Are you starting to run out of floor space in your facility? Do you need more storage space for products and equipment? Although it seems like you are hitting a wall, do not worry! This is a good problem to have because it proves your business is successfully growing.
How do we go about solving the space problem, though? Do we pack up everything and move to a new building? Well, that is certainly an option. However, if you simply look up, you might notice you have a lot of space that has yet to be filled.
Many warehouses and other storage facilities tend to have lots of extra space between the main floor and the ceiling. As a result, a huge percentage of your facility’s space is underutilized. But how can you start using this space to your advantage? Start with a structural steel mezzanine.
A mezzanine is an ideal solution for increasing your facility’s usable floor space. These structures not only allow you to utilize the vertical space in your warehouse but also eliminate the need to make external additions to the facility or move your equipment and inventory somewhere else.
But what exactly is a mezzanine, and why should you build one in your facility?
What is a mezzanine?
Mezzanines are tall platforms that create a floor space between your main floor and the ceiling. You may also see mezzanines referred to as intermediate floors. These spaces have a wide range of uses including storage, workspace, walkways, and more. This versatility makes them a great choice for better utilizing your space and expanding your business.
You can also choose between different mezzanine options:
- Freestanding Mezzanine: The freestanding mezzanine is the best choice for anyone who is just trying to create additional floor space in their facility. With a completely modular design, they offer virtually countless configurations to meet the unique needs of any facility. Furthermore, they are constructed with steel support beams to allow for heavy storage capacities.
- Structural Steel Mezzanine: A structural steel mezzanine is an optimal selection for facilities that need to store heavier products like industrial equipment. However, they are not limited to just storing heavy objects. They can also be used to develop mezzanine office spaces, cafeterias, locker rooms, and other workspaces.
- Catwalk Mezzanine: Despite their name, these mezzanines are not going to help you get on the cover of a fashion magazine. A catwalk mezzanine is designed to give employees elevated pathways to move between areas of the facility. This gives workers the space they need to move around efficiently without constantly bumping elbows and creating safety hazards. You can also add stairways, gates, and pallet drop zones to catwalk mezzanines, so employees can continue to work from above.
How do you choose the best mezzanine for your facility? Well, selecting the ideal mezzanine depends on what industry you are working in here are some mezzanine options.
How does running out of space affect your business?
Gradually running out of floor space is a natural part of a successful growing business, but does that make it any less stressful? Of course not. If you are using up all your floor space regardless of how you organize, you will start running into a litany of other problems.
But let’s say you find some temporary ways to get around your floor space problem. Well, these solutions are really just a placeholder for something more permanent. Eventually, you will need to legitimately expand, and a mezzanine is by far your best option.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you run low on space:
How do I store my stuff? Where even is my stuff?
The floor space in your facility keeps getting smaller while you keep bringing in more and more products. What can you do with the incoming surplus?
Most facilities will start with simply stacking the incoming products on top of your current inventory. However, you can only get away with this for so long. Once your first layer fills up, going any higher risks damaging your inventory with imbalanced stacking or injuring your employees.
Another issue is that your facility gradually becomes harder to organize. The increasing amount of clutter will not only make storage more difficult, but it will also make finding what you need less efficient. As a result, the clutter compromises your ability to meet time constraints, which means unhappy and potentially lost clients.
Where did all these people come from?
Your facility’s floor space is not just for storing products. People need to fit in there, too! As your business and inventory grow, you are going to need more personnel to manage your products and materials. But if you are running out of floor space, how will these new employees fit into the current framework?
Shoving too many people into a tight workspace causes a wide variety of issues. Facility personnel will not have the space to work in a productive manner if at all. This can result in a disgruntled staff, which lowers morale and further damages the workflow. Employees may even leave to find other work due to sheer frustration.
Furthermore, the combination of cluttered storage spaces and employees packed in like sardines make your facility much less safe.
