Warehouse space is limited. Optimizing vertical storage is not only economical, it is critical to the efficiency and long-term productivity of your company. In short, you need to maximize it to get the most out of your operation.
A pallet rack, or “pallet racking,” is a large set of shelving for stacking commercial goods. If you are building a new warehouse or restructuring an existing one, you may be overwhelmed by the many racking options you have to choose from.
The information below will go over the basics of pallet racking and how different types meet specific needs. It also provides some advice on how to select the best configuration for your warehouse.
Pallet Rack Basics
One of the biggest advantages of being able to store pallets is that it allows you to invest in higher quality ones. These can have a lifespan of up to five or six years, depending on usage. Being able to reuse pallets over and over can translate to big cost savings over the years.
Most pallet racks are made from structural steel, which is the preferred choice for heavy storage capacity. There are roll-formed steel racks that are an affordable alternative. These are easy to install and may be suitable for most storage needs, but they will not have the load capacity of structural steel ones.
Pallet Rack Accessibility Options
Standard or “static” pallet racking allows a forklift to access any pallet on the rack. This is ideal for businesses that have a high turnover.
It also allows easy labeling of contents, so that material handling operators can keep up with organized columns and rows. The downside is that they are the least economical in terms of space.
Most pallet racks come with the option of being able to store one or two stacks, depth-wise, on the rack. The biggest reason to consider a double-depth pallet rack is that you have twice the storage per aisle.
Mobile pallet rack system moves the racking along with motorized carriages. While more expensive than traditional racks, they are the most effective at compacting aisle space relative to storage capacity.
Push back racking uses a last-in-first-out (LIFO) system. This means that forklifts place pallets on the racking, then the next pallet placed on there pushes the previous one to the back. It is best for long-term usage since the pallets placed there are less apt
Another option is employing custom racking solutions to help design your warehouse layout. They can match up a racking system with your inventory and operational needs. While these services will cost more on the front end, having an efficient warehouse can yield much greater savings long-term.
Tips for Purchasing Racking
The most important thing you can do is take some time planning your warehouse equipment locations and overall layout. Consider accessibility and positioning relative to things like the shipping and receiving dock.
Budget is important as well. But do not go look for the bare-bottom price for a pallet rack. Compare apples to apples, and decide on the most reasonable racking system that meets your particular needs. Also, remember to include installation costs in your budget.
The needs of your business change over time. Don’t make the easy mistake of basing a new warehouse design on what your company is doing today. Ensure that the racking system you install will provide capacity and maximize efficiency for the foreseeable future.
Find the Right Pallet Rack System for Your Business
Now that you have an idea of the many benefits of a pallet rack and the different options you can select, you can make a decision about which configuration is best for your business. An efficient pallet racking system will go a long way to improving workflow and productivity in your warehouse.
We hope this information was helpful to you. If so, be sure to take a look at our many other business and technology posts, as well as those on lifestyle, health, travel, and many other topics.
Thanks For Reading
More Read On Forbes Magazine