Tried and tested: 20-years of Excellence at MHA Cardiff with Industore’s Automated Storage

MHA Cardiff (formerly Watts Gregory LLP) is a distinguished firm of Chartered Accountants, Business Advisers and Tax Consultants, renowned for their commitment to excellence and high professional standards. For two-decades, this leading organisation has been backed by two Hänel Rotomats (automated storage carousels) – which have operated for two-decades, 24/7/365, without skipping a beat.

By 2005, Watts Gregory had relocated their head office to Cardiff Gate, mandating the transfer of some 3,500 paper accounts. With a view to ensuring the best possible use of their new space, Watts Gregory approached Industore, the UK and Ireland’s leading experts in intralogistics and ASRS (Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems). Following comprehensive discussions and site-audit, the account was assigned to Industore’s Founder (and today, Chairman) Richard H Powell, due to his expertise in file and paper storage, along with a track record of success in similar environments.

WATCH NOW: The Hänel Rotomat in operation at Watts Greggory – a video interview with Kathy Challinor, Admin Receptionist.

Richard explains his thought process:

“Watts Gregory posed the same question as many successful companies…

‘How can we futureproof ourselves, maximise storage capacity on a small footprint, therefore freeing-up space for new and additional services?’

…The firm’s former site was very well-organised, but traditional storage methods (racking and shelving) demanded an enormous amount of space, and offered such minimal efficiency. A new site presented a great opportunity to reexamine storage and retrieval processes, and introduce modern solutions, like our Rotomats [vertical storage carousel] and software integrations.”

Industore uniquely combines the world’s leading automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) with what we refer to as ‘architectural logic’. This is the process of mapping out a space, understanding the desired outcomes, and designing the ideal, optimised layout. We then recommend (where appropriate to do so) new processes and procedures to maximise throughput, while considering real-world practicalities – ensuring our clients get the most from the space available.

Why were Hänel Rotomats (vertical storage carousels) the clear, solution for Watts Gregory?

Rotomats are distinguished by their arrangement of carriers, positioned at fixed locations. Employing a Ferris wheel-like movement, requested items are efficiently transported to the picker, utilising the “fastest route” system. This ensures swift access to items, whether in a forward or backward motion, tailored to the specific job need. The requested items are then provided to the picker at an ergonomic level – ensuring health and safety of the picker, as well as enhanced safety for the item. The consistent size of all files and folders at Watts Gregory (A4 folders) further underscored the suitability of Rotomats for their storage requirements.

Recognising the criticality of documents stored by the client, Project Manager Richard Powell also specified a software integration, enabling precise tracking of ‘who took what, when, and from where’. This implementation guaranteed comprehensive, consistent record audit trails, fostering accountability and bolstering security measures. Industore’s IT experts oversaw a seamless transition of systems, facilitating a near-identical system for staff, thereby eliminating any steep learning curves.

Agreeing to Industore’s layout recommendations, Watts Gregory proceeded with the installation of the two Hänel Rotomats, directly behind reception, in a lockable room. While this was certainly the most efficient use of space and practical solution, the location of the new lifts posed several challenges for the installation team – notably the extremely small and tight space in which to complete the builds. Thankfully, Industore’s installation professionals and engineers demonstrated their expertise and experience by overcoming these obstacles. Despite the constraints, the Rotomats were successfully installed in a live environment, meaning that no disruption or delays were caused to business operations. This highlights Industore’s commitment to delivering efficient solutions with little-to-no disruption.

Jacqui Edwards, Watts Gregory office manager on her experience working with Industore:

“We knew that we needed our new space to offer greater efficiency, because the company was growing, and the need for greater storage capacity was the only way to future proof the company.  Industore were clearly experts when it came to automated storage lifts and operational planning, but it was perhaps their patience, and ability to explain to everyone here at Watts-Gregory [now MHA Cardiff] what success would look like, that impressed us most of all. The logic and their suggestions were carefully explained to us, and we were able to see one of their Rotomats in operation on another one of their client sides, which really acted as a catalyst for us deciding to purchase from them – the choice was made so clear!”

Industore’s meticulous architectural logic facilitated the design and layout of Watts Gregory’s storage space, culminating in the installation of two Hänel Rotomats for file storage. Today, these Rotomats have been operational for two decades, operating seamlessly with 24/7/365 availability, without a single error, mistake, or malfunction. This is partly thanks to the extremely good quality parts and meticulous build-quality of Hänel products, as well as Industore’s engineers and their dedication to excellence and attention to detail. All Industore installers and engineers are extremely well-trained professionals, who regularly receive top-up training, courses, and tests related to their work. It is also thanks to Watts Gregory’s two-decade-long service contract with Industore. Their service contract (sometimes referred to as ‘Industore Aftercare’) has meant that every year, a seasoned, well-trained, Industore engineer has visited Watts Gregory to service their machines – ensuring that everything is working as it should. As well as providing peace of mind to this leading financial services company, the service contract has ensured that in the very unlikely case of a fault or malfunction, a trained Industore engineer would be on-hand to assist, quickly. In 20 years, neither of Watts Gregory Rotomats has needed additional care, or a single replacement – which is a testament to the quality of both the machines and the services that have taken place at regular intervals.

The integration of Industore’s Hänel Rotomat into Watts Gregory’s workflow has revolutionised their file management. The intuitive nature of the Rotomat, coupled with digital integration facilitated by Industore, has streamlined file retrieval processes. Through the HänelSoft management system, staff can effortlessly request and retrieve files with minimal effort, and in record time. The system’s audit trail ensures transparency and accountability, crucial for handling sensitive files. Moreover, the space-saving design of the Rotomat is critical to the operation. Compared to traditional shelving or racking systems, the Rotomat’s vertical carousel technology maximises storage capacity while minimising the footprint. Rotomats have enabled our client to store vast volumes of files within a compact space, eliminating the need for extensive storage areas.


Storage Capacity Efficiency:

Industore’s solution is *three times more effective than traditional methods.

*Based on the maximum number of files that can be stored in the available 7.5m².

Retrieval Speed Efficiency:

Industore’s solution is *13 times faster than traditional methods.

*Based on the retrieval speed of a specific file.

Footprint Efficiency for 3,500 records:

Industore’s solution offers* 10+ times the efficiency of traditional methods.

*Based on the average file size at MHA.

Jacqui Edwards again:

“The enduring partnership between Industore and MHA Cardiff epitomises a commitment to excellence and innovation. Through Industore’s cutting-edge solutions, we have not only optimised our storage infrastructure but enhanced operational efficiency and space utilisation. We’re incredibly grateful to Industore for their dedication and assistance over the last two decades, and we’re sure that it has empowered us as an organisation to achieve everything we have to date.”

The success story of these two Industore Rotomats at MHA (formerly Watts Gregory) underscores the transformative impact of tailored storage solutions in modern workplaces.  As MHA Cardiff continues to thrive as a leading provider of accounting and advisory services, their partnership with Industore stands as a testament to the value of strategic collaborations in achieving organisational excellence and efficiency.

Their 20-year-old machines continue to provide them with the ideal solution for their physical storage needs.

2 Hänel Rotomats in MHA (formerly Watts Gregory)

Sensitive documentation storage (automated physical file storage)
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