In a world of open offices, it can be hard to simply find a place to put your stuff. For some, it’s a matter of organization, while for others, it’s all about aesthetics. Fortunately, companies like Spacesaver are evolving their solutions so you can relax, offering options to solve everyone’s needs, starting with day use lockers. “We’re helping employees keep their stuff stored and safe when working in open office environments or offices that have more active design concepts and modular design,” says Katie Lowell, director of marketing for Spacesaver.
Spacesaver has been in the space saving industry for decades, traditionally with high-density mobile shelving. “We’ve been making lockers for the public safety market and military market for years and we’re known for being the best in the industry,” Lowell says. “Taking that same framework without compromising quality or integrity, we simplified and designed for the corporate office environment.”
Make no mistake—these aren’t your traditional storage options. Spacesaver’s day use lockers are integrated into workspaces in a way that’s beautiful—aesthetically pleasing with clean lines. And that’s just the beginning, as the lockers are part of a much larger workspace suite of Spacesaver products. “It’s storage in plain sight,” Lowell says, rather than the storage you might expect in the back of a building. “Often storage is looked at as not ‘sexy’ but bulky, needed but inconvenient. We want to break that perception.”
Spacesaver CEO Mark Haubenschild says the 45-year-old Wisconsin-based company continues to respond to people’s needs. “We have to adapt to the new way people want to work,” he says. “They like flexibility, they like options. The products we develop have to help our customers (across markets) retain talent. This is a little way of doing that.” The new, open workplace balances organization and aesthetics to retain talent, productivity, and keep employee satisfaction high.
Spacesaver has continued to evolve since it started with paper storage in the ’80s and ’90s. Back then, 90% of the business was tied to record storage. “We still store paper, but it’s a really small percentage of our business,” Haubenschild says.
“Our business philosophy hasn’t shifted in terms of maximizing storage, but our products are now shifting to cater more toward ‘stuff storage,’ Haubenschild says. “Now we’re into storage of personal stuff, following that trend of flexible workplaces—‘I need a place to put my backpack, my gym bag, my bike helmet.’ It’s a natural extension of storage.”
A Tailored Approach
The options for Spacesaver’s day use lockers are limitless, and 45% of the company’s orders include a custom option. “We are becoming more and more of a custom built manufacturer,” Haubenschild says.
The day use lockers can be made in any size and color. The doors can be laminate, wood, steel—you name it. Keypad entry, fob, or padlock? Whatever you want. Every customer is different, and that’s not a problem for Spacesaver. “We can match whatever the customer is trying to accomplish,” Haubenschild says. “We’re reinventing our business. It’s a lot of fun.”
Customization is clear inside the plant. The company’s operations are no longer set up to simply pound out the same shelves. “We’ve totally changed our manufacturing philosophy to a ‘customer of one’—custom-made products to adapt specifically to the requirements of our customers.” This means a factory with state-of-the-art lasers, progressive turrets for lower quantities, and more custom work across the board.
Ultimately the day use locker is an integral piece of a much broader vision to provide solutions to the public sectors, especially as office environments are changing. “The day-use lockers are one aspect of a much larger workspace suite of products,” Lowell says.
The custom storage solutions also allow modern companies to incorporate their corporate brand into the physical setting. The limitless aesthetic options of Spacesaver’s day lockers allow businesses to easily bring their brand and what they stand for into the workplace.
At the end of the day, Haubenschild says it’s all about maximizing space, removing clutter, and securing your items. Even as Spacesaver has evolved from paper storage to storage for the military and police departments to now more corporate environments, the commitment to efficiency hasn’t changed. They’re still maximizing space, delivering durable products, and making sure there’s no off-gassing from paints. It’s all about the environment, minimizing the carbon footprint, and, now, making sure everything looks cool, Haubenschild says. From a design perspective, Lowell says the lockers can be as elegant as you want. “Spacesaver has many beautiful installations across the country—for the Oregon Ducks, Seattle Public Library, and others. Now we want to re-enter this market with that same application and design.”
Spacesaver also builds its products to last. The durable day use lockers are made of heavy gauge steel, with the best hinges money can buy, Haubenschild says.
Security is a big piece of the puzzle as well, as the company is committed to protecting whatever it is you’re storing. “That’s why we have offered different types of lock options to accommodate that—not only aesthetically but for security,” Haubenschild says.
Customers can count on top-notch service long after their purchase, too, with local, certified contractors who can come out anytime should a problem arise. “You have local support and knowledge right in your backyard. They can respond immediately,” Haubenschild says.
Culture of Innovation
But how does Spacesaver know what companies need in the first place? The company focuses on market research, customer feedback, and takes a design-thinking approach when it comes to innovation. Recently, the company hired vertical market thought leaders to work with customers to identify pain points and how they could be solved. “We’re trying to be very proactive. We’re trying to invest in those resources to really understand the markets better than we ever have,” Haubenschild says.
Creative collaboration is key at Spacesaver, and that’s also evolving. Everyone works together—from the product development team to the marketing department to the product managers and the press operator on the shop floor, everyone plays a key role.
“We’ve really changed our culture,” Haubenschild says. “It’s rapid pace, it’s fail forward, it’s about trying new things.” It’s all about empowerment, he says, not bureaucracy. “We want people to move fast, to iterate, to share their ideas, and be part of it all.”
Haubenschild has been with Spacesaver for 35 years, and his excitement for the industry continues to grow. “I’ve seen this company go from 25 employees to 400 (full-time employees). I’ve seen the market drastically change from paper storage to stuff storage. I’ve seen a lot of competitors come and go,” he says. “We’ve come out on top because we are innovative and willing to adapt and reinvent. You have to.”
But the day use lockers are just part of it. “There are many storage solutions that we make today and are innovating currently that can be applied with day-use lockers to create a comprehensive workspace solution with modularity and flexibility,” Lowell says. Yes, it’s not the only new thing Spacesaver has up its sleeve—three more product initiatives are being rolled out in 2018.
At the end of the day, Haubenschild says there’s so much to do, and for him, that’s part of the thrill. “We’re more than just mobile storage. We’re about customizing solutions in any market for any customer to meet their requirement,” he says. “I still have a lot of passion for it. We’re not even close
to being done.”