We recently faced one of the best challenges a business hope for — growth. Demand for our fulfillment services had grown so rapidly that our warehouse space was pushed to the limit. E-commerce had a hand in it, as it has across the country. A recent story in Material Handling and Logistics pointed out that e-commerce businesses need up to three times the space as traditional warehouse users because their products are more diverse and they need to be immediately accessible.
Anyway, the problem was a good one to have, and as you know, in business, there’s always more than one way to deal with issues like this one. We started doing some research.
Our existing warehouse is landlocked, so we knew from the start there was no way to add on to it. Leasing additional space elsewhere would be expensive and require multi-year leases. That didn’t make good financial sense. When the lease ended, we’d have nothing to show for it and we’d be out two or three years of rent. So, we decided to grow up.
That’s right. It turns out the best way for us to expand our space was to build a metal second level over part of the warehouse. You can see what this new mezzanine looks like in our time-lapse video that shows how it was built.
The mezzanine basically divides our warehouse in half vertically, giving us an upstairs and downstairs. It adds 8,000 square feet of floor space. These mezzanines are custom built and engineered for safety, so there’s no risk of collapse under heavy weight. It could support a semi-trailer, but you won’t see me driving a truck up there to test it.
In addition to giving us more warehouse space, the mezzanine also makes the warehouse a safer workplace. Falls from ladders are a big problem in business and in a warehouse, rolling ladders are commonplace as employees move up and down aisles and climb up and down ladders to pick products for orders. With the mezzanine, employees no longer have to climb ladders in that area. We have also installed second-level walkways connected to the mezzanine in two additional aisles that essentially split our warehouse storage into two. This way we can put items to be picked within an employee’s reach without the use of ladders.
Not having to go up and down ladders is not only safer, but it’s more efficient. Our productivity will improve as a result, so orders will be filled and shipped faster. As time goes on and our needs change, the mezzanine could even be moved to another part of the warehouse and used in a different way.
If you’d like to see the mezzanine and the rest of the warehouse, give us a call. We’d be happy to give you a guided tour.
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