The folks at Louisville’s One Stroke Inks know a little something about inspiration. A leader in the screen printing industry for more than four decades, the company supplies inks, machinery and tools that help bring creative notions to life. Offering over 3,000 unique products, they serve customers from all over with just the items they need to succeed.
Naturally, one of the main products they provide is ink. It’s in the name, after all. Customers know they can come to One Stroke and get exactly the color for which they’re searching. To convey their color choice, they’ve been known to bring in a tee-shirt, a piece of paper, even flowers. Getting it “just right” is no small thing.
Belinda Lobb, who goes by “B,” is one of One Stroke Inks’ do-it-all employees. The intimate, family-like feel of the business is one of the things that not only makes her job rewarding, but makes it a fun place for customers, too. Whether it’s working with IT, in one of the warehouses or as an administrative assistant, Lobb’s penchant for teamwork is indicative of the company’s overall persona.
“Custom color matching is a huge part of our business,” she said. “Once we match it – from whatever source – the customer chooses the name. We mix in quantities anywhere from drums to 5- or 10-gallon containers, on down to 4-oz. sample cups. Once we make it, we retain a sample of it so that if and when that client comes back, we have it ready for them.”
Lobb is quick to point out that making an ink is a lot like baking a cake: even if you use the same ingredients, it won’t turn out the same way every time. Things like moisture and humidity can affect the final product. Even so, having those small samples (and the associated formulas) on-hand is a huge boon for business.
Patterson Pope Account Representative Glen Kalley recognized early on that B and her cohorts were a fun group.
“They were just so friendly and on top of things” he said. “They are a fast-growing business and kind of progressive in how they do things. They were willing to get out there and look for a solution.”
He says solution because that “fast-growing” part was causing some storage space concerns.
A Rainbow of Storage Choices
“They had roughly 8,000 of these little sample ink bottles,” said Kalley. “They were spread around on wood shelves spread out over 75 to 100 feet of wall space. They were stacked 12 high. They need a visual index… they need to look at something to see what it was.”
“We have over 12,000 customers, so you can imagine how that adds to our volume,” added Lobb. “We knew, in a general sense, where all the samples were, but finding something that way took a long time. Some of our guys were spending as much as an hour going from shelf to shelf looking for a particular color.”
Lobb and the One Stroke Inks team spent some time thinking about what might best serve their needs. A bit of planning and research led them to Patterson Pope, well known in Kentucky as a resource for high-density compact shelving. That’s when Lobb met Kalley.
“He fit in like family from the outset,” said Lobb. “I think he was here a half-dozen times throughout the project – taking measurements, listening to our concerns, and just being a terrific resource.”
“The mechanical assist unit is so easy to use. It’s true that you can push each of the carriages open with just a fingertip – even with them loaded with 16,000 sample cups. It’s been a great addition to our business. The system is 100% user friendly. We really appreciated that they were able to meet our custom needs, and did so willingly.”Belinda LobbOne Stroke Inks
“Custom color matching is a huge part of our business. Once we match it – from whatever source – the customer chooses the name. We mix in quantities anywhere from drums to 5- or 10-gallon containers, on down to 4-oz. sample cups. Once we make it, we retain a sample of it so that if and when that client comes back, we have it ready for them.”Belinda LobbOne Stroke Inks
After some discussion, Kalley, Lobb and the One Stroke team opted for a Spacesaver mechanical assist movable shelving unit. There are seven carriages in all, each measuring 18’ L x 18” D. In this instance, the unit has drive stanchions on the ends instead of laminate end panels. Each mobile shelving section has eight custom fabricated shelves – a specially designed “three-tier” feature allows the staff to easily see jars one behind the other. Each shelf insert (per side) hold 75 cups. A lip on the front of the shelves, meanwhile, ensures that none of the containers slide off the front. The shelves are double-faced and are constructed from galvanized steel.
The resulting rainbow of colored inks is now referred to as “The Color Vault.” Combined with a new computerized indexing system, it now takes an average of just 45 seconds for a One Stroke Inks team member to find the specific color for which they are searching in the movable shelving solution.
“One Stroke had 16,000 color samples before our installation, and we’ve doubled their capacity,” said Kalley. “All told, it was less than six months from the time they contacted me to the time we finished the installation. They pushed me, and together we accomplished something really nice. I appreciated their enthusiasm and their energy.”
“The mechanical assist unit is so easy to use,” said Lobb. “It’s true that you can push each of the carriages open with just a fingertip – even with them loaded with 16,000 sample cups. It’s been a great addition to our business. The system is 100% user friendly. We really appreciated that they were able to meet our custom needs, and did so willingly.”
Well sure, B. Delivering the best movable shelving solutions for our customers is our thing. Storage is cool!
Hey… wouldn’t that look great on a screen-printed tee-shirt?