A well-designed pallet racking layout is critical for an efficient, functional warehouse. The right pallet racking system can maximize space utilization and productivity, improving your bottom line.
Customizing your pallet racking system to meet your specific needs also makes your warehouse more productive and safe for workers. There are several crucial factors to consider when customizing your warehouse pallet racking layout.
Assess Your Warehouse’s Needs
Assessing your warehouse needs is essential to designing a custom pallet racking layout that maximizes storage capacity, minimizes costs, and improves operational efficiency. The following are the steps to follow when assessing your warehouse needs:
Evaluate Your Inventory
Analyze the size, shape, weight, and volume of the items you need to store to determine the types of pallet racking systems you need.
Assess Your Storage Requirements
Calculate the number of pallets you need to store, how often you need to access them, and how quickly you need to retrieve them. Also consider your inventory management style to help you find the optimal layout for your racking system.
Consider Your Warehouse Space
Measure the dimensions of your warehouse accounting for obstacles, such as columns, doors, or windows. This helps determine how many pallets you can store and what pallet racking systems you can use to maximize the available space.
Evaluate Your Handling Equipment
Assess the type and capacity of your forklifts and other handling equipment to help you design a racking system that can support the weight of your inventory and accommodate your equipment.
Customize Your Pallet Racking System
Customizing your pallet racking system is crucial for creating a well-designed layout that optimizes your warehouse’s productivity and space utilization. The following tips can help you customize your pallet racking system:
Add Specialized Accessories and Components
Enhance the efficiency of your racking system by adding accessories and components such as dividers, labels, shelf liners, pallet supports, load stops, and wire decking. These organize and identify products easily and improve the system’s load-bearing capacity and stability.
Optimize for Productivity and Space Utilization
Design the layout to reduce the distance workers travel and increase product retrieval speed. Place frequently picked items near the front of the rack and ensure there is enough space between racks for easy movement of workers and equipment. Use a high-density pallet racking system such as drive-in or push back to maximize space utilization.
Select the Right Type of Pallet Racking System
Various pallet racking systems are available, including push back racking, selective racking, pallet flow racking, and drive-in racking, each with unique benefits and limitations. Selective racking is the most popular type, allowing easy access to all pallets, while drive-in racking is best for high-density storage of products with the same SKU.
Consider Future Growth and Changes
When customizing your pallet racking system, consider your business’s future growth and changes. Choose a racking system that can easily adapt to changes in your products’ size, weight, and quantity.
Consider modular racking systems, like our Unitrak Pallet Racking System, which features a teardrop design, allowing you to add, remove, or reconfigure racks as your business expands or changes its focus. By planning, you can avoid the costly and time-consuming process of replacing the entire system in the future.
Organize Your Products
Segmenting your products by size, weight, SKU, and frequency optimizes space utilization and increases productivity. Consider these suggestions for categorizing your products:
Group Products by Size and Weight
Group products of similar size and weight together to ensure your pallet racking system can accommodate them. Large and heavy items should be placed on the lower levels of the racking system, while smaller and lighter items can be placed on higher levels. This approach ensures that your pallet racking system is stable and can handle the weight of your products.
Segment Products by the Frequency of Use
Place products frequently used together in the same area of your warehouse to increase productivity by reducing the time it takes to retrieve products. Products used less regularly can be stored in less accessible areas, such as the higher levels of your pallet racking system.
Create an Efficient Warehouse Layout
Create a more efficient workflow by grouping similar products in the same area of your warehouse. For example, if you sell electronics, group all computer accessories in the same area and place televisions and other large electronics in a separate location. This makes it easier for your staff to find and retrieve products, increasing productivity and reducing errors.
Use Alternative Pallet Racking Systems
Using alternative pallet racking systems can accommodate unique items that cannot be stored using standard pallet racking systems. Systems like cantilever racking or push back racking, provide more flexibility in storing long, bulky, or irregularly shaped items. This can help maximize storage space, improve safety, and reduce the risk of damage to the inventory.
Consider the Flow of the Warehouse
To optimize your pallet racking layout, think about the natural flow of your products from receiving to shipping. This identifies areas requiring more space or extra racking.
For example, if you receive large quantities of products simultaneously, you may need more space for staging and sorting before storage. If you have a high volume of orders being shipped out daily, you may need to dedicate more space for packing and shipping.
Consider Safety and Load Capacity
When customizing your warehouse pallet racking layout, consider the safety and storage capacity of the pallet racks system. The Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provide valuable guidelines and recommendations to ensure that pallet racking systems are designed, installed, and used safely in the workplace.
The RMI’s ANSI MH16.1-2012 specification for the design, testing, and utilization of industrial steel storage racks provides a comprehensive framework for designing, installing, and maintaining pallet racking systems that meet safety standards and load capacity requirements. It covers structural design, testing, installation, use, and maintenance. The RMI also provides guidelines for selecting the right pallet racking system for specific applications.
Although OSHA doesn’t have specific guidelines for pallet racking safety, they require employers to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards. Improper installation, damaged racking, unsafe modifications, and unposted capacities may be cause for OSHA penalties. Proper pallet racking installation and maintenance, including repairing damage and posting weight capacities, are essential for employee safety.
OSHA also recommends regular inspections to identify and address any potential hazards.
Ensure your warehouse meets all the safety and load capacity requirements outlined by the RMI and OSHA. You must select a pallet racking system appropriate for the products you are storing and the space available in your warehouse.
The system should be installed correctly and regularly inspected for any visible signs of damage, such as bent beams, missing parts, or loose connections, to ensure that it remains in good condition and is safe to use, especially if you are using a used pallet rack system.
Optimize Your Space With Shelving + Rack Systems
Optimizing your new warehouse space with a customized pallet racking layout can improve your business’s efficiency and productivity. With the right racking system in place, you can save time and storage space while also ensuring the safety of your workers and products.
Invest in a well-designed pallet racking layout today to take your warehouse operations to the next level. Contact Shelving + Rack Systems today at (800) 589-7225 to schedule a consultation and learn how our team can design a pallet racking layout tailored to your specific needs.