Warehouse management requires optimization, ensuring your business runs efficiently and generates the highest possible profit. Since the demands and requirements of a modern warehousing operation are constantly changing, you need to keep your business up-to-date, modifying your storage systems accordingly.
Several signs indicate your current shelving and racking systems are not sufficiently optimized for your business. This can reduce long-term efficiency and limit available warehouse space.
Choosing Suitable Shelving and Racking
To increase the efficiency of your warehouse operations, you’ll need to evaluate your inventory, racking and shelving placement, and workflow to find the optimal combination. This includes determining whether you need to add warehouse racking systems or shelving units.
You’ll also need to select the best type of shelving and racking for your products. If, for example, you store products with a high turnover rate and need forklift access to a single row of inventory, a selective pallet rack is one of the most cost-effective options available. If you need a unit for storing non-palletized merchandise that requires consistent airflow, consider wire shelving instead.
Shelving and racking differences
Shelving units store products for retrieval by human workers. Depending on the design, the worker may also use material handling equipment, such as an overhead hoist or crane, especially when the merchandise is heavy.
Racks, however, are specifically designed to store palletized inventory for retrieval by forklift drivers and workers operating pallet jacks.
Delaying Repair or Replacement
You should periodically inspect pallet racks and shelving units for damage and signs of wear and tear. If you find that a rack’s components are corroded, cracked, abraded, or deformed, replace or repair these parts immediately. Delaying repair or replacement can jeopardize both the safety of your workers and your inventory.
Insufficient Aisle Space
If you don’t have enough aisle space or have aisles that are not accessible, you should re-evaluate your warehouse storage requirements. Palletized merchandise should not be left on the warehouse floor any longer than necessary, as this increases the risk of damage or product loss. It also compromises worker safety, as there’s less clearance for order pickers and forklift trucks to maneuver between racks. This also reduces the efficiency of your operation.
One of your priorities should be to minimize clutter as much as possible. To do this, you may need to upgrade your shelving and racking systems to account for changing inventory requirements.
You can also optimize your available storage space by increasing storage density relative to selectivity. However, you can use double deep pallet racks to increase the density of traditional selective systems.
Inability to expand
If your business is doing well and demand is high, you may wonder how to expand your shelving system. If, after increasing the efficiency of your storage systems, you’re still left with insufficient space, you’ll have to consider alternative solutions.
Expanding vertically can reduce the costs associated with horizontal expansion or relocation. Vertical lift modules, for example, significantly increase storage capacity relative to traditional racks and shelves while also improving throughput efficiency, order-fulfillment accuracy, and workplace safety.
Whether an automated storage and retrieval system is appropriate for your warehouse depends on your budget and expected ROI (return on investment).
Arranging your storage differently
Rather than arranging your shelving and racking systems in short sections, arrange them in continuous lengths to make the most of your available space. Alternatively, while this may limit access for retrieval, placing shelves or racks against walls can open up floor space.
If the racking system’s beams are experiencing pronounced deflection or show signs of deformation, you may be exceeding the load capacity. Likewise, if you notice shelves bowing in shelving units, you’re adding too much weight or your shelving unit needs replacement.
This can happen if you started the warehouse with a different set of storage requirements, your inventory changed, but you didn’t upgrade to account for the increased weight or quantity.
Always consult the manufacturer or supplier regarding the load capacities per beam and the system as a whole. Place legible rack labels at the ends of the racks or on the individual beams showing this information. Workers should always know the maximum load capacity of a rack or shelving unit to avoid costly and potentially dangerous collapse.
Signs of Impact Damage
In warehouses where forklift traffic is high, you may see signs of impact damage to the uprights of storage racks. While you should securely anchor racking systems to the concrete floor, this is not always sufficient to protect the steel components from being deformed.
Roll-formed racks are relatively lightweight, easy to assemble, and inexpensive. However, they’re also less rigidly constructed and durable. Signs of impact damage, especially on more than one occasion, may indicate that stronger pallet rack systems are necessary for your facility.
Structural racking, though more expensive, is suitable for environments in which the risk of forklift collision is high. The additional expense and complexity of structural rack installation may be worth it if it reduces repair and replacement costs in the long term.
Optimize Your Warehouse
At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we understand the importance of optimization to increase the efficiency of your warehousing operation. When space is at a premium, and you need to meet the constantly evolving needs of your warehouse, give us a call at (800) 589-7225. We’ll help you find the most efficient shelving or racking system for your specific circumstances.