The Cart Corrals
One bigger project I worked on that actually has more to do with organization than resourcefulness was when our store got new cart corrals that needed to be built.
From the beginning, when my manager asked me to help with a “5 min” project to get the corrals out of the truck, I knew I was in for a mess. All the pieces of the 12 steel corrals were tied together in bundles of each type of piece. And to make things difficult, none of the bundles were on pallets, so this 5 min project turned into a 2 hours one, trying to figure out how to get the bundles out without having to unstrap them and take each piece out individually.
Well of course with my mind, I’m start trying to come up with solutions to drag each bundle out with our stock picker and electric pallet jacks. First, we tried to tie some cord around the stock picker and the bundles, but that only got us to the end of the truck, but it all got hung up trying to get the stuff around the corners to be placed outside. We tried lifting the stack ends with the stock picker too but all that did was push up the bars on top of the forks and the rest just laid there wanting to bust out of the straps. So to fix that I looked for board or something I could use to lift all the bars up at once to attempt to slide a pallet under, and we almost got it, but couldn’t quite get the pallet under with the machine in the way holding the bars up. So eventually we ended up having to just take each individual piece one by one out of the truck and stacked outside on the loading dock.
Unfortunately, the other people I was working with didn’t quite think things through like I was and they ended up just throwing each piece in big piles that weren’t really neat or organized, instead of stacking them against the fence like I was doing to keep them out of the way. So once we finished unloading the truck so the driver could get out of there, I knew that we could not just leave the pieces scattered on the dock like that, so I went out and started trying to figure out how to put one together so I could get them built and off the dock. Of course all that time, the original people helping me, were thinking I was wasting my time because they were misinformed and thought that we had a contractor that was supposed to coming in to put them together. I knew that was not true so I didn’t bother arguing with them, I just started trying to assemble the pieces so I knew how they were supposed to be set up and since I knew that someone was going have to start building these things.
It took a few minutes to figure out the correct order of the pieces for the corral but I eventually got it and showed my managers. I then tore it down again and placed the pieces on two pallets side by side to be taken to the proper location in the parking lot. At first, my plan was to just get the mess of pieces organized so that someone could easily come grab a set and drive it over with the forklift between the two pallets. So I went and grabbed a stack of empty pallets and started setting them out in groups of two, side by side, around the loading dock. Then I went around to each one of the piles of pieces and grabbed the appropriate number of each and made the kits for each corral to be assembled later. Once I got those kits pretty much together, I then had to go tear down the old corrals which was a pain cause they were all bolted together unlike these new ones, and many of the pieces were rusted on. So I spent a good deal of time just sawing off bolts or using the forklift to help bend the bars until they broke.
The first day when I started installing all the corrals around the parking lot, I had to search for someone to help hold the middle piece up until I could get at least one of the sides in, but after a while I was getting tired of searching for a new person to come help me since I wasn’t always ready to install them all at once. So eventually I figured out that I could just back the forklift up and lean the middle section up against it while I put the sides in. So I installed the rest of the corrals myself with that method. Overall, it took me about 2.5 days to finish all of those corrals; kind of crazy for an initial job that was only supposed to take me 5 minutes.
Above: This is the piles of pieces for the cart corrals that were kind of scattered all over the place in the loading dock.
Below: These pictures show the multiple kits I set up for the multiple corrals I had to put together. Because I set up the kits like this, I was able to just come in with the forklift and take each set to its respective location in the parking lot.