Honeyville Farms Plant Expansion: Racking and Materials Handling Challenges and Opportunities
Since 1951, Honeyville Farms has been an innovator and leader in the food industry taking Nature’s Best and Sealing It Fresh! The company has worked with some of the largest manufacturers and retailers in America and takes pride in their products.
The company, based in Utah, has always kept doors open to the local community. If locals needed even a single bag of Hard Red Wheat, they could stop in and get what they wanted. As more and more people have discovered this secret of buying direct-from-the manufacturer, they wanted to continue to give customers the best experience possible. Honeyville stores allow customers access to some of the food industries top ingredients. From baking flour that the pros use, to the finest freeze-dried ingredients, Honeyville is the manufacturer that allows folks to buy direct.
Layne Marchant, plant manager at Honeyville in Ogden, Utah, recently shared how the growth and expansion represented both challenges and opportunities. Honeyville stores specialize in two main areas, one is baking ingredients/supplies and the other is food storage. The company’s leading products include:
- Baking Flours
- Food Storage
- Grains & Mixes
- Emergency Supplies
- Baking Supplies
- Gluten Free
The scope and timing of the recent Honeyville plant expansion
Marchant shared that the company built a new 200,000 square foot facility and had to have the warehouse portion functional in a short time frame. Hoj Engineering, also based in Utah, a member of MHEDA (Materials Handling Equipment Distributor Association) and MHI (Materials Handling Industry of America) was selected as a partner from the very start of the plant expansion.
Marchant shared, “They provided input on building bay dimensions, roof heights to help us optimize our space before the building was ever started. Some of the challenges were the weight of the pallets, and the heights of the rack, to maintain code compliance of the concrete floor specs, while trying to maximize racking height while maintaining small foot plates that do not affect efficiency on the floor.”
Hoj understood that load weights and rack height planned for this building would challenge the structural code compliance of the new floor and the anchors of the building. Hoj has been a strategic dealer with Hannibal who provides an innovative new rack technology called Tube Rack. The Tube Rack utilizes horizontal bolted frame connectors to create a frame that allows lower footplate and anchor stress. This new patented product allowed for taller frames, picking up a 20 percent gain of pallet capacity while meeting the IBC (International Building Code) rack and building code requirements.
Top three challenges in this project
Like any project the budget was a huge focus. As budget cuts were made and racking amounts changed, Hoj was one step ahead in coming up with solutions that kept Marchant on time and on budget. The Hoj Engineering professionals visited other Honeyville facilities and helped put a plan in place to utilize some existing racking that would still meet engineering specifications. Marchant added, “Hoj’s pricing was straight forward, open, and transparent from the start.”
Marchant noted, “You never have enough room, even in a brand-new facility. There were many challenges when it came to space, from the size of the racking foot plates, bay dimensions, beam heights, and racking layout, there was one challenge after another.” The Hoj team were always willing to update drawings, run further analysis, answer questions, and set up tours of other facilities to ensure Honeyville was maximizing space while keeping it functional and make sure the Honeyville was satisfied with the final design and layout.
As the building deadline passed, the window for getting racking installed dwindled. Marchant reported that Hoj went above and beyond to make sure they had the racking up in the needed timeframe. They increased manpower, worked around other contractors, and produced the racking on time.
Options were important
Marchant emphasized, “Hoj came to Honeyville with many options and then helped us tailor these options to exactly what we needed. Hoj provided several different types of racking and pointed out the pros and cons of each one. They brought insight when it came to what our current needs were but also kept our future growth in mind. One of the solutions that Hoj continually pushed was taller beams, none of the other vendors pushed this, many even discouraged it. This allowed us to gain another 600 pallet locations with very minimal cost in the future. Hoj had by far the best racking options when it came to racking foot plate sizes for heavy products. They also provided shorter lead times and installation time.”
Warehouse was up and running by July 17, 2017
“The biggest win so far has been the timeframe,” noted Marchant, who added, “What I appreciated the most was they knew exactly what they were talking about. They don’t just try to sell us something. They first tried to understand the entire project: such as building size, engineering specs (concrete thickness), product dimensions, and turns. They then came to us with a well-organized proposal of solutions. When questions or issues came they didn’t try to talk us out of it; they worked through it with us. The best thing about working with Hoj is the people.”