In the dynamic world of warehousing, companies strive for peak efficiency and innovation. This page, focusing on Minnesota warehousing solutions, offers a roadmap to optimize storage operations. Discover actionable success tips and learn from two of the state’s major brands as they navigate the complexities of warehouse design to serve their clients optimally.


Spanning Minnesota’s Industrial Spectrum

From the industrious sectors of Iron Range to the tech-savvy hubs of the Twin Cities, Minnesota’s landscape is rich with companies excelling in efficient warehouse design. Illume Candles in Maple Grove and Blu Dot in Otsego stand out, offering insights into transforming warehousing strategies to meet diverse market demands.

Illume Candles: Pioneering Smart Design

Illume Candles, headquartered in Maple Grove, MN, specializes in crafting exquisite candles. Catering to a diverse clientele, they focus on creating a wide array of custom scents and candle designs for various settings.

The company’s 100,000+ sq. ft. manufacturing facility recently underwent a storage enhancement with the help of AK Material Handling Systems. This project incorporated an advanced Wildeck mezzanine, and VRC lift to expand its candle manufacturing operations. 

The 20’ deep x 185’ wide multi-level mezzanine is used for the scent-addition phase of Illume’s manufacturing process. Barrels of scented mixtures are loaded into the VRC lift and carried up to the 20’ high platform, poured into industrial mixers, and combined with the candle wax. 

At Illume’s previous facility, these barrels were lifted up via forklift. Implementing the mechanical two-post VRC lift made this process safer and faster. These systems enable Illume Candles to enhance production and effectively meet customer demands. 

“The mezzanine and VRC gave the customer a safe production environment for both the movement of materials and personnel.”

Brian Koski, Warehouse Design SpecialistBrian Koski, Warehouse Design Specialist, AK Material Handling Systems
Illume Mezzanine Minnesota

Illume Manufacturing Mezzanine

Illume Candle Manufacturing Setup

Mezzanine Candle Manufacturing Setup

Blu Dot: Reshaping Operations Through Relocation and Design

Blu Dot, Otsego, MN

Blu Dot, Otsego, MN

Blu Dot specializes in modern furniture design and manufacturing for home and retail businesses. The company was established in 1997 in Minneapolis, MN, and its Otsego warehouse facility optimized operations in 2023 with the help of AK Material Handling Systems.

The Blu Dot warehouse design utilized Steel King selective pallet rack and very narrow aisles to transform their 400,000 sq. ft. warehouse into a hub of efficiency and storage density. Blu Dot worked with AK to relocate over 49 truckloads of racking from their original facility. The carefully planned warehouse relocation occurred around moving operations and expanded the company’s storage space for more effective warehousing and order fulfillment. 

Very narrow aisles and a custom wire guidance system further expanded the facility’s workable reach and increased storage density by up to 50%. 

“My work with Blu Dot balanced design precision and time management. As we installed the new racking and relocated a portion of their existing racking, the customer followed behind, filling it with products. We were able to maximize their storage space with very narrow aisles and buy back a large portion of their used racking from the previous facility.”

Pete Brandon, Warehouse Design SpecialistPete Brandon, Warehouse Design Specialist, AK Material Handling Systems

AK’s rack buyback program makes large-scale projects like Blu Dot move quickly and efficiently. It saves clients the hassle of needing to arrange rack removal or finding another outside buyer.

WATCH NOW: Blu Dot Warehouse Design

Minnesota’s Industrial Racking and Design Innovations

Custom Solutions for Diverse Industries

Custom solutions and top-tier layouts characterize Minnesota’s warehouse design landscape. Mezzanines, push-back, pallet flow racking, and selective pallet racks are particularly notable, tailored to the specific needs of sectors from manufacturing to retail.

The Role of AK Material Handling Systems

Partnering with experts like AK Material Handling Systems can revolutionize warehouse operations. Our quick-ship options are invaluable for businesses needing immediate, efficient solutions. 

Advanced Technologies Elevating Warehouse Functionality

Innovations such as warehouse robotics, VRC lifts, and conveyor systems are pivotal in differentiating Minnesota’s warehousing approach. Paired with sturdy industrial racking and adherence to OSHA rack capacity labeling requirements, these technologies form the backbone of a high-performing warehouse. 

Insights and Tips for Success:

  • Embrace Customization: Tailoring storage solutions to specific industry needs is key.
  • Invest in Technology: Incorporate advanced systems like VRC lifts and robotics for efficiency.
  • Safety Compliance: Ensure adherence to OSHA standards for a safe, productive environment.
  • Quick Response: Utilize quick-ship options for rapid adaptation to market changes.
  • Expert Partnerships: Collaborate with seasoned designers for optimized warehouse layouts.

The transformative journey of Minnesota’s warehousing sector, exemplified by brands like Illume Candles and Blu Dot, offers valuable lessons. By adopting customized solutions, embracing technological advancements, and prioritizing safety and efficiency, warehouses can significantly enhance their operations and service delivery.

For help planning your storage system, AK is your local Minnesota warehouse design company with a nationwide presence. We are headquartered in Maple Grove, MN, and have completed projects in all 50 states. Call 800-722-5908 or complete an online quote form to get in touch with one of our design experts today!

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