When Stor-Loc was established in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1982, its products had already been proven to be world-class industrial tool and parts cabinets. Based on a design developed by Elux, a company located in Switzerland, Stor-Loc began manufacturing its cabinets in the U.S. in 1991, including all component parts, supporting the statement that its products are 100-percent American made.
“These cabinets have been tested by time,” according to Mike Ryan, president. “We guarantee that they will be the best cabinet you will ever buy.”
With all manufacturing taking place in Kankakee, Stor-Loc has built a global distribution network, serving the North American market primarily through sales representatives and distributors and overseas through private-label agreements. Interestingly, Stor-Loc does not build stock cabinets in advance and hold them in inventory, instead amassing all the necessary materials on hand ready for quick assembly, painting, and shipping, all depending on the customer’s required delivery date.
“We have a standard lead time of four or five weeks,” Ryan explains, “but if the customer orders 10 and needs two immediately, they’ll get them. We have the equipment and the flexibility to meet their delivery requirements, and that always comes first.”
This ability to deliver is augmented by a workweek extending from Monday through Friday, and until noon on Saturday, even extending into overtime whenever a backlog makes it necessary, as it has been in recent months during which the company has enjoyed record sales, Ryan notes.
These “pre-engineered” cabinets provide a wide range of dimensions that will meet those required by any workspace design, in terms of height, depth, width, etc., and the drawers are chosen to fit the type of part or tool they will eventually carry. Stor-Loc technicians are available to assist customers in choosing the cabinets that will best suit their needs, even going so far as to provide what Ryan refers to as a “15-degree isometric drawing” along with the customer’s quote, allowing a glimpse into how the cabinets will integrate into the overall workspace design.
The foundation of the company’s success, however, is the robust design for which its cabinets are known. Ryan points out that it was the first design to incorporate handles that ran the entire length of the drawers, and that the sheet metal fabrication of the cabinets protects the contents from both impact and environmental contaminants. Most importantly, however, are the ball-bearing roller carriages in its drawers. “We’re the only company that’s stuck to this important aspect of the original Swiss design rather than shifting over to slides, which are much less expensive,” he says. “But you’ll see the same Stor-Loc cabinet still operating smoothly when you’ve had to replace four or five of the others.”
Asked whether automation and robotics have affected the role of tool and parts storage cabinets in the manufacturing space in any way, Ryan says there has been little change. “The fact is, you will always need an operator at a CNC workstation, or a maintenance technician for a robot or cobot, and they will require replacement parts and tools. Think of it like this; when offices went paperless, filing cabinets basically disappeared from the workplace. But that can’t happen with tools and parts. And Stor-Loc cabinets are simply the best way to store tools and parts.”