Pallet racking is one of the most important parts of your warehouses’ infrastructure that helps you facilitate optimal operation and organisation. Pallet racking lets you maximise the use of your available space and organise your stock efficiently, while still providing easy access for effortless stacking and picking up.
However, pallet racks are just one component of the whole system. Factors such as product demand, employee training, warehouse layout, aisle width also play a role in how efficient your pallet racking system will be. That being said, you need to think ahead and plan how to make the most out of your warehouse space for the best efficiency. But first of all, it helps to get informed on the different types of pallet racking warehouse systems you’ll come across on the market.
Popular Types of Warehouse Pallet Racking Systems
Standard Warehouse Pallet Racking
This is the most common racking solution. However, it requires an aisle to allow for material handling equipment access. If the flow of your warehouse has already been determined, you should choose racks that make the most out of the available space. And since most products shipped are stored on pallets, there are different types of racks for different storage facilities.
Warehouses with a high turnover rate and which store a wide range of goods would benefit the most from a standard pallet racking system. These pallets are easily accessible with forklifts. Furthermore, they allow you to label every storage location and refer to it using your master list. The forklift or other material handling operator can easily track columns, rows and the grid schematic to easily reach the location where the item to be shipped is stored, or where the item is to be stored.
Custom Warehouse Racking Systems
If you have specific needs or specific areas in your warehouse that need to be addressed, custom pallet racking for warehouses can offer saving grace. They say a full warehouse is just a disorganised one without adequate racking. If you’re able to identify the problems, you’ll certainly find a way to improve efficiency and make the most out of the available space.
As aforementioned, floor space is scarce, so many managers rely on vertical storage space to increase the amount of inventory that can be stored. Vertical storage solutions can be custom-made, with a huge emphasis being put on ease-of-access and safety. Using your space poorly is one of the most common issues, and it’s easily solved with the help of custom racking systems.
Movable Pallet Rack Systems
These pallet racking systems can be invaluable in a wide range of situations. They operate on mobile carriages that reduce the amount of unused aisle space and can improve your storage capacity significantly. You can store pretty much anything on them, regardless of size, weight, shape and bulk. This includes inventory that can be moved by electric trolleys, trucks, cranes or forklifts.
Movable pallet rack systems are adaptable and versatile, so you can use them in virtually any facility, as they can be reconfigured if necessary. These pallet rack systems provide the most value if you’re working with inventory that’s seasonal or slow-moving.
Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Racking System
Planning Is Crucial For Maximum Efficiency
First and foremost, you need to plan your warehouse’s layout. You can’t just start throwing pallet racks around based on a whim. You should work with a material handling equipment supplier that has experience in warehouse facility layouts, so you can put your trust in their knowledge and experience.
Be clear about your demands and listen to their suggested solutions. Think about where your staging areas will be, where the shipping and receiving products will take place, where your office will be, where your staff will eat lunch, the type of material handling equipment you use (i.e. forklifts, trolleys, etc.) and how the pallet racking will be accessed. You need to consider these things in advance so you aren’t forced to make adjustments after the pallet racking warehouse system is installed, as that can lead to reduced efficiency and safety.
Consider the Budget of the Project
After you plan the warehouse’s layout, you need to consider how much money are you willing to allocate for the racking system. Don’t forget to factor in the installation and design into the price as well. But also remember, it’s not about finding the cheapest deal, but rather, finding a system that meets your specific needs best. In other words, you want your system to provide the best value for your money. Keep in mind that should you require a more specialist solution, you’ll probably have to spend an extra buck (for a push back or pallet flow system, for instance).
Take Advantage of Your Vertical Storage Space
If you’ve already made the most out of your floor space, consider setting up vertical pallet racking units instead. This helps you increase the efficiency of your product handling process and avoid expansion costs at the same time. Furthermore, it can help you keep large products safe from damage, keep smaller products in view while making the most of the available space you already have.
Avoid Planning Your Space Based on Using Old Equipment
Your storage requirements have probably changed since the last time you planned out your space. The number of SKUs, their size, quantity and available storage space have all probably changed. That being said, make sure you configure the planned space based on your current needs, or preferably, your needs in the foreseeable future. This includes the type and size of storage solutions that you used in the past.
Only when you set up the current plan should you check whether you can make use of old equipment. While this may increase the initial budget, you’ll save money down the road and end up with a more efficient long-term storage solution.
Final Thoughts on Racking Systems
At the end of the day, every warehouse or 3PL storage facility has distinct requirements and needs, so as a manager, you should look for a solution that would best suit your facility. It’s important to plan and think ahead so you can get a racking system that will be efficient not only now, but in the foreseeable future as well. There are many materials handling equipment companies that specialise in racking systems and can help you make all the right choices.
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