The function of your warehouse is only as good as the organization of your rack storage system. With the technology in use today, warehouses may be highly mechanized with laser-guided robot forklifts and a warehouse management system for controlling product flow. Systems may also involve employees picking and processing your product.
The top priority in any warehouse operation is maximizing space. You will quickly discover that it is imperative to have the right storage system to fit your needs.
There are multiple warehouse storage rack systems available; which is right for your business? Take a look at some of the best types of racks to explore your options.
Making the most of available space is imperative when storing lengthy, over-dimensional products like lumber or tubing. Structural or roll-formed cantilever racking may be the answer, due to the compact, adaptable storage it offers over less flexible pallet racking. Since these racks lack front columns, they can accommodate larger, over-length items like carpet rolls, furniture and piping in the increased horizontal space.
- Levels are multi-length
- Long, open clearance leads accommodate lengthy items
- Levels adjust for different SKUs
- Easily customizable
- Generous aisle widths must be large enough to allow picking and restocking lengthy items
- Works best when inventory weight can be evenly distributed
- Not the most space-efficient pallet racking system
Pallet Flow Rack
If your warehouse is high volume with fast-moving product, you must stay on top of picking at all times. A gravity-fed, high-quality pallet flow rack system can cut your costs while saving much-needed space. The inclined shelving uses gravity to draw palletized loads forward to the picking position, and the deep pallets replace aisles to save on square footage. Product loading takes place on one side while picking occurs on the other.
- Can integrate with almost any existing pallet rack configuration
- Can store product 20 or more pallets deep
- Loading and unloading points limit potential damage from forklifts
- Works well in warehouses with high storage density
- Implementing this rack system can be more costly than other storage options
- Doesn’t allow for optimal accessibility to all pallets
- Flow system is first-in, first-out (FIFO), which limits good selectivity
Drive-In Pallet Rack
This type of rack system is cost-effective and can help increase storage by as much as 75 percent. These racks work well in both FIFO and last-in, first-out (LIFO) configurations. If your business includes high-density warehouse spaces that must accommodate products with long shelf lives, you understand the need for adequate storage capacity.
- A drive-in pallet rack system can be a cost-effective solution for FIFO or LIFO access
- Excellent storage potential for products that don’t require instant access
- Decreased aisle space improves forklift paths and reduces square footage requirement
- Rack pallets that are not placed on the end can be difficult for forklifts to reach
- May see increased incidences of rack damage from forklifts navigating narrower aisles
- Problems may arise when inventory needs rotating
More Storage Options
Every warehouse could probably benefit from more floor space and additional storage area. Pallet storage options can help, and there are others available than those mentioned here. Before your business commits a large chunk of its budget for a storage rack system, investigate the types available to get the one that fits your specific needs.
The bottom line is to understand the pros and cons of any rack system you’re considering.