairs, you could choose a 1-, 2-, or 3-step, all the way up to a 6-step. For anything above 6 steps, you’d mix and match to get your desired height (for 10 steps, for example, you’d select two 5-steps). The same goes for the other components. For tower supports, you would also choose by the step count, from 1 through 6.
Although there are fewer parts to choose from, you actually get more height options because these new parts are stackable. You can mix and match the six size options into any number of combinations up to 20 steps. In the past, the parts only went as high as could be built in one individual part and still be safe. (The safe maximum was 11 steps, so, you’d have to order one whole 11-stair unit to get that height.)
Stronger When Together
So what does this all mean for you, the customer? As it turns out, stacking parts together isn’t only about having more options and being able to get higher. It’s actually safer than ordering one individual unit that’s 11-steps high. That’s because in our industry, connections are stronger than the individual parts. Every place where we can add a stiffener or hook between parts, that makes the system as a whole stronger.
This new stackable approach also says more about the strength of the individual components themselves. Because a 3-step tower support could either be a part of a 3-step system in the field or a part of a larger 20-step system, all of our towers have to be built strong enough to support the largest option. Customers can truly feel confident when working on any size ErectaStep system, because each individual piece is adaptable — and durable enough — for a variety of set-ups.
In addition to the added strength benefits, our new “less is more” approach also makes for an easier product set to handle — both on our floor and on the floors of our distributors.
These new parts are easy to stock because nearly every component can or will be used in every configuration. This means no slow-moving inventory. It also means we have a high turnaround speed, which saves you time, resources and money. It also means we’re the most versatile platform system out there.
In order for the old ErectaStep to match the capabilities of the new ErectaStep, we would need to stock 20 towers, 20 ladders and 20 stair units. When you add the platform and handrail components, that’s a total of 62 SKUs per system. That’s a lot to have in stock at one time — and difficult to manage! With fewer parts overall, this creates an easier inventory and a leaner, more cost-efficient process for both our team and our distributors to manage.
Have other questions about how our ErectaStep crossover systems help get your business where it needs to go? Contact a local representative to learn more!