Tuesday, August 19, 2014

AK Receives 2013 Baker’s Dozen Award from Ridg-U-Rak

There are a lot of elements that contribute to the success of a company, both tangible and intangible, and which can vary from business to business, and industry to industry.  Beyond these, and more specifically, there are factors that complement each other in the creation of a successful material handling outfitter.  Meaningful business relationships, quality product offering, and, of course, product sales all fall within this realm, and the opportunity to work each day towards goals such as these is one of the things that excites us about what we do at AK. 

August 13th, we were proud to be presented with the 2013 Baker’s Dozen award from Ridg-U-Rak.  The Baker’s Dozen is an award given annually by Ridg-U-Rak to its top 13 distributors, and is gauged both by sales volume and total activity throughout the course of the year. This is our fourth consecutive year obtaining the award.  

As one of the largest pallet rack manufacturers in the whole of North America, Ridg-U-Rak pumps out a staggering 100 million pounds of pallet rack each year.  They’ve been a force for innovation since their inception over 65 years ago, and continue to be one today.

We’re grateful to Ridg-U-Rak — It’s an honor to be ranked in the top tier of distributors for such a sizable company — as well as our loyal customers, without whom selling pallet rack would be impossible.  We hope it’s a positive indicator of our progression as a leader in pallet rack and material handling equipment.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fun Friday. ALS #icebucketchallenge Accepted by AK Material Handling Systems

It’s happened — the viral trend that’s sweeping the nation and leaving participants drenched in ice water has reached our headquarters in Maple Grove, Minnesota.  We couldn’t be happier about it, too.  The Ice Bucket Challenge, also known as the 24-Hour Challenge, challenges participants to dump a bucket of ice water on their head, make a donation to The ALS Association, or both.  How does one become a participant? Prior to dumping ice water on their heads, participants nominate others to do the same, and the trend continues, growing exponentially larger.  The sensation has caught the attention of celebrities as well, with a number of public figures volunteering their efforts in videos that have already reached millions.

Yesterday, +AK Material Handling Systems  was nominated by MH Installations, and today we’re proud to say we’ve joined the fight against ALS by doing a team ice bucket dump.  Twelve of us, clad mostly in tee shirts and swim shorts, dumped five gallon buckets of ice water on our heads, and it was great.  Whenever an opportunity to simultaneously give back to the community and build team camaraderie presents itself, we do our best to make the most of it.

We hope those of you who are able to will join us and the countless others who have either donated or participated in the challenge to help raise awareness. As a company we are making a $250 donation to the cause.

And who are we nominating?  Unex Manufacturing, MHEDA, and WPRP - Pennsylvania!

Learn more about #icebucketchallenge here: http://www.alsa.org/news/archive/als-ice-bucket-challenge.html

Thank you MH Installations for the Challenge!

Check out the videos from Unex Manufacturing, MHEDA, and WPRP - Pennsylvania!

Unex Manufacturing MHEDA WPRP - Pennsylvania

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Meet the Faces Behind the Brand: Tiege Quinn

Today we’ll be continuing our Meet the Faces Behind the Brand blog series. This week’s face behind the brand: Tiege Quinn. Tiege is a warehouse specialist at +AK Material Handling Systems, and also manages new product inventory.  Equally important, he’s an adept angler, regularly competing and placing in fishing tournaments; if anyone here at AK needs advice on how to catch more than a nice sunburn on their next fishing outing, they know where to look. In this interview, Tiege talks about AK’s company culture, what he’s got playing on his iPod, and, of course, his affinity for rod and reel.

Tiege, what is your role at AKMHS and how long have you been with the company?
My role at AK is warehouse specialist/ new product inventory management and I have been with the company for three years.

How would you describe the company culture here at AK?
The company culture here at AK is all about teamwork and top quality service with an emphasis on having fun while we do it.

What excites you most about the future at AK?
It is excites me to see us growing with our team out in PA and shipping more and more across the country.

You’re a fishing guru.  Can you tell us a little about that?
It is true I am a die hard fisherman. I'm in my third year of fishing bass tournaments with a local BASS Nation club and also do a lot of fishing and teaching with my son Tobias.

What’s playing in your mp3 player or car stereo right now?
My radio is on 93x my iPod is on Nelly country grammar. I like a bit of everything

What do you enjoy most about what you do?
What I enjoy most about what I do is the fact that I don't have to go to the gym to lift weights after a day of work and knowing that I work for one of the BEST company's in the state.

  Tiege Quinn Fun Facts: 

- Tiege hasn’t taken a car to a mechanic in over 10 years. 

- He got his first bass at age 10, fishing in a flooded corn field on the side of the road.

- He’s a former military police officer.

