An ideal pallet racking system is an essential function of an efficient and well-run warehouse. A strategically designed warehouse rack system doesn’t just create necessary storage space; it is a key infrastructural component that enables smooth warehouse operations, which ultimately contributes to improving your business’ bottom line.
A warehouse racking system is one of the most efficient types of warehouse storage. It involves organizing stock into pallets before storing items on horizontal shelving. A warehouse pallet rack maximizes floor space, allows for fast and easy order picking, and optimizes the use of vertical space.
There are several ways to create an effective storage system using rows of racking. Depending on your business and the types of products you store, certain layouts may be more suitable. The following tips can help your business to create an ideal pallet racking system.
Space utilization is extremely important in creating a good pallet racking system. Depending on the type of products you store, different storage solutions should be considered. If you need to maximize the number of goods you can store in your warehouse; you must consider a high-density storage system.
Effective storage solutions for high-density goods include deep lane storage, drive-in, drive-thru, and push back racks. A high-density system may store between 2 and 5 pallets deep.
If you stock heavy, bulkier goods, a low-density system is likely to be more effective. Items such as timber or industrial piping are notoriously difficult to store efficiently. Using a cantilever rack helps to use the space effectively when storing cumbersome items.
Order Retrieval: LIFO or FIFO
A critical factor in inventory management is whether you adopt a last-in-first-out (LIFO) or first-in-first-out (FIFO) retrieval system. As well as easing potential material handling issues, a LIFO or FIFO system is crucial for managing date-sensitive goods.
LIFO is an inventory management system relating to nonperishable goods. It prioritizes selling the stock that’s most recently entered your warehouse. Goods must be stored in a particular way to facilitate a quick turnaround.
FIFO is an inventory management system that revolves around selling older products first. This is generally a tactic to avoid older goods becoming obsolete while they are in storage. Failing to get rid of older products can result in warehouse congestion and a loss of potential sales.
In general, businesses selling goods with a shelf life opt for a FIFO system. LIFO systems can enable businesses to benefit from an accounting perspective. Recent costs may be matched against revenue, which can contribute to cost savings.
For LIFO systems, drive-in and push back racking systems are recommended for order retrieval, and for FIFO systems, selective, and pallet flow racks are often more suitable.
Focus On Storage Efficiency
Space utilization is one of the most important factors when creating the ideal pallet racking system. Warehouse managers should calculate how much space is required for storing a pallet.
Warehouses are measured in square feet, while the amount of space a pallet takes up is measured in cubic feet. Calculating storage efficiency can be done by multiplying the length by the width and height of the pallet.
For a standard pallet-based system, it’s advantageous to have high ceilings. As long as a warehouse has the right equipment, this allows them to operate more efficiently.
When creating the ideal pallet racking system, aisle width plays a vital role for a couple of key reasons. Firstly, it has a direct influence on the size and number of racks that you install. The beam height and width determine the size, weight, and type of goods you can palletize and store. Safety standards must be considered for the welfare of your employees and to meet the occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) regulations.
Aisle width is also crucial for employee and forklift access. Easy access to warehouse items is crucial for efficiency and safety. In general, picking equipment is the deciding factor in determining the aisle width. An aisle usually ranges anywhere from 8’ to 13’.
Many warehouses adopt a 12’ wide aisle to ensure forklifts can maneuver quickly and safely. However, physical order picking for smaller goods doesn’t require such a wide aisle. They can operate using relatively narrow aisles, maximizing storage space. Automated storage and retrieval systems can also work with reduced aisle widths and taller racking systems.
Wire decks can be used to give more support to a rack. They’re easy to install and don’t affect visibility despite the additional support.
Consider the Number of SKUs
Stock-keeping units (SKUs) are scannable bar codes that consumers should recognize from regular retail stores. These labels contribute to effective inventory management and are used to track the movement of goods. They also contain information on pricing, product details, and warranties.
The number of SKUs and available pallets helps determine the type of pallet system you select. If the ratio of the pallet to SKU is 1:1, warehouse facilities can use selective pallet racking. Selective pallet racking has the lowest cost per square meter for racking. However, for high volume storage (3,000 pallets), it can be the most expensive racking system.
If your warehouse system has multiple pallets per SKU, it is often more beneficial to use a higher density set-up, like drive-in or push back racking.
Ensure You Have the Right Handling Equipment
Although designing and implementing an effective pallet racking system is the most important factor, it can be difficult to operate efficiently without the right handling equipment. After determining the pallet racking layout and aisle width, you can decide what equipment is needed.
Forklifts, lift trucks, and man-up order pickers are generally the most common and important pieces of handling equipment.
Pallet Racking System Quality (New vs. Used)
Many businesses are faced with a decision on whether to go with new or used racking systems. While you can benefit from cost savings with a used system, they may not be reliable. For safety reasons, you should hire an engineer to inspect and approve any warehouse equipment that’s already been used or purchase used equipment from a reputable vendor.
Although a used system can be beneficial in some circumstances, such as when first starting out or as an add on, it’s generally safer and more reliable to opt for a new racking setup. They may also provide you with more long-term savings opportunities as they’re likely to last longer, pass inspections, and can be adapted to create a more customized warehouse.
Contact Us Today for All of Your Racking Needs
Shelving & Rack Systems, Inc. creates a variety of racking and storage solutions, ensuring your warehouse is built to your specific needs. Our products are made from quality materials, helping your business to pass required safety protocols.
For further information, visit our website or give us a call at 800-589-7225 to request a free quote.