Baker Distributing installs mezzanines and VRCs to better serve its customers
The VRCs comply with ANSI/ASME B20.1 safety standards for conveyors and can lift several thousand pounds of materials.
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Servicing more than 1,200 retailers throughout Vermont with a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic products, Baker Distributing expanded upward by installing four industrial steel work platforms (mezzanines), two vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs) and a variety of safety gates and guard rails at its facilities in Colchester and North Clarendon.
“The mezzanine platforms made a lot of sense to us because we were already heating the space, and we had room above us to expand,” says Gerry Couture, general manager of Baker Distributing. “In hindsight, it was a smart decision.”
The push for more room came, in part, from the brands that Baker carries to expand their portfolio of products. For example, some brands are now offering several different flavors—and those products need to be incorporated into the distribution process.
“Our industry is continually increasing with SKUs and line extensions. You need more space for all those SKUs, so these platforms allow us to better accommodate the trends in our industry,” Couture adds.
The plan for Colchester called for the installation of two mezzanine platforms, combined with a VRC, safety gates and guard rail. One platform is long and narrow (14 x 127 feet), as it was built to fit alongside a building wall. The second platform measures 97 x 80 feet and is located in the back corner of the pallet staging area. The narrow platform is used to house point-of-sale goods and displays; Baker relocated the small order picking operation to the second platform, freeing up valuable ground level space for other functions.
The VRCs comply with ANSI/ASME B20.1 safety standards for conveyors; can lift several thousand pounds of materials in an enclosed platform; enhance warehouse safety and productivity; and come with safeguards to prevent jams, product spillage or equipment malfunction.
“Having a VRC works great for us because we needed an apparatus to bring wine down from the second level without disturbing the built pallet, and coming down on a forklift wasn’t the answer,” Couture says. “We’re building pallets for customers, and they can be very unstable prior to packaging, due to their different shapes and sizes. The VRCs allow us to bring them down to the first level without any breakage.”
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