- He has one child named Tobias.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Meet the Faces Behind the Brand: Jake Koski

Today, we continue our weekly blog series, “Meet the Faces Behind the Brand,” in which we get to know the people that make AK Material Handling Systems a great place to work.  This week, we talked with inside sales/rack specialist Jake Koski.  Jake works hard to ensure AK’s customers receive the helpful, professional experience they’ve come to expect from AKMHS.  In this week’s installment, Jake talks about what it’s like to work with his dad and brother in-law, his opinion on what makes AK such a fun place to work, what excites him most about the future of the company, and other topics as well.

What is your role at AKMHS?
I am an inside sales rack specialist.

How long have you been with AK?

12 years

What is the most exciting aspect of your position?

One of the most exciting aspects would be working with the customer from start to finish. It’s very gratifying to see the project through to the end.

What excites you the most about the future at AK?
I would say the growth of the company. I’ve been here 12 years and it’s amazing what has changed in that time. So I’m very excited to see what the future has to bring.

Do you have any role models or people you truly look up to?
I do, most of them are family members.

How do you think AK was able to be ranked as a Top 100 Company to work for three consecutive years?
Hard work, dedicated team members and drive to succeed!

As most people know AK is a very tight company, can you share what it’s like to work with your father and also your brother in-law?
 It’s great! I’m guessing not to many people can say they get to play pool with their dad at lunch every day. It’s nice working with my brother in-law to but he is afraid to play me in game of pool.

In Five words of less describe Jake Koski:
Dedicated, Honest, Fun and Reliable

  Jake Koski Fun Facts: 

- Spent a month abroad in Australia visiting his sister. 

- Shot his first buck at 300+ yards in Northern, MN

- Caught a Marlin in Mexico with his buddies. 

- Has four older sisters with twelve nieces and nephews 

- Self proclaimed Fantasy Football Nerd 

- Has dog named Remi  

Monday, August 4, 2014

How to Measure Low Profile Span Track

The importance of measuring correctly in preparation for the installment of new pallet rack systems is no unfamiliar topic to our blog posts here at AK Material Handling Systems.  Because incorrect measurements can often lead to unfortunate consequences, we typically recommend professional consultation during the planning process.  However, you may choose to measure your racking yourself anyway, or simply want to know more about the process itself and the steps we take in determining the correct measurements.  If this applies to you, our video with Brian Neuwirth of Unex Manufacturing may be able to help you out. 

Brian came to the AK Material Handling Systems headquarters to share some of his knowledge, and this video is one of the informative resources that came about as a result.  In the video, Brian talks specifically about how to measure when planning to outfit a rack system with a Span Track Low Profile carton flow system.

As Brian explains in the video, there are two measurements we’ll need to make in order to find the proper dimensions.  One of these measurements is the “out-to-out” of your pallet rack uprights.  In other words, you’ll need to know the distance between the two outside edges of your uprights, not the distance between the insides.  The second measurement you’ll need to know is the thickness of your pallet rack beams.  As you’ll see in the video, the thickness of the beam refers to the distance between the front and back sides of the beam, which is also typically the shortest beam dimension measurement (this explanation is a bit tricky, and we recommend you watch the video in order to see a visual representation of the measurement described).  Once these two measurements have been made, the final step is simply to subtract the sum of the two beam thicknesses from the out-to-out upright measurement.  In the video, the dimensions are: out-to-out: 42”; thickness: 2.5”(x2). 42 - 5 = 37.  And, voila.  The proper measurements have been obtained.

For more information on everything from warehouse layout and design to integrating carton flow systems into your current pallet rack system, visit our website at www.akequipment.com, email us at sales@akequipment.com, or give us a call at 800-722-5908.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Meet the Faces Behind the Brand: Dave Sewich

This week as we continue our "Meet the Faces Behind the Brand" blog series, we feature our newest addition to the team Dave Sewich.  Dave may be the newest member of the team but he has definately gotten to know the AK Team quickly by helping with this blog series interviewing different team members. When he is not pumping iron or hangin with buddies he is busy pumping up our SEO and Social Media presence.

Dave Sewich
Marketing Intern
Richfield, MN

What is your role at AKMHS?

As the marketing intern at AKMHS, I work with Jason to implement digital marketing strategies, such as social media marketing and search engine optimization.  I also author blogs and help keep company websites fresh and up to date.

What is the most exciting aspect of your position?

The most exciting aspect of my position is being able to contribute to the company in a meaningful way.  To be able to connect the company with people via social media and other platforms and play a part in the advancement of AK’s goals is definitely special.

What have you learned about the AK Company culture in your time here?

