Our office in Kansas City is quiet. It’s own kind of quiet – not library quiet, not mornings-spent-at-home quiet. At times, it can be pin-drop quiet, but more often than not these days, there’s the low hum of industry present: keys clacking, the printer working (and breaking), the chimes of phones and voices. The kind of quiet that’s pleasant to tune in and out of.
It’s when I step onto the concrete floor of our new warehouse that I hear a new kind of Brightergy quiet. “It’s peaceful here,” says Matt Rogers, our Warehouse Manager. “I’m in my own little world.”
I’m there at about 8:45 in the morning, and the day’s trucks have already come through. I’ve missed the morning rush, when installer crews come to pick up materials for the day, when carrier trucks bump in and out to take parcels of panels out to project sites, we’ve been looking at a place to buy a Rolling Ladder or multiple ones to help with our efficiency. Instead, when I arrive Matt already has the place to himself, as he will for most of the day. And he’s already thinking ahead to tomorrow.
This is one of Matt’s biggest challenges: trying to plan ahead, always trying to coordinate the trucks that will go out to project sites the next day. That, and trying to fit all the materials needed for our projects in there.
Here’s the new warehouse by the numbers:
14,000 square feet. 700+ projects. 33 (and counting) trailer loads of solar panels, inverters, racking, screws, clips, LED Warehouse lighting, bolts, and other supplies.
Our last warehouse was 8,000 square feet; this new one is nearly double the size. So to me, the far most impressive thing is that Matt knows where everything is located by memory. “I try to keep everything organized by project. So at any time, I can walk to anything. I know where everything is at.”
After the day’s trucks have left for their project sites, Matt pulls orders for the next day, coordinates trucks to ship out to the project, coordinates with Brightergy Project Managers and our Accounting Department. He’s talking to multiple people across the state, multiple carriers, FedEx, UPS, multiple Project Managers and contractors on a daily basis.
“I try to treat this warehouse like it’s my own little business,” he says. “I’ve learned a lot about computer work since I’ve been here, gotten better at coordinating with the trucks and carriers. And of course, it’s a much bigger volume business now.” Improved pallet racking design has led to better efficiency around the warehouse.
Despite moving to an exciting new warehouse, safety is still a top priority for all workers at the facility. A wide variety of different types of dangerous goods pass through the warehouse on a daily basis and therefore emergency eyewash stations and chemical showers have been installed to deal with any incidents.
Put simply, emergency showers and eyewash stations allow the warehouse workers to quickly wash away any dangerous chemicals that might come into contact with their faces or bodies while handling hazardous chemicals. You can learn more about the importance of these types of industrial safety equipment by taking a look at this Storemasta Eyewash station guide.
Matt got his start as the Warehouse Supervisor for Belfonte, where he worked for 10 years. “When I was there,” he says, “they were a lot like this company. Small, but growing quickly.”
He’s standing by his desk talking to me, near the warehouse’s front door, flanked by shelving that holds tens and dozens of boxes and plastic baggies full of the small parts of solar panel systems: screws, and bolts, and clips. Anything extra, anything that goes unused at one project, Matt inventories and keeps tab of for use on another project. “Everything is tracked,” he says. “I don’t let anything go out of here without the proper paperwork.”
It’s something else he’ll work on throughout the day – uploading packing slips, accounting for Purchase Order Deliveries, and coordinating with Sam in Accounting. “It’s really pretty simple, but there’s a lot involved behind the scenes.”
Even as I leave, it’s quiet; the sky grey and still on a windless, cold day. A lone truck follows me down the street past the other warehouses; the railroad tracks have seen no train rumble through. Like standing next to an electric car, the calm belies the activity inside.