A poorly designed tool store or workshop can have numerous negative impacts, including inefficiency, loss and damage of high-value items…
Our team recently had the privilege to work with the Royal Australian Navy at their HMAS Stirling base. Located 50 km south of Perth City on Garden Island, this facility provides operational and logistics support to the fleet of Defence aircraft, ships and submarines based in Western Australia.
Maintenance and repair services to this fleet are performed by Fleet Support Unit-West (FSU-W). Our previous experience working with the Defence force led these specialised sailors to reach out to Tradesales when planning their latest workshop upgrade.
Our Defence lead, Army Reservist Troy Guyette was invited to the base to fit out a deficient workshop that was causing the staff significant problems.
In this workshop, the sailors worked on the pumps and turbines used in the Navy’s frigates. A big problem in the workshop was that staff had only two bays to work on this heavy machinery and no regular access to a forklift. Staff were often forced to work on the floor – a safety hazard that can cause joint, posture, and circulation problems.
The existing workbenches and tool storage were damaged, very mix ’n’ match, and otherwise not fit for purpose. Team members of various different heights were sharing the same unergonomic workstations that couldn’t be height adjusted.
These problems were negatively impacting the capability and productivity of the workshop and causing low morale among the team members. When morale is low, poor work performance and quality follow.
Tradesales knows what works and doesn’t work in a workshop, and working in consultation with the unit, we came up with a fit-out that would increase the workshops’ capabilities from two inadequate work bays to five first-class work bays. This fit-out was concepted with detailed 3D drawings and models allowing FSU-W to visualise our plans.
A critical part of the project was to make each of these bays identical and interchangeable. A sailor who was working in Bay 1 on Monday needed to be able to pick up work in Bay 5 on Friday knowing how to use the equipment and where to find tools and parts.
We designed each bay with two height-adjustable workbenches that could adapt to any user or application and be comfortably worked on. These workbenches were equipped with a louvred and perforated backboard to access tools and materials, overhead lighting to illuminate the workspace, and GPOs to charge tools.
Each bay also featured a heavy-duty MAXA Workstation. The drawer cabinets and double door cabinets in this station provided maximum storage space in the smallest footprint and with the galvanised benchtop also doubling as additional workspace.
The problem with forklifts not being regularly accessible was solved with each bay also featuring a large mobile workbench. The team could use the workshop’s crane gantry to lift pallets onto the mobile workbench and then wheel the equipment to their work bay.
This workshop-fit was a turn-key package which included consulting and conceptualisation, to engineering and manufacturing, and finally delivery and installation. This meant that the at FSU-W sailors could focus on maintaining our Naval assets and not on fitting out their workshop with equipment they were unfamiliar with.
The feedback from the FSU-W sailors has been positive all around. The new capabilities of the workshop have optimised productivity, and perhaps, more importantly, the team’s morale. The sailors are now stepping into this workshop with enthusiasm and excitement.
During the installation, sailors from around the base were keen to check out the project, and many finished their visits with envious eyes. Since completion, we’ve had subsequent enquiries for more Defence workshop fit outs and projects.
Here at Tradesales, we know what we’re doing and provide a premium product and service to the Defence industry. And as a WA-owned and operated company, our equipment is manufactured or warehoused in WA, which means we can provide support throughout the entire lifecycle.