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Temporary building provides breathing space for non-food catering supplier in Ireland

28 February 2017

A multinational FTSE 100 distributor of non-food consumables and equipment turned to temporary building specialist, Spaciotempo, to provide a welcome breathing space whilst the firm builds a 70,000 square feet permanent building inclusive of 30,000 square feet of office space.

Bunzl McLaughlin, based in Armagh, has been supplying the hospitality trade since 1874.  Previously Thomas McLaughlin, the firm was acquired by Bunzl, a multinational FTSE 100 distributor, in 2002, subsequently adding a number of leading cleaning and non-food retail businesses to create what it is today.

Supplying to firms in North and South of Ireland, Bunzl McLaughlin has over 3500 core items in stock available for next day delivery and access to over 50,000 products from the world’s leading catering and cleaning manufacturers.

The distributor approached Spaciotempo with a brief to provide a cost effective solution at its current head office in Armagh as the firm’s new permanent premises were being built.  With five sites across the Armagh region in the North of Ireland, two manned facilities and three storage units, Bunzl McLaughlin has ambitious expansion plans and looked for a temporary warehousing solution that provided the additional space it required without disrupting day-to-day operations.

Seamless installation not hampering operations

Bunzl McLaughlin has seen its business grow year on year, extending its product portfolio for customers as well as improving and meeting demand for next-day delivery.  As time is critical in a next-day delivery business, being able to hold more stock on one site, rather than across others, has been an invaluable resource for the Irish firm.

Spaciotempo’s temporary structure has provided the much needed bulk storage facility, enabling Bunzl McLaughlin to continue to respond and distribute fast moving product lines, and to have the flexibility to hold more products on one site.

Albert Mulligan, Supply Chain & Logistics Manager, Bunzl McLaughlin, explains: “We desperately needed a storage facility that would enable us to carry on with day-to-day operations whilst construction was going on for our permanent building.  We were literally bursting at the seams and needed more space and fast. With our peak time of Christmas approaching us, the facility needed to be up and running quickly so we could ensure that our customers didn’t suffer or indeed, feel our pressures.  It was essential that it was a seamless operation and installation didn’t hamper our efforts but support them. 

“When you are dealing with thousands of product lines and items every day, storage is a fundamental part and it’s important to ensure that goods are stored safely and securely, limiting damage, and allowing them to be easily accessed and despatched at speed. It’s also vital to maintain our high standards of quality and service at the same time. Spaciotempo’s solution, whilst temporary for us, is a viable option and acts just as a permanent building would, but we have the flexibility to move it or take it down at any time.”

Not letting a lack of space become a barrier to growth

The temporary solution installed by Spaciotempo is a 15m x 20m free-standing storage facility with white PVC coated polyester flame retardant fabric, thermo roof and gables, high bay mercury lighting and downpipes, providing 300 square metres of warehousing space. The bulk storage facility has fork lift truck access and a personnel exit door.

Albert continues: “Being able to extend existing facilities rapidly and easily is a real bonus for our businesses as we are keen to continually grow.  It can take many months to get permission for erecting a permanent building, as we have experienced. What is key is that the lack of space doesn’t become a barrier to growth. Spaciotempo’s temporary building solution provides that breathing space - and the opportunity to extend and grow the business whilst at the same time managing and building a permanent building.  Why wait for a building to be completed before a company can go full steam ahead and expand operations?  Temporary buildings in our opinion certainly make commercial sense as they do offer the flexibility of managing growth.   For some, too, I can see the benefit of expanding operations without huge capital expenditure initially on a new build.  A lack of space should not be a barrier to growth, especially when you have temporary building solutions such as Spaciotempo’s to help to you.”

Bridging the space gap - temporary buildings prove a viable expansion solution

Albert adds: “Expanding and investing carefully is also key and, whilst our permanent building is being constructed, we can manage our expansion without affecting our customers. Instead, it has actually enabled us to enhance our service to customers as we can respond even quicker, stocking a greater range of products on one site which makes logistics far smoother – saving us time and logistics costs which ultimately is a benefit to our customers.  It’s a sensible approach to expansion.”

As the day-to-day operations of Bunzl McLaughlin needed to carry on, finding a quick and easy storage solution that could be utilised within a short space of time was key for the company and Spaciotempo’s installation team lived up to the promise of installing the temporary structure in just days.

Spaciotempo’s Area Sales Manager, Phil Tallon, based permanently in Ireland, explains why temporary buildings are delivering instant results for Bunzl McLaughlin. He comments: “We were delighted to have been given the opportunity to work with Bunzl McLaughlin which was in need of a solution and fast as the firm was just about to enter its busiest trading periods. They certainly didn’t want to let their customers down for Christmas!  The flexibility offered by temporary buildings means not only can they provide instant relief for any storage challenges such as Bunzl McLaughlin’s, once they are no longer required they can be dismantled just as quickly as they were initially assembled.”

Albert Mulligan concludes, “We consistently strive to improve and expand our stock holding on site and our new permanent state-of-the-art logistics centre is an exciting prospect and its imminent opening is eagerly awaited. All is going to plan and we are extremely grateful to Spaciotempo for a quick and professional