When Is a Custom Storage Vault Needed for Your Inventory Warehousing Needs?

By Logan Wamsley

One of the most exciting features Partstat offers customers who choose to implement our Inventory Storage Solution is access to our Custom Storage Vault. This state-of-the-art, one-of-a-kind feature is wholly unique to our industry, and one that feels a very important niche no other inventory storage partner is capable of providing: guaranteed business continuity.

What Guaranteed Business Continuity Looks Like

Several other storage partners note business continuity as a “buzzword,” but in the case of the Custom Storage Vault, it’s a very apt description. Our vault has a plethora of features including a structural steel design capable of withstanding all known natural disasters, spun ceramic insulation tested to withstand exterior temperatures over 2,000 degrees, patented shielding against magnetic interference, and a 1,100 lb. vault door that is trusted by entities such as the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Air Force. No other warehousing structure on Earth gives critical inventory more security against externalities, and we are extremely proud of that. One of our customers, Rockwell Automation, called our vault “best-in-class” and “clean, well-lit, and appropriate for electronic component storage.”

For particularly sensitive materials such as raw die and wafer, which can corrode with even the slightest discrepancy in humidity, we also house within the vault desiccant ECD dry cabinets that feature unparalleled regulation of moisture and recovery times.

One question we often receive, however, is all of this possibly too much. Does all critical inventory need such over-the-top safeguards to maintain optimal functionality over a long period of time? The answer is: well, it depends.

A Question of Risk

Every decision related to inventory storage needs to include a calculation on value vs. risk. Many of our customers, for example, operate in the healthcare industry with products that could be in production for as long as 30 years. In an environment where critical electronic components and semiconductors can be discontinued by the component manufacturer in a matter of months, this presents a huge challenge. If the wrong component is unexpectedly marked for end-of-life and last time buys, one or several events may be triggered. The manufacturer may have to mine the open market for the part, which comes with significant markups, as well as sometimes questionable traceability which safeguards against counterfeits. Or, should that search not prove fruitful, they can also initiate a redesign, which is not only extremely costly but would also be subject to recertification by the FDA.

To avoid these issues, let’s say the manufacturer completes a large last time buy of the part. Then, through an act of God such as a natural disaster, the entire inventory is lost. Not only would such an event trigger the exact same scenarios they were looking to avoid, but all of the upfront capital that was used to make the last time buy would be lost. In this case, is the idea of guaranteed business continuity with a Custom Storage Vault considered too much? Given the costs that are at stake, most likely not.

At the end of the day, one cannot put a price on peace-of-mind. This is what the Custom Storage Vault provides. Not every purchase has the same level of stakes, but in cases where loss of inventory can literally jeopardize the financial integrity of the company, there is no substitute for guaranteed business continuity. May it be necessary for a generic, easy-to-find and replace component that will only require storage for a year or two? Probably not. But in the case of a component that is literally irreplaceable, it very well might be. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide.

If you have any questions about whether guaranteed business continuity is right for your inventory, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We would love to talk to you and see how we can help!