I’ve been amazed at how AK company culture seems to get everything right.  Everyone works as a team for the betterment of the company, but is simultaneously encouraged to contribute their own individual talents and given a certain level of autonomy.  The people are laid back, but also very professional and driven.

What excites you the most about the future at AK?

I’m very excited about AK’s goals to continue to grow and serve as a leader, as well its commitment to give back to the community through charity events.

Do you have any role models or people you truly look up to?

Besides my parents, who have always been role models for me, I also look up to my uncle.  He was able to build an insurance company from the ground up after returning from serving in Vietnam,  which is an accomplishment that has always impressed me.

What are some of your main hobbies?

I love lifting weights and doing anything with my buddies.  I like getting into the outdoors whenever I get a chance, and I’m playing guitar again after putting it down for a couple of years.

What do you find most interesting about working with pallet rack/warehouse design/installation, etc. ?

Pallet rack may not be the most flashy or glamorous product, but it’s one that plays an integral part in industry and businesses across the world.  Still, many people aren’t aware of what it is.  It’s fun to be able to help bring awareness not only to the AK brand, but to pallet rack as a product as well.

  Dave Sewich Fun Facts: 

- Been to 5 countries and 33 states

- Trained and competed in kickboxing and boxing in college

- Avid barbecuer who is a smoker specialist

- Only child - stealing Shawn’s thunder as the only only child at AK

- Have played guitar since age 13

- Played High School hockey for Richfield 

- Is a fitness buff, that understands weightlifting and how to follow a steady diet

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How to Store Your Kegs: Keg Storage Racks

The tap beer industry here in Minnesota and around the country is hopping, and many beer start-ups and craft breweries are hoping to tap into a more efficient means of storing their growing number of kegs.  Lame puns aside, storing these hefty, oblong metal barrels can present a serious logistical challenge to craft brewers, particularly for wholesalers and microbreweries experiencing growing pains.  Fortunately, there is a solution available for such brewers.  First, however, we’ll dive into a few of the unique challenges posed by kegs, so that we can better understand how to navigate them.

With the relatively rapid development of craft beer in the United States, brewers and wholesalers have had to meet consumer demand by brewing and supplying a wide array of beers.  This, of course, means additional complications when it comes to organizing and consolidating their beer inventory.  Kegs are difficult enough to store without the added challenge of an increasingly diverse inventory.  Breweries and wholesalers aren’t just diversifying their inventory, however, but adding to it as well, often resulting in a need for additional warehouse space. 

As anyone who has spent time handling kegs knows, they are incredibly heavy, and are shaped in a way that makes them difficult to store on pallets or on a traditional pallet rack system.  This weight, often in excess of 100 pounds, can put a considerable strain on storage systems and brewery workers alike.  Because of this, it is imperative that a keg storage system operate in a way that mitigates strenuous effort from workers, and is built to withstand an ever-present barrage of heavy metal beer barrels.

Unlike cartons, which are uniformly shaped without rounded edges and flow neatly when placed on a flow rack, the keg’s weight and unique shape make storing them in a first-in, first-out flow rack particularly difficult.  Kegs’ round edges mean that they won’t naturally file themselves behind one another in a rack, but will instead gather in an unorganized bunch, deflecting away from each other, and potentially off the rack itself.  To add to the difficulty, kegs must be stored standing up, meaning they have an unusually high center of gravity.  While cartons can often be stopped from falling off a rack by a low profile blocking mechanism, kegs must have a blocking mechanism that stops them at their higher center of gravity in order to prevent the kegs from simply tripping over the blocker and falling onto the floor.

While these challenges may seem too large a burden to overcome, this is not the case.  There is, in fact, a cost-effective solution to this logistical dilemma.  +AK Material Handling Systems
comes to the aid of brewers and wholesalers with the Keg Flow Rack Systems.  In order to meet demand from a growing number of brewers, AK has been offering flow rack systems designed specifically for keg storage.  Outfitted with large-diameter, high strength rollers, these flow racks are tough enough to stand up to the rigors of holding 100+ lb. kegs.  In order to keep kegs organized and in line, Keg Flow rack systems are outfitted with high-strength guard rails, which ensure kegs are consolidated and filed into individual lanes.  Of course, brewers and wholesalers will find themselves storing kegs of various sizes, so these lanes are fully adjustable in width.

At AK Material Handling Systems, we’ll work with you through each stage of finding a creative and effective solution to your storage problem, from consultation to installation.  Using Keg Flow technology and AK Material Handling Systems’ expertise and professionalism, we’ll provide you with a cost-effective and efficient means of getting your keg inventory organized, consolidated, and more productive, making keg storage racks a wise long-term investment for you and your brewery.  Get in touch with us via email at sales@akequipment.com, or talk to one of our helpful sales team members at 888-722-5908.