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- Kardex Group
George Harms Construction Company Inc. has built an unparalleled track record of turning enormous construction challenges into large-scale success. Since 1960, George Harms Construction Co. has completed construction projects ranging from highways and bridges to landfills and runways, railroads and electrification, dams, pipelines, buildings, pole line construction, toll plazas and pump stations. The foundation of their success is a solid work ethic that fosters teamwork, inspires creativity, and rewards initiative at every level of their organization.
With approximately 200 employees George Harms Construction Co. performs between $40 and $50 million dollars worth of work yearly. They have been ranked twice in Engineering News Record's top 400 construction firms in the United States.
To remain at the top of the construction business George Harms Construction Co. relies on a dedicated workforce combined with cutting edge technology. All project management, cost accounting, estimating, design and financial functions utilize the latest tools and technologies to maximize efficiencies.
One area that was targeted for improvement was the handling of files in the main office. "With each new construction project comes a mountain of paperwork; from bids and estimates to approvals and invoices everything is documented," says Gary Abadrabo, Chief Financial Officer. Keeping the growing number of project files organized and accessible was becoming a challenge.
George Harms Construction Co. implemented 4 Kardex Remstar Lektriever Electrical Lateral Filing (ELF) systems throughout the facility to improve worker safety and ergonomics, increase filing capacity by 38% and double productivity.
Need For Improvement
Previously project files were stored in standard four drawer file cabinets, with an additional two drawer filing cabinet stacked on top. A ladder was required to access the top two drawers. "Employee safety is a major concern for us, our employees are our greatest asset," says Abadrabo, "We sought to take a proactive approach to safety and improve our filing technology."
Priority Number One
With employee safety at the top of the list, George Harms Construction Co. installed two Lektriever ELF's in the accounts payable department, one Lektriever ELF in the estimating department and one Lektriever ELF in the human resources department.
Because of the intricate and technical details of a project the file can grow quite large; up to 5 or more inches and weigh up to 15 pounds per file. Using a ladder to retrieve and store these files was putting employees at unnecessary risk of injury.
With the new Lektriever ELF's all files are delivered to the employee at an ergonomic height. The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) guidelines recommend that all items are accessible between 15 inches and 48 inches from the ground, eliminating bending, reaching and lifting. With an OSHA friendly design and in compliance with ADA standards, the Lektriever ELF delivers all stored files to an ergonomic work counter measuring 39 inches from the floor. Further, no ladder is required and there is no bending, reaching or stooping required by the employee to retrieve the file.
In addition, each Lektriever ELF is fitted with a work counter, so the employee can remove the file and use the work counter to quickly review the file before replacing it. This eliminates time wasted transporting the file to and from an employee's desk for a quick filing reference.
Each carrier is equipped with rollout drawers for top tab hanging files. Once the ELF has rotated to the desired carrier or shelf, the employee simply releases the latch on the drawer, and uses minimal force to pull the file drawer out to locate the file.
More Filing Capacity
In addition to improved worker safety and ergonomics, George Harms Construction Co. increased filing capacity by 38% in the same footprint. "The way we had the filing cabinets stacked made them pretty space efficient, but the Lektriever ELFs allowed us to get even more filing capacity in roughly the same footprint," says Abadrabo. The accounts payable, estimating and human resource filing capacity grew by 2,707 lateral filing inches (LFI) providing a 38% increase in file capacity.
Filing Faster Than Ever
Eliminating the time spent searching for the right file cabinet and climbing up and down ladders to retrieve files, filing productivity is faster than ever. Previously, an employee would look up the file drawer cabinet and drawer number the file was located in, search for that particular file cabinet and retrieve the file from the correct drawer.
Employees now lookup which carrier or shelf number the file is located on, and with the push of a button the employee rotates the carriers around like a carousel. Once at the correct carrier or shelf, the employee can easily locate and retrieve the file. "It's simple, an employee types in the carrier number they require and the machine brings the files to them, making finding a file twice as fast," says Abadrabo.
A Good Fit
Installing the 4 Lektriever ELFs has allowed George Harms Construction Co. to improve worker safety and ergonomics, increase filing capacity and improve productivity. "The Lektriever ELFs fit into our company mission to provide our employees a safe work environment, make our processes more efficient and provide our customers the best possible service," says Abadrabo.