The fast-paced food and beverage industry is continually evolving, and clients are always looking for ways to streamline their distribution. When it comes to the cold storage business, a major trend today is the expansion of value-added services — additional, non-core services cold storage companies can offer clients. Many operators of traditional warehouse spaces are looking to diversify and create new revenue streams.
Last week, we discussed popular service offerings warehouse operators are adding to diversify their business and create new revenue streams. But adding any of those options to your service offerings involves preparing a strategic implementation plan, design engineering and capital investment.
Before diving in, consider these factors and ways your facility must adapt to handle such expansion.
Of course, adding these services requires investing in new technology. After all, portion packaging, retort systems and blast freezing essentially require establishing a processing operation within a storage facility complete with conveyors and machinery. The work center location is very critical to the success of the new operation with key considerations being employee safety and efficient operational flow.
2. Interior Layout
Making room for your new value-added service is essential, but it’s critical that you do it efficiently. Every facility is unique, and appropriate renovations or building expansions must be properly located. The floor plan modifications must consider possible ongoing operations, product movement and circulation, sanitation and future growth.
3. Human Support Service Areas
Expanding service offerings typically requires expanding your staffing. What is the current capacity of your restrooms, break rooms and locker space? How much of it is being used? Consider what hiring additional staff would mean for these areas of your facility.
4. Utility Capacity
Additional equipment and operations translates to an increase in utility usage. Consider your current consumption levels and how a new value-added service would impact the available water, sewer and electricity.
5. Site Modifications
New business means increased inbound and outbound product flows, and that means more trucks. Consider your current number of loading dock doors and the amount of available truck parking you have on site. You may also need to think about available employee parking if your staff will increase.
Don’t Tackle Expansion Alone
Executing these changes in a manner that is cost-effective, time-efficient and food-safe is essential to rolling out your new value-added service successfully. At Stellar, we regularly help cold storage operators assess their current facility, strategically plan for adding new services and carry out building expansions and renovations from start to finish. Consulting a trusted and experienced partner can make navigating this process a lot easier and can ensure it’s done right the first time.
If you want to get even more ideas and learn more about best practices in cold storage and distribution, I encourage you to to attend Global Cold Chain Expo 2017 in Chicago next week. As a board member of the Global Cold Chain Alliance, the sponsor of the expo, I’ll be at the event along with some other members of the Stellar team to network, learn and answer questions.
Stellar is a fully integrated firm focused on planning, design, pre-construction, construction, refrigeration, mechanical & utility, building envelope, and total operations & maintenance services worldwide. Visit the company's blog at www.stellarfoodforthought.net or learn about its projects at stellar.net.