A mezzanine floor is usually installed within two existing floors of a warehouse or facility, offering a semi-permanent solution to a variety of issues. They can prove a game-changer for many storage spaces and below we explain the top 10 uses for mezzanine floors in ecommerce warehouses.
One of the most common boxes used in retail is the BDC (Bulk Distribution Carton), which comes in a variety of different metric and standard sizes. Mezzanine floors can be optimised for the installation of shelving systems that can store the BDC box, or the storage of pallets, packets, garments and anything else that needs to be grouped together. Increasing storage capacity horizontally rather than vertically is a cost effective way of maximising space, and if you weighing up the costs of moving to a larger warehouse it can give you an alternative option.
One of the biggest issues ecommerce businesses have to contend with (especially in the fashion sector) is how to deal with product returns. Consumers expect a quick and easy returns system, and with more orders comes more returns. This means you need a strong internal system that enables you to create a method that flows through the warehouse so stock is not lost or damaged in the process. Once a mezzanine floor is installed you can dedicate a specific area for the storage or repackaging of returned goods.
High value stock
While a mezzanine floor installation can increase the overall storage capacity you have available, there will be some stock items that are of a higher value you may want to keep in a more secure section. Creating a secure storage area for high value stock ensures that expensive items have more protection and the risk of damage or even theft is lowered. You can also install access controls so only certain people have the authority to enter the area, which gives you even more protection and all-round security.
A smart way to generate additional revenue through use of warehouse space could be to mirror the concession model used in the physical retail world. Renting out dedicated areas of the warehouse to smaller companies who are not yet able to take on the full financial responsibility of a warehouse facility can be beneficial to both parties. The business renting the space will unlikely be from the same industry, but it does offer an entry route for smaller companies operating in other markets.
Whether it’s an ecommerce warehouse or not, office spaces are often located on mezzanine floors. For example, if ground floor space is better utilised for storage, a new office space could be built on a mezzanine floor above to make the room needed. An extra office may also be needed if the ecommerce company is growing and in need of more administrative support. All the heating, lighting and sound insulation requirements can still be included to ensure it is a comfortable space to work in for staff.
The need for ecommerce warehouses to be able to adapt post-Brexit has been heightened further by the stresses and strains caused by COVID. As online ordering continues to grow, more and more companies experiencing growth face the dilemma of whether or not to make the financial commitment towards a larger facility, or to adapt their current storage capabilities. Whether it is year-on-year growth, or just for seasonal periods that require more capacity, mezzanine flooring can be used as a short or long-term space for the packing of goods before shipping.
The need for an archive room will depend on how digital your business has become in the past decade or so. Business-related documents can be stored here so they can be accessed if needed in the future. They may still be relevant for older businesses that have a longer paper trail and have not been able to transfer their documentation to digital format, and using the mezzanine can offer a convenient place to store boxes of paper to free up more space down below.
If you want a dedicated staff area a mezzanine can be used to create a recreational room or locker room for people to store their personal items during the working day. You could also install a kitchen and prefabricated toilet pods, so they are easily accessible for staff. This will open up the space on lower levels so key storage areas can be expanded if you are growing as a business. You may also need larger staff areas if you are making more hires due to expansion, and a mezzanine offers the chance for you to install the extra facilities you need.
Planning and monitoring
Mezzanine floors offer a unique perspective that can prove invaluable to maximising the efficiency of your warehouse. At ground level you can get a good sense of how well operations are working, but a view from a mezzanine can give management a clearer idea of the flow. Constant evaluation of warehouse efficiency will ensure you are getting the most from the space and tools you have available. You could install a control room on a mezzanine floor, which enables you to monitor and keep a closer eye on security measures. A mezzanine doesn’t have to encompass an entire floor, so you do have greater flexibility in terms of design outlay.
While a mezzanine floor can be used for packing areas, it can also be utilised for other areas of production. Much will depend on the space you have available elsewhere, but if moving to a larger warehouse is a financial stretch too far, then installing some production equipment on a higher level could help. Conveyors, work benches and other vital machinery can be placed on mezzanine flooring that is specifically designed to hold the additional weight. This will also have to take the overall warehouse structure into consideration to ensure weight bearing levels are not exceeded for health and safety reasons.