Companies have several options when making a decision to expand operations. This was true for a New Jersey-based clothing manufacturer and distributor. The company, a major player in casual clothing products, made the decision to expand operations for more online sales. While already focusing on the online business, the manufacturer had an opportunity to partner with online retailers, Amazon and eBay. This represented a significant opportunity to expand the company presence to a larger audience. However, success was not guaranteed, so the manufacturer wanted the best option that did not require a large investment.
Adding a new line in the existing facility was going to be difficult. As a result, they looked at several options.
The company considered potential options that included building a new facility and renting warehouse space near the existing building. Building a new facility would solve existing requirements and allow room for expansion. However, the cost would be prohibitive and could leave the company’s financials uncomfortably stretched if the new line proved unsuccessful.
Renting space in nearby warehouses also allowed for the growth of the new program. This option allowed the company time to determine whether the new line for Amazon and eBay merited the investment. It also did not require the high capital outlay required to build. Renting could give the company time to decide. Unfortunately, while warehouses were nearby, none was close enough to satisfy management’s need for oversight of such a new program.
The company finally looked at another option: expansion within the existing facility. They determined that adding an additional two levels to the current warehouse/distribution area could accomplish the desired goal of launching the line without making a huge investment.
After deciding to expand internally, the question came down to determining the best method. Management looked at the option of purchasing a new two-tier mezzanine and thought the cost for a new product was still high. East Coast Storage Equipment Company offered an alternative that made sense. They proposed using repurposed mezzanine equipment. The used mezzanine met the structural criteria of supporting the weight (125 lbs per square ft) and safety requirements at a price significantly less than new.
Additionally, East Coast Storage Equipment proposed the installation of a flow rack to improve picking productivity. The company currently used standard rack products. This meant added time. Employees would pick directly from pallets, adding more time to travel to and from the rack locations. More importantly, this type of picking added to aisle congestion and raised safety concerns.
The new flow rack option provided racks with the ability to store boxed products eight-deep along with multiple picking lanes. This kept pickers working productively by staying in one place while product came to them in individual boxes instead of by the pallet.
Installing the mezzanine and rack system was not easy. Existing operations couldn’t be stopped, delayed or moved while the construction occurred. East Coast Storage Equipment staff had to work around the activity without affecting the company’s shipments. “In spite of the challenge, we were able to get the installation done on time,” Javier Ramirez, East Coast Storage Equipment Director of Field Operations explained.
As a full-service provider, East Coast Storage Equipment also handled much of the advance work required for such an installation, serving as the general contractor for the project. This included obtaining the necessary permits for the architectural, electrical, engineering, fire, and egress to keep the project moving forward. It removed one additional step for which the company would normally be responsible.
East Coast Storage Equipment saved the company approximately $250,000 by installing used mezzanine (vs. new) equipment. However, the savings did not stop there. “The company had two expectations from the installation,” said Ramirez. “The first was keeping all operations in one location. The second was reducing aisle congestion (safety issues) caused by forklift and picking traffic. The company estimated it would have had to add another two shifts to meet the anticipated demand from eBay and Amazon. That would have meant hiring more workers. Fortunately, the improved productivity offered by the flow rack system helped increase picking productivity to the point where all picking was handled by existing workers during one nine-hour shift.”
East Coast Storage Equipment Company is a supplier of used storage and material handling equipment. Its experience along with an internal engineering and design staff provide companies a viable, cost-savings alternative to new material handling equipment purchases.
A manufacturer/distributor of clothing products had opportunity to expand online sales via a new partnership with eBay and Amazon.
The existing facility in its current configuration would not allow for a safe expansion of another product line.
- Purchase/build a new facility
- Rent warehouse space nearby
- Reconfigure space within existing facility
The company decided to reconfigure its existing space. They considered installing a new mezzanine but decided on used equipment instead because the investment was significantly less. In addition, a new flow rack system was installed to assist in improved product picking.
The company added 28,000 sq ft into its existing space because of the two-tiered mezzanine. It allowed them to expand without investing in a new facility or taking a portion of their operation off-site. The addition of the flow rack improved safety in the facility by reducing aisle congestion caused by forklift and picking traffic. It also greatly improved productivity. The company had originally anticipated the need for two additional shifts to handle the increased workload. However, the flow rack improved productivity so much, that current workers absorbed the increased workload without need of additional help.
A Clothier’s Case for Space Reconfiguration
- Needed to accommodate new online opportunities
- Chose a safe, effective reconfiguration of space
- Designed and installed a two-tier mezzanine
- Added 28,000 square feet into existing space
- Added flow rack to improve picking productivity
- Eliminated need to relocate or build a new facility
Our Customers Say
We are all very pleased with the job your crew did taking down and removing the 500+ shelving units at our Mechanicsburg location. Your crew was fast and needed very little supervision from me. They really knew what they were doing. I couldn't find anyone in the central Pennsylvania area willing to do this job. I'm glad I was able to find East Coast Storage in NJ when I did a Google Maps search of nearby states. Thanks again for all your help."
Mahle Aftermarket Inc.
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Two-Tier Mezzanine Keeps Clothier in Existing Facility While Improving.
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