It all stacks up

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This article appeared in the April/May 2018 issue of Logistics & Materials Handling.

After two decades building its reputation for reliable storage solutions for the timber industry, BHD Storage Solutions has its eyes set firmly on becoming the materials handling industry’s go-to manufacturer and supplier of reliable storage equipment.

Since 1999, Victoria-based BHD Storage Solutions has supplied cantilever racking – or tree racking, so named for its protruding appendages branching out from a vertical base – to the timber industry and major hardware retail chains in Australia and New Zealand.
Following the company’s acquisition in 2014, it turned its focus on the varied storage needs of the country’s broad range of industries, applying the company’s in-house storage expertise across warehousing, logistics, retail, and beyond. It was decided early on that the company would need a new name to reflect its new direction and capabilities. In October 2017, the company officially rebranded from MECA Racking Solutions to BHD Storage Solutions.

BHD boasts dedicated and thorough racking design, manufacture and installation services, thanks to the vision and hard work of owner Suny Deng and Managing Director Jessica Zhu. “We no longer look after just the timber industry,” says Jessica. “Now, we provide for the whole storage solutions industry, stocking tyre, pigeon-hole, mezzanine, long-span and pallet racking, and electronic, mobile and shuttle storage technologies.”

Jessica explains that moving towards a full-service offering was a key consideration during the company’s acquisition.

“The majority of storage solutions providers in the industry focus on one end of projects – they either do technical design here in Australia and outsource manufacturing to another country, or they focus on manufacturing and hand over the finished goods,” she says. “At BHD, we lead projects all the way from conception through to customer delivery – that’s something we decided to do right away when we started the acquisition.”
This has helped BHD quickly become a force to be reckoned with for storage solutions, Jessica explains, as they can react quickly to customer needs and deliver projects promptly.

“Offering a full service makes BHD more competitive, but more importantly, the customers get more efficient responses, better cost control and can see across the whole project more transparently than when dealing with several companies, or across several countries,” she says. “We are one of very few in the industry capable of providing truly turnkey solutions, from production through to completion of projects.”

What’s in a name?
The company’s new name reflects the importance its new owners place on their obligations to its people, its customers, and its future, Jessica explains. “BHD stands for ‘beholden’, meaning ‘responsible’,” Jessica adds. “Our slogan is ‘Beholden to the future’ and this idea runs throughout the business.
“We are responsible to our people – to their job satisfaction, health and ownership of their performance. This supports our responsibility to our customers, to give them high-quality, safe completed projects. It is paramount to us that we can walk away and sleep at night after completing a project. Finally, we are responsible for supporting our own success, and happy customers and treating employees right will help us to achieve that.”
Protecting against the unknown
Jessica explains that BHD prides itself on being a problem solver for its customers. “I think that Australia’s logistics professionals are very capable at identifying and solving issues to avoid crises,” says Jessica. “The issue, however, is that since supply chains are long, with many links and people involved along the way, it’s not always possible to buffer for contingencies. When something goes wrong, fixing it requires a coordinated effort by various people in various job functions, which is time-consuming, and can cause more problems.”

She explains that BHD’s full-service offering enables the company to take care of its customers’ storage worries, delivering them a prompt resolution. “We take everything under our control,” she says. “Our promise to the customer is to let them hear no noise, only solutions.”

She gives the example of a customer that had been a long-time customer of the company in its previous iteration, who approached BHD with a seemingly impossible task.

“A customer we had worked with for many years in the cantilever industry approached us for our help with an extremely time-tight project,” Jessica explains. “He was seven days out from opening a store in time for Christmas, and had been let down by the supplier set to help stock the store with 1,000 pallets. It was a very tough deadline to meet, and obviously not many people can achieve that.”

The customer offered BHD the opportunity to stock the store, noting that he was prepared for there to be a delay in opening. “Because we have the advantage of controlling every part of the process, from design and manufacture to project delivery, we managed to finish the project in seven days,” says Jessica. “Our team all worked together to successfully carry out the project.

She explains that collaboration between BHD’s overseas manufacturing facility and Melbourne-based warehouse means the company efficiently manages the stock both in the mill and in the warehouse to adapt to changes in demand, saving customers from having to wait two to three weeks for shipment.

“The customer was able to open his store on time, and we’re now his go-to provider for all his storage needs,” Jessica adds.

Branching out
As BHD now undertakes major projects from a broad range of industries, it has been important to ensure its team works together seamlessly and effectively, Jessica notes. “In the past, when the company dealt with the timber industry, and only cantilever racking, the order sizes were far smaller,” she says. “We are incredibly fortunate as the company has team members that have expertise acquired over two decades in the storage industry. With the move towards becoming a provider of supply-chain storage solutions, and the large projects involved, though, it was crucial for us to develop and foster a strong culture.
“We needed cohesion between the salespeople, the finance and operations teams, construction managers, the manufacturing team, and everyone in between. The effort we have put into this has been worthwhile, as it has enabled us to deliver large orders, to a high quality, and on time.”

Jessica adds that the close team dynamic also helps when customer needs change partway through a project. “We involve customers heavily at the beginning, to establish their needs,” she says. “We help them consider whether a short-term solution suits them, or whether they are in need of a long-term inventory plan. It’s not unusual for customers to change their plans when the project has been designed, approved and started, due to unforeseen circumstances, but we’re able to be very responsive across our team.”

Passion for growth
Jessica has been a passionate advocate of the storage industry for a decade, and in her seven years with BHD she has seen it grow from a medium-sized business serving loyal customers in a niche market to a large organisation forging relationship with major international companies and expanding its capabilities tenfold. “I saw the opportunity for expansion for BHD when I first joined the company and, when it was acquired by Suny Deng. Fortunately he shared my enthusiasm for the potential of the industry, the technology and its people.”

Jessica adds that she loves delivering complex projects for customers, while making sure they experience no stress. “When I meet a customer who has a task they need help in handling, and we exceed their expectations for budget, professionalism, deadline and quality, it makes all of the effort worth it,” she says. “When our customers’ project managers or supply-chain managers tell us we have conquered a challenge, that gives me great pride.

“We never have ‘short-term’ customers; we’re always considering how we can contribute to their long-term success. I take pride in seeing our long-term large customers expanding sustainably, and small customers growing their successes together with our team.”