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Finding Your Space

Paul Mihelich, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Wildeck

mezzanineWarehouses and distribution centers across the country are seeing a dramatic increase in the amount of product flowing through their facilities. Due in large part to a robust e-commerce market, facilities affected by this surge in product demand are struggling to find the space to efficiently pick, pack and fulfill orders. In facing the challenges that accompany this welcomed growth spurt, many companies are hastily undertaking facility relocation or renovation projects.

However, in their efforts to quickly resolve their square footage issues, many companies are failing to capitalize upon the solution they already possess: the unused vertical space above their facility’s ground floor.

With ceiling heights in excess of 30ft tall, most warehouses and distribution centers have not exhausted all the available space their facility has to offer. Traditionally, facility operations are contained on the building’s ground level, leaving the vast majority of vertical space unused. Industrial mezzanines provide a way for companies to utilize this unused vertical space, saving them the time and expense of a costly move or building expansion project.

Before making a renovation or relocation decision, facilities that are feeling pressed for space should consider the following three examples that showcase the many benefits that an industrial mezzanine offers.

Extended Facility Life

mezzanine 2When a successful essential oils supplier in the Western U.S. found themselves struggling to keep pace with the market’s demand, they knew their current facility layout was the barrier to growth. The company’s initial fulfillment center was only intended to serve the business for five years, at which point a total facility relocation would be pursued. However, when the five-year mark approached, the company realized that a relocation would mean moving away from the employees and community that had made the business a success. Deciding that relocation was not a desirable option, the company’s management began to investigate options that would extend the life of their current facility.

Working with a well-respected supply chain consultant, the essential oils company was exposed to the idea of an industrial mezzanine. A steel work platform installed inside the existing facility would provide the company with the additional square footage it needed to stay operational at its current location. Given the company’s demanding production schedule, the structure would need to be installed around existing operations, ensuring timely customer order fulfillment.

Measuring 136ft x 55ft, the essential oil company’s new mezzanine allowed them to simplify and optimize their operations for domestic and international shipments. By adding more than 7,000 sq ft of workable space to their facility, the company was able to obtain the desperately needed room for product storage and packing, increasing efficiency and profitability. Most importantly, the new work platform allowed the company to remain in their community by extending the life of their current facility. By capitalizing on a facility’s vacant vertical space, an industrial mezzanine effectively eliminates the need for a new building or construction project.

Unique Applications

mezzanine 3Facility renovations afford companies the opportunity to fix previous building shortcomings and prepare for future growth and expansion. When a leading manufacturer of high-pressure water jetting and vacuum systems underwent a total campus renovation project, the company was impressed with the benefits that an industrial mezzanine afforded and decided to incorporate the structures throughout their redesigned facility. Traditionally, mezzanines are used for product storage or as a location for additional manufacturing space. However, after familiarizing themselves with mezzanine capabilities, the company saw a chance to address some facility pain points with a nontraditional solution.

To successfully meet the market’s growing demand for their high-performing products, additional staff was added to the company’s workforce. While necessary for continued operations, the newly added headcount was beginning to strain the facility’s already limited work space. One area of the facility where this problem was especially pronounced was in the office.

Following a consultation with their material handling provider and an experienced construction lead, the company decided to build a mezzanine that extended over the shop floor. This mezzanine would serve as the foundation upon which walls, windows and flooring were installed. Once completed, this furnished area would provide fully operational office space within the factory and would resolve the company’s space crunch.

Additionally, during the sales process, potential customers are invited to come and take a tour of the facility. Having a mezzanine that extended over the factory floor provided the ideal vantage point from which sales personnel could show and explain the company’s manufacturing processes. The company’s creative mezzanine application undeniably resolved some of the company’s growing pains. Experienced mezzanine providers are able to design unique solutions that address specific operational challenges.

Increased Efficiency

When a complete packaging solutions provider decided to consolidate their two locations (totaling 212,000 sq ft) into one modern facility (totaling 185,000 sq ft), they knew that addressing the reduction in their total building space would be a unique challenge. The company’s end-goal in consolidating facilities was to maximize profitability by keeping overhead costs low. The final solution to the company’s new square footage dilemma could not jeopardize the bottom line.

After carefully investigating their potential options, it became evident that the most economically advantageous route was to utilize the building’s existing overhead space. An industrial mezzanine, strategically located near the manufacturing area, would provide the additional square footage necessary for continued operations. However, the company did not foresee all the additional benefits their new work platform would provide.

Ultimately used as the location for tool and material storage, the company’s new mezzanine functioned as a centralized location for accessing the equipment necessary for production. This new level of organization drastically cut down on the amount of time employees spent looking for tools and equipment. Having all the tools in one central location also made it easier for production to switch between different orders. As a result, the facility’s overall productivity increased.

The mezzanine also proved to be a safe storage space for some of the printing company’s more delicate equipment. Repair costs and time spent waiting for replacement parts to arrive began to dramatically decline following the mezzanine’s integration. In the end, the company’s overall operational efficiency increased as a direct result of their mezzanine investment. Increased efficiency is just one of the many operational benefits that customers can claim from their industrial mezzanine.

When pressed for space, there is no need to stress! Industrial mezzanines offer a cost-effective way to achieve your additional square footage goals. In addition to resolving the need for more room, these heavy-duty work platforms provide a host of other benefits that are sure to positively affect a company’s operations. Their highly customizable nature makes them the idea solution for the most perplexing material handling challenges. Find your space. Invest in a mezzanine. WMHS

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