Too many safety hazards
Facilities that have decided to opt for the “Keep on stacking!” method only have so much time before this becomes impossible. Usually, the next logical step is to start placing inventory wherever it can fit, even right in the middle of walkways. Now, facility personnel have to be on the lookout for falling debris from unstable stacks while also making sure they do not trip on something in front of them.
This is a recipe for disaster. No matter how attentive your staff may be, somebody is bound to get seriously injured, and you could be paying for more than just worker’s comp. Your facility’s code violations will result in costly fines, and injured employees will have grounds to sue. So, wouldn’t it just be easier to install a mezzanine and expand safely?
What are some common applications of mezzanines?
Mezzanines are incredibly versatile, so they are not useful in just one industry. Many different types of businesses use mezzanines for reasons you might not initially consider:
Warehouses and distribution centers
Warehouses and distribution centers are some of the more common places where you will find a mezzanine. These businesses need to be able to store, move, and ship high quantities of products on a typical workday. Mezzanine storage areas can help facilitate these tasks and improve overall productivity. Creating catwalks or intermediate floor office spaces can also free up space for employees to work more efficiently.
Parts and components distributors
Adding more storage space to your facility also gives you more room to organize. Parts and component distributors need to keep track of countless different products, so organization is key. For example, automotive parts range from engine assemblies to tiny nuts and bolts. Thus, creating ample storage space gives facilities the ability to accurately organize and differentiate between these parts, ensuring products are always sent in the right direction.
Industrial manufacturing facilities
Most of the floor space in an industrial manufacturing plant is occupied by large machinery, so the main floor quickly becomes crowded. Building a mezzanine can create more space for storage and equipment, but it also creates a safer work environment. A catwalk mezzanine can provide workers with a path through the facility that does not require them to traverse active work areas with potentially dangerous industrial machinery.
Retail and wholesale stores
Constructing mezzanines in retail or wholesale stores significantly increases shelf space for all their products. This also allows customers to shop more comfortably while having a clear view of everything on sale. Costco and Sam’s Club are two great examples of stores that effectively utilize mezzanines.
Recreation and sports centers
Mezzanines also have some fun entertainment applications. Recreation and sports centers often use mezzanines to create more space for guests as well as storage space for workout and sports equipment. For example, basketball and indoor soccer centers can use mezzanines to create seating for audience members. This allows parents to comfortably watch their children compete with a full view of the field, so they never miss any of those precious moments.
Still unsure if a mezzanine is right for your business? If your facility did not fit into any of the above categories, get in touch with an industrial equipment solutions company like R.W. Martin and Martin Vertical Storage Solutions. Their technical staff can give you any information you need and provide recommendations based on the needs of your unique business.
How would a mezzanine help me and my business?
It is clear that mezzanines are a popular solution for creating additional space above a facility’s main floor but is floor space really all mezzanines have to offer? No! Mezzanine floor advantages are much more expansive than just additional space for storage and work.
Versatility and flexibility: Mezzanines do not have to stick to one type of storage once they are installed. Their modular design allows for the setup of several different racking systems. So, you can change your mezzanine whenever you need to accommodate new products and make organization more efficient.
Grows with your business: Expansion and growth are crucial for any successful business, and if you are considering a mezzanine, your business is growing faster by the day. Even the first mezzanine you build will run out of space eventually. Thankfully, the modular design allows you to make quick and easy additions. So, your mezzanine can expand as your business grows.
Easy to uninstall and relocate: Even if you build a mezzanine to expand floor space in your facility, you might still decide to move to a new building at some point. That means you will have to start from scratch at your new facility, right? Wrong! Mezzanines are easy to deconstruct and ship, so you can set up your mezzanine as soon as your start moving into your new workspace.
Endless configurations: R.W. Martins vertical storage solution experts can custom design mezzanines to fit any facility. They can tailor mezzanine solutions to meet your ideal size, height, and load capacity requirements. There are also many deck surface and stair options to choose from, so you have full control over your mezzanine configuration.
