When A Laboratory Is Space-Challenged – Tips for Designers

When A Laboratory Is Space-Challenged – Tips for Designers

The good news for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory was they were getting two new buildings. The bad news? The square footage would actually be less than the buildings they were leaving. PNNL’s program manager Greg Herman had to look for ways to fit more into less. Working with his design team, he maximized space by keeping walls to a minimum. Mobile casework and quick-disconnect workbenches allowed him to reconfigure “ballroom-type” laboratories in a matter of days, rather than taking time to demolish and rebuild interior walls.

Just as important was determining what equipment was the most reliable, useful, and best quality. “If it’s not reliable, then the users are not going to use it,” stated Herman. What made the cut? Read the complete story at http://bit.ly/1GOjLNr.

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Santa’s Little Helpers: Amazon’s Robots

Santa’s Little Helpers: Amazon’s Robots

It’s no secret that Amazon’s warehouse management is state-of-the-art. In its pursuit of ever-faster fulfillment, Amazon has started using a robot-assisted picking system named Kiva. Dave Clark, Amazon’s V.P. of worldwide operations, says, “Kiva’s doing the part that’s not that complicated. It’s just moving inventory around.” People do the part that requires judgement, confirming that the item is the correct one (and whether it meets Santa’s standards).

In additional to efficiency gains, one of the great benefits of the robotic system is a net gain in storage space – robots don’t need aisles. Storage racks can be condensed to increase capacity without expanding the warehouse’s footprint – a cost-savings gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. Read the full story at: http://wrd.cm/16KebkB

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Hospitals Designing for Constant Change

Hospitals Designing for Constant Change

Technology innovations, regulatory revisions, demographic shifts – they all add up to an ever-changing healthcare environment. “The best investment a healthcare organization can make is in a facility that can—and will—change,” says Lisa Regan, director of performance and transformation for Bluewater Health of Ontario. Regan and her colleagues cite modular design as the key to flexible space utilization, starting with building designs that allow for a variety of space usages over time. Modular cabinetry and furnishings are an essential part of the flexibility picture, moving out of “soft spaces” such as storage areas and offices whenever “hard spaces” such as imaging or surgery need to expand. In a recent Bluewater Health hospital re-fit, 80% of the new cabinetry was reconfigurable casework. Regan estimated the modular casework yielded a 74% savings when the spaces had to be reconfigured only a year later. Read the full story at http://bit.ly/1GdTUAh.

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Your Gift from the IRS: The Equipment Purchase Deduction

Your Gift from the IRS: The Equipment Purchase Deduction

As the song says, “It’s that time of year,” time to take advantage of Section 179, the tax rule that allows you to deduct the full purchase price of business equipment, up to $25,000. New equipment put into service before December 31st can be deducted from your business’s gross income under Section 179. It’s that simple. And everything we provide – high density storage systems, RFID systems, materials handling equipment, for example – qualifies for the deduction.

More good news: When you add in depreciation, the total tax reduction is even greater. This calculator shows the savings: http://bit.ly/11RTHn5. Check with your tax professional, then give us a call.

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Is a Messy Desk the Secret to Creativity?

Is a Messy Desk the Secret to Creativity?

Are clean minimalist office designs actually stifling innovation? Famed organizational guru Barbara Hemphill said, “Clutter is nothing more than deferred decisions.” But Kathleen Vohs, a professor at the University of Minnesota, discovered that messiness may actually assist the creative process. She found that people who were seated in a tidy, orderly room made very conventional choices, while people seated in a messy room tended to make novel, innovative choices. She theorized that orderliness subtly conveys approval of safe, tidy thinking. Messiness, however, encourages people to think outside the box.

This has implications for the workplace, as Vohs points out in a New York Times article: http://nyti.ms/1AJxyX9. The minimalist modern designs and shared workspaces common in today’s office interiors don’t really encourage messiness. Yet those designs are the ones most favored by creative professions such as IT and advertising. Are modern office designs actually suppressing creativity? What’s your opinion?

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