Gearing up for growth – Mega Chicks invests in a New Mobile racked Freezer Store
Barpro Storage conducted an interview with Mega Chicks after the completion of their new Mobile Racked Cold Store Facility in Johannesburg.
Background of Mega Chicks
Mega Chicks is a Family run business that started from humble beginnings in the early-80’s out of Lenasia in Southern Johannesburg. Now, in its 2nd generation, Mega Chicks has their own retail outlets which supplies high-quality Halaal Chicken & Frozen Foods to Wholesalers, Retailers & Informal Restaurants across South Africa.
Q1: Tell us about your new facility? What was the reason for making this fairly large investment in a Mobile Racked Freezer Holding Store?
Due to our focus on efficiency, we have seen growth in the past 5 years in our business We identified the need to increase our stockholding & create a buffer to serve our customers better during peak times.
Q2: What made you chose mobile racking as opposed to any other racking system?
Space is at a premium in our facility, so after careful assessment of all options, we decided on a high density ‘Mobile racked’ Cold Store facility. We wanted to maximise the amount of pallets we could store in the limited space available. It allowed access to every pallet. Accessibility was critical as we have a wide range of ever-changing products.
We also considered the potential saving on power that mobiles offer due to more product & less open space in the freezer cube & when calculating the payback period this solution offered potentially quick paybacks on our investment.
Q3: Was the installation of the Mobile racking satisfactory?
We had the right professionals around us who knew what they were doing. Step by step we managed the complete project in stages. Everything went according to plan & when we deviated good communication & teamwork got us on track.
Q4: Were you happy with the service you received from Barpro?
We were very happy with Barpro as everything was attended to. I must commend Corne Stapelberg the Barpro Joburg GM & Project Manager for going the extra mile. He offered advice & support over & above the mobile racking. Projects like this can be stressful & having the right people advising you & helping make decisions is key. Thank you, Corne.
Q5: How will the mobile racking & cold store facility help you to service your customers moving forward?
The additional stock on hand & buffer storage will definitely help us to avoid missing opportunities top supply our customers & improve our service.
Barpro Storage wish to thank Mega Chicks for the feedback & information. We look forward to working with you to maintain & keep the mobiles & racking in good working condition & on track.
Various types of Pallet support
The Foresta Timber Group supplies timber decking which can be used to support “disposable” pallets in mobile racking applications. While timber decking is cheaper per pallet than metal support or grids – they can have the following disadvantages
- Restricts air flow
- Can be an additional fire hazard
Benefits – Adds support to the whole pallet
Comparative costs per pallet
Open Timber Decking – R100.00 per pallet position (ex Vat and Delivery)
Pallet Support Beams – R115.00 per pallet position (ex Vat and Delivery)
Steel – R300.00 per pallet position (ex Vat and Delivery)
A space saving, efficient and cost effective solution to case picking in cold stores
Article by Rob Kershaw, Sales and Marketing Manager, Barpro Joburg.
One of the biggest challenges in managing and running a cold store facility is how do we pick individual cases as opposed to full pallets. In the past most cold store facilities were set up for full pallet distribution. In and out. However over the last decade or so retailers are moving away from carrying large quantities of stock on pallets rather ordering cases in line with demand freeing up capital investment in stock.
So cold store facilities have to be set up to handle case picking as well as full pallets and very often at the same time.
As the leading supplier of high dense mobile racking systems into the cold store sector at Barpro we have seen an increasing demand for case picking.
Seeking solutions for our customers Barpro approached our principals STORAX based in the UK, to see now how their industry had coped with the challenge.
The idea of multi-tier structural mezzanines is growing rapidly in the UK as a cost effective, space saving and super-efficient case picking solution, in mobile racking freezer stores.
STORAX UK has installed a number of structural mezzanines in freezers and confirm that this solution offers great benefits for cold store operators.
How do they work?
4 or 5 levels of flooring interconnected by stairwells installed in a corner or outside the cold store taking up the least space possible. Reach trucks retrieve full pallets from the mobile racking and feed them onto the floors via 1 or 2 pallet gates. Staff with pallet jacks to transport them to dedicated picking locations. From here cases are picked to pallet jacks and transported back to the pallet gates for the reach truck to remove and place in the staging area, which could be static racks alongside the mezzanine or the floor on the bottom level. 1 picker works each floor and gets to know the location of the different SKUs. Knowing the products on his floor allows him to pick the heaviest products first to go on the bottom of the pallet and lightest at the top. This prevents crushing.
On a recent trip to Europe I went to investigate mezzanine case picking solutions at one of the largest cold storage facilities in the UK and a long standing customer of STORAX.
It is a massive operation and the volumes speak for themselves:
- One site.
- 52 acres.
- 135 000 pallet positions on high dense STORAX mobile racking in cold storage.
- 1000 pallet movements per day
- 400 – 500 trucks / day, pallets double stacked.
- 30 000 cases / day picked over a double shift.
- 10 pickers each picking 3000 cases a day.
- Case picking is approximately 2-3% of total throughput.
On average his client used to pick from the bottom level of the mobile racks but as demand for case picking grew needed a more efficient solution was required. The client is satisfied that the 2 x 5 level mezzanines are meeting their expectations and identify the following benefits:
- Dedicated picking area where pickers can pick uninterrupted by reach trucks moving in the aisles. In Australia it’s now illegal to have pickers and reachtrucks operating in the same area.
- Reach trucks can get on with their work not worrying about pickers.
- Reduced accidents between pickers and reach trucks due to 1 and 2 above.
- No chance of product from upper static racks falling on pickers walking in the open static rack aisles.
- Best solution to achieve the amount of pick faces required which is a challenge with growing product ranges and new customers.
- All pick faces on floor level. No need for costly material handling equipment to pick from 2nd, 3rd or even 4th pallet level.
- Smooth and efficient replenishment of the pick face between reach-truck and pallet jack operators.
- Space saving
- The whole volume of the cold store is being used. With floor pitch around 2.5m very little space is wasted.
- Mezzanines are tucked into the side or corner of the cold room only I aisle is required for the reach truck to feed it. Reducing number of aisles required and increasing income generating storage capacity.
Another potential benefit of this solution is the opportunity to implement to ‘pick by voice’ technology. This would take picking efficiency to an even higher level.
Some of the technical features
- Heavy duty structural I Beams for vertical and horizontal support.
- 6mm thick steel plates as flooring creates a solid floor for smooth pallet jack movement.
- Bolted construction allowing movement and flexibility for dynamic and evolving business needs.
- The structure can be mounted on mobile racking rails. This increases strength and also allows for the possibility to install high dense storage mobiles in the future offering flexibility should demand for case picking drop.
- Energy saving LED lighting.
- Black polished steel reducing glare and floor reflections on pickers.
- Cold air distribution socks over blowers to circulate and distribute cold air above top floor.
To make maximum use of the picking efficiencies multitier mezzanines offer, picking staff need to be equipped with high quality freezer clothing. This significantly increases the amount of time they can spend in the cold store without taking breaks. Barpro offers the DELF range of high quality freezer wear which is a must for cold store picking.
There is increasing interest among South African cold stores who can see the potential benefits. Multi-tier mezzanines can give a significant edge over competitors especially in the field of 3rd party cold storage distribution. Being able to case pick more cost effectively while using less volume gives an edge in this price sensitive market.
Let us help you create that edge. Call Barpro for more information.
Cape Town: 021 552 9190
Johannesburg: 011 450 1075
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