LEXINGTON — When Next Generation Films swung open the doors to its newly constructed, automated distribution center Thursday, April 27, allowing its employees and the public to take tours of the next facility, it was given an interesting surprise.
The company, which makes films that are used for packaging purposes and employs more than 450 people, had a day named after it. Lexington Mayor Eugene R. Parkison declared April 27 “Next Generation Films Day.”
“I think if you’re honest and truthful, you work hard and you treat your employees right, good things will happen, not always the way you want, but they do happen,” said owner and CEO David Frecka following the announcement.
Next Generation Films had rented space from outside warehouses before building the warehouse that was open for tours Thursday night.
“We had the need for an automated warehouse, we were running out of space using outside warehouses,” Frecka said. “And we were trying to cut costs and better serve our customers.”
The facility uses an advanced automated storage and retrieval system that stores more than 14,000 pallets of inventory items. Five automated stacker cranes work 24 hours a day, 7 days per week to move the pallets around.
“The facility is designed to handle 80 pallets in and 80 pallets out per hour,” said lead maintenance tech Jason Reamsnider while conducting a tour.
Items aren’t stored in specific areas, but are instead spread out across the warehouse. The pallets come and go using a FIFO (First in, first out) system.
“We desire to have a balanced warehouse,” Reamsnider said. “We wouldn’t want all of one product to be stored in one spot because if one thing went down, we’d never be able to get it out.”
It’s not a problem because the automated system remembers exactly where everything is placed.
Next Generation Films was founded in 1994 with only one building, but since then, it’s noticeably grown. It now has three film plants and a fourth being built.
Half of the building will be opened in about two weeks. The entire plant is expected to be completed and in use later this year.
Frecka said that Next Generation Film’s success stems from its employees.
“Here at Next Generation, we don’t do anything too special, we just have special employees that work extremely hard and are dedicated to our company,” he said. “And through that, that’s how a company grows and prospers.”