How Can Warehouse Mezzanines Increase Productivity?
When most people hear the term “mezzanine,” they might think of the middle section in a sports arena or theater, or a partial floor area in a banquet hall or office building. And these people wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. Mezzanines have been popular in many commercial developments for decades, known for their ambiance and aesthetic.
But you might not know that mezzanines are also becoming increasingly popular in industrial developments too – specifically in the warehouse environment. In this post, we’ll discuss how the addition of a warehouse mezzanine to your warehouse could help enhance its productivity. Here’s a closer look:
What is a Warehouse Mezzanine?
As we said in the intro, a mezzanine is considered to be an intermediate floor or a floor above the ground floor that doesn’t extend over the entire floor space of a building. For example, the mezzanine level in a sports stadium or theater isn’t going to extend the entire length of the lower seating area.
Mezzanines for warehouses stay true to this basic definition. They typically consist of an elevated floor that’s between the warehouse floor and the ceiling, but partially open and giving way to the floor below it. Mezzanines in warehouses can be either permanent or temporary, and they’re typically built to provide extra space for material storage or to house conference rooms, break rooms, or offices.
What are the Benefits of a Mezzanine?
Why add a mezzanine to your warehouse? As we said above, the biggest benefit of doing so is the ability to increase your storage capacity and extend the functional space of your warehouse facility.
Think of it like this: When populations boomed in big cities like New York and Chicago and there became a need for adequate housing, we built up. Residential skyscrapers and office buildings now dot the skyline of these two prominent American cities. “Building up” can have similar benefits in the warehouse, especially when warehouse floor space is at a premium and there’s no room for expansion on the ground floor. Adding a mezzanine level can take advantage of unused vertical space and is flexible enough to serve a variety of purposes.
Other benefits of a mezzanine level in the warehouse include:
- Affordable expansion: Adding a mezzanine level is much more affordable than expanding onto the current warehouse structure.
- Improved productivity: A lack of efficiency is one of the biggest problems in the modern warehouse. A mezzanine level can be partially or fully used to store materials or items, thereby freeing up additional space on the ground floor for operations to run more productively. Additionally, a mezzanine system can also provide office space for leaders and managers. Part of a lean mindset is having “respect for people” and going to the location where work is being done. Taking leaders out of the office suite and into the environment can help them learn and better observe daily operations, receive more streamlined feedback from workers and implement necessary changes to enhance operational efficiency.
- Safety: A crowded warehouse floor also has the potential to be an unsafe warehouse floor. Hence, taking some materials and inventory and putting it on a mezzanine will clear more ground floor space so forklifts can maneuver easier and workers can do their jobs safely. Elevating important materials also helps to minimize the risk of damage from flooding, which can be especially important in high-risk areas.
Where is a Mezzanine Best Used?
There are three main types of mezzanines:
- Rack-supported Mezzanines: These consist of storage space above or between storage racks.
- Shelving-supported Mezzanines: Mezzanines with shelving as the base; used primarily for storage.
- Free-standing Mezzanines: The most common type of mezzanine, this is an additional floor over existing warehouse space.
What are the Costs?
While mezzanines do come with an upfront investment, it is still a much more cost-effective solution and is likely to cost about half of what it would cost to rework the footprint of your existing facility. Cost tends to vary based on size, number of support columns necessary, type of mezzanine, and more.
If your warehouse isn’t meeting productivity goals or if you’re unhappy with how its space is being utilized, the addition of a mezzanine level is one way to take things to the next level.
Be sure to contact A-Lined Handling Systems for any of your material handling needs.