Inventory management is critical for modern warehouses, distribution centers, and other storage facilities. With the growth of eCommerce and increased consumer demand, warehouses must be organized and efficient.
High-quality storage solutions that meet warehouse demands and promote efficient workflow are essential for remaining competitive in modern markets.
There are several styles of pallet racking systems. While many are versatile, not all pallet racks are beneficial to a business. Some are designed to stack vertically, using the entire warehouse, while others offer high-density storage for small areas. Choosing the right system is crucial when designing an efficient and safe storage facility.
How to Choose the Right Pallet Racking System
Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of new and used pallet rack systems, industrial shelving, and storage equipment. We stock a wide range of high-quality warehouse materials, from replacement gravity-fed rollers to complete industrial racking systems.
However, we are not just an equipment distributor. We help businesses create an efficient warehouse storage space.
An effective system should maximize utilized storage space, boost productivity, enhance efficiency, and ultimately increase long-term profits. Although it may take time to adjust to a new warehouse layout, the effects of an upgraded system should be noticeable quickly. Choosing the right system for your facility depends on several important factors, including:
Number of individual Stock Keeping Units (SKUs)
An SKU is a unique number given to inventory to help identify individual items quickly and monitor stock levels. Different types of products don’t share SKUs. To determine your storage requirements, you’ll need to know precisely how many SKUs the racking system must store.
For example, if you store ten different types of products with individual SKUs, your pallet racking system must be capable of handling all items. If you regularly process items of contrasting weights and sizes, your choice of racking system may be limited. Alternatively, you may have to consider combining warehousing racking systems.
Quantity of pallets
A pallet racking system must meet the storage capacity requirements of your facility. If your warehouse or distribution center typically handles high volumes of products, you’re likely to need a high-density racking system, like pallet flow racking. If your operation deals with relatively low product turnover, you may need to assemble a custom selective pallet rack to store goods for more extended periods.
Developing an effective warehouse storage system requires meticulous planning. To design effective loading and storage bays and to maximize warehouse space, it’s essential to know the size of pallets you need. Find the dimensions of the pallet and plan the warehouse layout with these in mind.
Load capacity is one of the most important factors when choosing suitable pallet racking system. The weight of your pallets determines the necessary capacity of the steel beams, decking, frames, and braces. Overloading pallet racks can diminish their structural integrity, increasing the risk of collapse.
Type of product
Certain products have special storage requirements. Fragile goods often can’t be stacked vertically on top of each other. You may need to store perishable goods as part of a first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory management system, which is only possible with some types of pallet racking.
If your warehouse contains cooler or freezer rooms, the racking system must be suitable for cooler temperatures. Treated galvanized steel is an excellent option for cold storage.
Maximizing usable warehouse space is crucial for modern facilities, especially with limited square footage. Vertical space is a premium when dealing with large, bulky items, like building materials, sheet metal, or lumber.
Cantilever rack systems are ideal for heavy-duty storage. They enable vertical storage, maximizing cubic space utilization. Since the front side of a cantilever racking system is unobstructed, it allows seamless access to pallets by forklifts and material handling equipment.
Warehouse management often overlooks seismic activity. If your warehouse facility is in an area occasionally affected by earthquakes, you should take preventative action.
Opting for a pallet racking system with heavy gauge steel gives the structure more stability. You can also improve security with large base plates and additional anchoring equipment. Protective netting may also protect your goods and workers if merchandise becomes loose after an accident.
Assembly and adjustability
Adjustability and ease of assembly are key if you need to regularly reconfigure racking to accommodate high product turnover. Boltless, or rivet shelving, is typically easy to put together using minimal equipment. Selective pallet racking is also a popular type of pallet racking because it is highly customizable and easy to adjust.
Selective Pallet Racking
Selective pallet racks are among the most common kinds of warehouse racking. It is called a selective rack because it allows the forklift operator to access any pallet without moving the other goods.
Selective pallet rack systems are an excellent option for warehouse facilities that process low turnover volumes with multiple SKUs. They are typically more affordable than other styles of pallet racking in terms of cost per pallet.
Selective racking is one pallet deep. However, two racks can stand back to back, allowing access from both sides. It is most suitable for first-in-first-out (FIFO) inventory management systems. Perishable goods or items with a shelf-life are typically stored in FIFO systems, like selective pallet racking.
Selective pallet racking is easy to assemble and reconfigure. With adjustable beam levels, warehouse managers can accommodate different-sized pallets. Businesses that store a high number of SKUs require a flexible racking system. Selective systems allow you to maximize usable storage space and house various types and sizes of goods.
What are the benefits?
The key benefits of selective pallet racking include:
- Available in various sizes, configurations, and load capacities
- Provides easy access to goods
- Comes in roll formed, structural steel, or a combination of both materials
- Customizable and adjustable
- Capable of storing a range of SKUs
- Cost-effective storage option
Despite its versatility, selective racking isn’t always the best pallet option. Potential drawbacks project managers must consider:
- It requires several aisles, taking up floor space
- To store a large amount of inventory, you’ll need a lot of warehouse space
- Cost-effectiveness diminishes with higher-volume storage
- Low-density storage when compared to other warehouse rack systems
- Inefficient for bulk storage of similar or homogenous goods.
- Limited vertical space
Selective racking from Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc.
We stock high-quality galvanized steel selective racks suitable for a wide range of applications. The steel racking system is available in powder or hot-dipped galvanized coating, which can be used for cooler or freezer storage. Designed for use in harsh environments, the tear drop frames are rust and corrosion-resistant, ensuring long-lasting durability.
