By Mary Hart
With real estate shortages and rising rental rates (by 12% to 15% this year, according to CBRE Group), warehouse and fulfillment managers are trying to get the most out of the space they currently have instead of moving into new locations. At the same time, order volumes are increasing, especially during peak season, and SKU proliferation is high, causing the facilities to run out of room for product storage on their main floor.
Instead of moving to a larger warehouse and paying for new space, you can move up instead of out by expanding your operations vertically with mezzanines and multi-level picking structures, known as pick towers.
The Benefits of Mezzanines and Pick Towers
When you’re looking to optimize your warehouse space, you may consider investing in a highly automated system for your warehouse floor instead of building up. Mezzanines and pick towers can be a better approach, because they are less costly and less complex to operate than an automated fixed system.
Adding a mezzanine or pick towers offers the following benefits to your facility:
- Create usable warehouse space faster and at a lower cost than building modifications
- Avoid the cost and disruption of moving your warehouse premises
- Eliminate the need for an additional leased space
- Optimize the payback on your existing facility by utilizing more of its volume
- Extend, adapt, or relocate the multi-level floor in the future
- Enhance efficiency and quality through space creation and improved workflow
- Achieve flexible integration with other machinery or systems
With mezzanines and pick towers, you will also improve your warehouse’s storage capacity and significantly boost productivity when you have the right automation in place like autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
Double Your Storage Density
Warehouses that want to optimize every square foot of their facility’s space without having to move to a new building are installing mezzanines and pick towers. When you install these multi-level picking structures, you improve the ratio of available storage space to your total warehouse space, which is known as storage density.
Mezzanines, in the form of partial additional floors above your existing warehouse space, instantly multiply available floor space. Pick towers (sometimes called “pick mods”) expand your warehouse space vertically even further with multiple levels of shelving and picking stations stacked above each other.
Increase Order Processing Capacity
Along with storage space improvements, you can significantly improve order processing times and throughput by batch picking with human associates and Locus Robotics Origin AMRs working together on your mezzanine or pick towers.
Our advanced optimization platform, LocusOne, makes mezzanine and pick tower warehouse management easy and efficient. Your facility will have the efficiency of a single-floor operation with in-level task/pick clustering and directed pick-and-pass across multiple levels in mezzanines, pick towers, and vertical warehouses. When picks are complete on one level, our AMRs travel to a pick-and-pass station to drop off work that needs to be transported to a new level for the next task, or to the ground floor for sortation and pack-out.
To help our AMRs and associates follow the most efficient order picking sequences, our innovative pick-and-pass feature clusters and directs order fulfillment across all levels of your warehouse.
With our advanced analytics reporting dashboards, you’ll always have full visibility across all levels, helping you to actively monitor productivity rates and workflows – in real-time – from anywhere at any time.
Avoid Bottlenecks with an E2E Automated Picking and Sortation Solution
To fully realize the improved warehouse throughput of mezzanines and pick towers, and not wind up with a bunch of orders clogging up packing stations, you need automated downstream sortation. Multi-level picking results in a concentrated stream of fulfilled orders, which could create congestion.
To enable seamless picking and sortation, we announced our combined solution with Berkshire Grey, which enables customers with a single point of WMS integration to access automated batch picking using the Locus Origin autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and automated sortation using the Berkshire Grey robotic putwall.
This integrated Locus Robotics picking and Berkshire Grey sortation solution is a perfect fit for sites that batch pick significant volumes of orders on mezzanines and pick towers. Locus’ robots work seamlessly to batch pick in mezzanine environments and can scale up and down flexibly as your site grows and expands. The batch picked items are delivered to the Berkshire Grey robotic putwall which can handle up to 240 locations and reach over 750 UPH. This integrated solution can reduce fulfillment cost per unit by up to 40% and reduce space required for consolidation by 70-80%.
To maximize ROI from this solution, we recommend this combined automated system for high-volume sites that process ~60,000 units per week.
The combination of mezzanines, pick towers, Locus Robotics AMRs, and Berkshire Grey putwalls prepare your warehouse to handle increasing order volumes without having to move to a new facility. You can efficiently handle business fluctuations and peak order surges with your existing infrastructure.
Want to experience the benefits of maximized storage density, optimized multi-level workflows, and flexible scalability in your warehouse?
Talk to us to learn more about expanding your warehouse with mezzanines, pick towers, and robots for optimal efficiency.