Reduce energy consumption and save money: Without a mezzanine, one of your only other expansion options is to build a new room or wing onto the building. These new rooms will require costly construction as well as increased utility bills. Mezzanines, on the other hand, are easy to build and will not add to your facility’s energy consumption.
In fact, mezzanines can decrease your overall energy usage. The mezzanine’s design allows light to pass through and keep work areas lit. So, you do not have to install additional lights or increase electricity costs.
A unique aesthetic: Mezzanines can also be used to give public spaces a stylish new look. Concert venues and clubs often use mezzanines to increase space for visitors while giving the space a more interesting aesthetic. There is a reason why mezzanine seating is not cheap.
Keep an eye out and you will start to see how common mezzanines are in all types of businesses as a mezzanine storage area. You might regularly visit businesses that have mezzanines without even noticing!
Do I have a say in how my mezzanine is designed?
Of course! The whole point of your new mezzanine is to make working easier in your unique facility. In fact, Martin Vertical Storage offers a full range of custom mezzanine options, so you can have a direct influence on your mezzanine’s design:
Expanding with intention
Mezzanines are about creating space, but how exactly much space do you need? For example, adding a single, elevated office space may not require a huge mezzanine floor. If you need to manage an increasingly large volume of incoming products, however, you will probably need a mezzanine with space for now and for later.
Even if you are unsure of how much space you will need, Martin Vertical Storage can create the ideal configuration. They can inspect your facility and how you use your space and make professional suggestions on size and design.
Picking mezzanine flooring that works for you
Your first concern with designing a mezzanine may not be the kind of flooring it has, but this a more critical part of the process than most people assume. With Martin Vertical Storage, you can choose from a variety of flooring materials:
Concrete with corrugated steel decking:
If you are looking for an all-around reliable floor for your mezzanine, this is the way to go. A concrete floor already offers plenty of strength and durability, but with the additional steel decking, it is unstoppable. This flooring material is particularly useful for mezzanine storage areas with intense foot and forklift traffic or heavyweight inventory.
Resin board with corrugated steel decking:
Resin board is another reliable option with high-strength steel decking. In contrast to concrete flooring, resin floors have the added benefit of customizable finishes. Unlike bare concrete, resin board can come in a full range of colors, so you have many more design options. If you want to create an elevated office space with a particular color layout, this is the ideal option for you.
Diamond-grip steel panels:
This flooring is something most people have seen but have not heard of. In simple terms, diamond-grip steel panels are metal flooring that has a bunch of geometric bumps across the surface. However, this is not just to make it look cool. Diamond-grip panels offer extremely high-traction, preventing slipping accidents.
Open bar grating floors:
Open bar grating mezzanine flooring is most often used in industrial manufacturing facilities. The space between the grating gives employees the ability to see what happens around them in every direction. They can always confirm whether or not someone is directly below them and work accordingly. As a result, employees can more effectively prevent accidents and keep their coworkers safe.
Easy access to your mezzanine
Being able to access your mezzanine safely and efficiently is crucial to functional design. At Martin Vertical Storage, you can choose between straight, L-shaped, and U-shaped staircases depending on your configuration. These stair options can also come with or without landings. If your mezzanine needs to fit into a tight space, you can also choose from various ladder options.
Where can I go to purchase a mezzanine for my facility?
Constructing the right mezzanine for your facility requires close attention to detail and experience with industrial equipment. Martin Vertical Storage is a leading provider of high-quality Cogan® mezzanines and the sister company of R.W. Martin, a distinguished provider of industrial equipment solutions.
Martin Vertical Storage will inspect your current facility space, so they can start creating a mezzanine design that optimizes your floor space for storage, efficiency, and also mezzanine office space. They will also take care of constructing the mezzanine, so you can continue to focus on your work.
R.W. Martin has been providing businesses with the industrial equipment they need for over 50 years. If you are running out of floor space in your facility and want to expand, get in contact with R.W. Martin today. Their team is ready to answer your questions and help you find the perfect mezzanine solution for your business.