The bolted frames can support over 30,000 lbs. of inventory. Choose from a selection of beam lengths depending on the specific needs of your facility. Our galvanized racks are an excellent solution for pharmaceutical storage or food and beverage production plants.
Pallet Flow Racking
Pallet flow racks or carton flow rack systems are specialist racking systems that use inclined rails, gravity rollers, and tracks to transport goods around a storage facility. Pallet flow rack systems can improve inventory retrieval efficiency and reduce labor costs by shortening travel distances for warehouse workers.
These systems feature separate loading and picking bays. Once product cartons are loaded, they move along the inclined system, and the next carton automatically takes its place, creating a steady product flow. While similar, this type of system isn’t the same as a semi-automated pallet shuttle.
Pallet flow racking systems are used frequently in food distribution centers, beverage distribution centers, or storage facilities that process high volumes of perishable goods. Due to the constant distribution activity, carton flow pallet racking is also an excellent option for cold storage applications.
What are the benefits?
Advantages of pallet flow warehouse solutions include:
- Seamless access to products through a flow-based inventory retrieval system
- Efficient storage system for food items and perishable goods
- Increased warehouse floor space
- Caters for high density of product stock, from eight to twenty pallets
- Fast and efficient storage solution for high volume fulfillment centers
- Deep inventory storage option
- Uses dedicated product lanes for specific SKUs
Disadvantages of pallet flow warehouse racking systems include:
- High initial cost compared to other industrial pallet racks
- Requires continued maintenance
- Not suitable for all product types
- Requires aisle space, occupying a large proportion of your facility
Flow pallet racking systems from Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc.
Our extruded aluminum conveyors are perfect for a FIFO flow rack system, providing excellent support and product visibility for product cartons, boxes of product, or a warehouse pallet storage tray. It comes with a choice of PVC or stainless steel gravity rollers.
We also supply replacement and specialty rollers in a range of lengths. Choose from various finishes, including 20 gauge aluminum or galvanized steel. If your system needs extra stability, our extruded additional pallet supports are constructed from quality aluminum, helping maintain product integrity and reduce the risk of damage.
Drive-in pallet racking systems are a high-density storage option designed for housing large quantities of similar or homogenous goods. Drive-in pallet racks eliminate the need for multiple aisles in a warehouse. Since they are used to store the same types of products, drive-in systems use one access point for entering and exiting storage bays.
Drive-in pallet rack systems are forklift accessible. The forklift operator enters the narrow aisle from one side to load or unload goods, then simply reverses back out when they are done. If you’re looking to create additional storage space without expanding your facility, drive-in racks systems are an excellent choice.
What are the benefits?
The main benefits of drive-in pallet racking are:
- Protects fragile goods or difficult items that you can’t stack on top of each other
- A space-efficient system that enables accurate pallet retrieval
- Cost-effective for high-density storage
- Available in structural steel or roll formed
Potential issues with drive-in rack systems include:
- Ineffective for storage facilities that stock a wide variety of SKUs
- It doesn’t work well with last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory management systems
- Susceptible to abuse from forklift damage
- Only compatible with standardized pallet sizes, restricting flexibility for SKU changes
Drive-in racking systems from Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc.
Our inventory list contains a selection of essential parts and components for drive-in racking, including frames, beams, supports, and decking. We also provide protective equipment, helping to limit damage from forklift trucks, including heavy-duty rails, rack guards, and guide rails.
Our v-face post protectors are an essential addition to any drive-in system. Available in different sizes and thicknesses, the thick powder-coated steel will protect your system in the event of an accident.
Cantilever racking is a unique system designed to store large, bulky goods and awkward non-palletized items. Cantilever racks contain four key components: bases, towers, arms, and support braces.
Unlike standard warehouse pallet racking solutions, cantilevers don’t feature a front aisle upright. This unique design and bulk storage capacity enable cantilevers to support long and heavy-duty items, such as lumber, sheet metal, and piping. Cantilever rack storage is durable, maintaining its load capacity in the long term.
What are the benefits?
If your warehouse regularly handles heavy-duty equipment or bulky building materials, you are a perfect candidate for a cantilever rack system. Other important benefits of cantilever racking include:
- Supports a broad capacity of goods, from light to heavy-duty items
- Easiest and most accessible storage option for oddly shaped materials
- Strong and stable, improving warehouse safety
- Straightforward installation process
It’s also important to consider the disadvantages of cantilever racking:
- Heavy-duty materials mean cantilever racking comes at a higher price point than several other options
- Not compatible with all floor types (your current space may need reinforcing)
- Requires a lot of warehouse space for safe material handling and product retrieval
Cantilever racking systems from Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc.
Whether you need replacement arms for your existing system or you’re upgrading your entire warehouse operation with cantilever racks, we supply all-welded, galvanized steel and rugged cantilever options.
Our Series 2000 medium to heavy-duty racks are strong and stable, capable of storing industrial piping, lumber, and other heavy-duty materials. Depending on your storage needs, the arms can support up to 36,200 lbs. They are adjustable on 3-inch centers along the entire length of the upright, ensuring they can cater to various goods of different shapes and sizes.
Transform Your Warehouse With High-Quality Pallet Racking
As one of the most critical components of a successful warehouse facility, choosing the right type of pallet racking for your business is essential. At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc., we don’t just supply warehouse equipment. Our turnkey operation offers a range of professional services, including consulting, design and installation.
We can assist you with every step of your warehouse transformation, ensuring you install a system that fits the precise demands of your organization.
To discuss your needs in more detail, call us today at (800) 589-7225.