“Warehouses will need to embrace creative solutions to expand their footprints.”
That was the resounding message from industry experts in a recent report*, citing low vacancy rates, high rental charges and the prohibitive costs of building new warehouse space as major challenges today and into the future.
It’s why smart-thinking companies are avoiding the warehouse property crisis by installing mezzanines.
Here are our 5 top benefits of mezzanines for warehousing:
Mezzanines give you space to futureproof for growth.
With mezzanines our clients from Tesco to ASOS to Amazon are making the very best use of their existing space, doubling, tripling or quadrupling their capacity. Installing a mezzanine is a brilliant way to futureproof your business by creating more space you can expand into as and when you want to. It can be tied into your long-term growth plans as the Hi-Level Mezzanines team will work with you in detail to understand where your business is heading and give you the best advice to suit your needs. Multi-tier mezzanines provide the flexibility to move onto one floor now, but benefit from efficiencies and minimise future disruption by installing extra space you can use later, spreading the cost in phases. For ASOS in Barnsley we installed a three-tier structure primed for automation, with a mixture of high-bay rack storage and mezzanines with conveyors.
Mezzanines are made for automation and robotics.
At Hi-Level Mezzanines we have witnessed a fast-moving trend over the past three years as our clients install mezzanines able to withstand the demands of robotics. For one Amazon project we installed 44 various-sized mezzanine platforms carrying conveyor belts to be used in conjunction with their robot picking system. The race to automate is why we have developed our unique robot-ready flooring Hi-Tile, revolutionising flooring for warehouse robots. Hi-Tile uses robust interlocking 7mm textured PVC tiles to create the most durable, cost-effective flooring on the market. Its high point load, electrostatic resistance and anti-slip surface make it the perfect partner to robotics solutions. It is already in use by Geek Plus Robotics and with Locus’s Directed Picking technology.
Mezzanines are more convenient and less expensive than moving to new premises.
Installing a mezzanine means you can maximise use of your existing space and increase productivity without the expense and inconvenience of moving to new premises. On average, warehouse construction costs for a large distribution centre come in at around £72 to £90 per square foot, whereas a warehouse mezzanine costs around £7 to £11 a square foot, according to Checkatrade. So if you wanted to double your space, a 16,000 square foot warehouse would be far more expensive than 8,000 square foot with a mezzanine. Mezzanines create more space upwards rather than expanding sideways, and they provide critical leeway to warehouses working at near full capacity. Once warehouses reach 80% to 85% space use, efficiency of movement and storage drops, according to data gathered from 200 warehouses for a 3PL Central Benchmark Report – and 15% said they were actually operating beyond 100%. Our client Global Reach Logistics increased productivity by installing two two-tier mezzanines over 14,000 square metres in total at its warehouse in Daventry, with shelving to put the space to its full potential.
Mezzanines can protect your business.
With a mezzanine you can hold more stock to minimise supply-chain risk caused by global instability, labour shortages and strikes. In a context where 85% of UK companies are moving from the pre-Covid “Just in Time” model to “Just in Case” (according to enterprise software company SAP), mezzanines play a vital role in making businesses more resilient. Holding more stock on site means you can avoid unexpected shortages, missed supply deliveries, last-minute substitutions and quality failures. Some companies are also holding onto stock longer so they can be more efficient in their delivery schedule, saving CO2 impact by re-organising routes and delivering less frequently. Having additional storage space on a mezzanine prevents supply-chain disruption and gives you flexibility. An example is the three-tier mezzanine Hi-Level has installed for Tesco in Daventry, totalling 23,000 m2 for automated garment hanging storage.
Mezzanines go hand in hand with the rise of the super-warehouse.
Britain’s new breed of super-warehouses, built to service our accelerating online economy, prompted The Observer to run a feature headlined, “A shed the size of a town”. It was writing about sites such as Dirft – the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal – near Rugby and Magna Park in Milton Keynes, and Hi-Level Mezzanines has installed mezzanines in such warehouses and distribution centres across the UK. Some super-warehouses are so big they are rated as “nationally significant infrastructure projects”, meaning that national government rather than local authorities grant planning permission. We are working at a scale that would have been unimaginable when we were founded in 1991. Our clients feature among the world’s Top 20 biggest warehouses, including Ikea and M&S as well as Amazon, ASOS and Tesco. This is where the expertise of our qualified structural engineers is so important, valued by the biggest operators in the industry. It’s why we also count logistics giants DSV, DHL and DPD among our clients, and why we are members of the UK Warehouse Association, the voice of the UK warehousing industry.
If you’d like to know more about how mezzanine floors can benefit your warehouse business, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01730 237 190. .
*Extensiv’s 2023 State of the Third-Party Logistics Industry Report