The availability of same- and next-day delivery (largely driven by online retailers like Amazon) has substantially altered customer expectations regarding order fulfillment times, even within the food and beverage industry. In the past, to meet rising consumer demands, companies would invest in larger, new facilities staffed with additional headcount. However, in an era where warehouse and distribution center space is at a premium, the old, tried-and-true solutions no longer suffice. Instead, companies are resolving their square footage woes by capitalizing on their unused vertical space through the installation of an industrial mezzanine. In doing so, they are gaining more than just additional space.
An Industrial Mezzanine Extends Facility Life
When a successful essential oils supplier in the Western United States found themselves struggling to keep pace with the market’s demand, they knew that their facility layout was the barrier to growth. While investigating potential solutions, the company realized that building a new facility would mean moving away from the employees and community that had made the business a success. Through a partnership with a supply chain consultant, the essential oils supplier learned about an industrial mezzanine and knew they had found the answer to their dilemma. Measuring 136’ x 55’, the essential oil company’s new industrial mezzanine eliminated the need for a move, much to the joy of their employees and community.
“Many do not realize that an industrial mezzanine is a cost-effective way to maximize an existing building’s potential,” said Dave Milner, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Wildeck, Inc., a leading industrial mezzanine manufacturer. “With ceiling heights in excess of 30-feet, most warehouses and distribution centers can easily accommodate a single or multi-leveled mezzanine and achieve the square footage necessary for expanded operations.”
An Industrial Mezzanine Maximizes Resources
When a complete packaging solution provider consolidated their two locations (totaling 212,000 square feet) into one modern facility (totaling 185,000 square feet), they knew that addressing the reduction in total building space would be a unique challenge. After carefully investigating their potential options, it became evident that the most economically advantageous route was to utilize the building’s existing overhead space and install an industrial mezzanine. In addition to resolving the company’s square footage dilemma, the industrial mezzanine functioned as a centralized location for tool and material storage. As a result of the new, centralized storage location, the company noticed an increase in efficiency when switching between orders and a decrease in the amount of time spent looking for materials and waiting for replacement tools to arrive.
According to Milner, “mezzanines are a great way to enhance a facility’s organization. In addition to making it easier to quickly locate necessary tools and equipment, mezzanines create a safe storage space for a facility’s more costly tool and equipment resources, increasing the return on investment.”
An Industrial Mezzanine Provides Space to Automate
A leading, multi-brand technology solutions provider found themselves questioning how to make the most efficient use of their new facility’s 500,000 square feet. Built to accommodate the shipment of some 60,000 outbound cases of IT products daily, it was determined early on that automated processes would play a pivotal role in helping the company achieve its order fulfillment goals. To achieve a well-organized, flow-through design, it was decided that the facility’s seven miles of roller conveyor belts would be stationed on two custom-designed, multi-level mezzanines. By putting the automation equipment on an industrial mezzanine in the building’s unused vertical space, the company was able to keep the ground level free for more operationally critical tasks and achieve its daily shipment goal.
“Given the multitude of benefits that automation provides, it’s not surprising that many industries are anxious to implement these solutions,” said Milner. “However, many struggle with how to fit the new equipment into their current facility layout. When constructed with heavy-duty steel and engineered properly, an industrial mezzanine can safely support the weight of automation equipment, leaving the ground floor unobstructed for employee use.”
When pressed for space, there is no need to stress! Industrial mezzanines are flexible and can be engineered to work in a cooler or freezer and are adaptable to the strictest equipment guidelines and specifications. With a virtually endless array of application possibilities, industrial mezzanines provide food and beverage companies with a cost-effective way to increase their facility’s footprint. All they have to do is look up.
Editor's Note: This content was authored by Wildeck and was initially published as an article on ProFoodWorld.com.