Warehouse storage is a complex but vital part of an efficient industrial business. If staff need to search for items, move other stock out of the way to reach the required inventory, or have to maneuver forklifts into tricky spaces to unload their products, then time is being lost.
Loading and unloading of inventory occur many times during a day, and those small periods lost to inefficiency can add up to a significant amount of downtime, which ultimately impacts on profitability. One of the priority areas for any warehouse manager must be to maximize the space they have and increase efficiency.
There are many storage solutions, providing managers who oversee workspaces with varying dimensions of warehouse floor spaces, options to suit their individual needs.
Push Back Racks
Push back racking systems work on a first-in-last-off (FILO) basis. This method means that the first item that is loaded will go to the back of the rack. As the forklift driver adds more pallets, they will move toward the front until the frame is full.
These units have a system of inclined rails and nesting carts. A forklift driver can set their pallet onto the cart, and the tracks allow gravity to move the inventory toward the back of the rack gently. This method is also known as a pallet flow system.
When the driver removes a pallet, gravity will again move the next pallet to the front space. As the depth of push backs racks can accommodate from 2-6 pallets, they are known as high-density storage systems.
Warehouse managers can build these flow racks up vertically to increase their storage area. As the systems work using the power of gravity along with the inclined rails, these racks are suitable for storing fragile inventory.
Although managers need to be very organized and know which items they will need in a particular order, push back racking systems are also useful for storing different goods. Managers can store one type of inventory in a rack, and then keep completely different items in the frame beside it. Due to the versatility of push back racking, they are a very popular form of pallet racking system.
Many warehouses hold heavy and cumbersome materials. Manufacturers who use timber, long steel beams for shipbuilding or aeronautical construction and many other industries who use heavy-duty materials may find cantilever racking are the right choice.
These rack shelving units are simple in design. Generally of steel construction, they have stable supporting feet, a vertical frame, and sturdy supporting arms that hold the materials. Forklift or crane drivers can load their contents onto the arms, confident the steel shelving will support the substantial weight. Managers can build the racks up vertically, allowing them to maximize their warehouse space.
As these types of materials tend to be cumbersome due to being very long and heavy, there is often the need for plenty of space around the rack for loading and unloading. The ability to build up vertically provides a warehouse manager with vital extra storage capacity.
Carton Flow Storage Racks
In contrast to first-in-last-off systems, carton flow racks allow one employee to load the inventory at one location, and another member of staff to remove it at another. They work by utilizing rollers that keep the stock on the move. This technique is a safe and efficient way of transporting goods around your warehouse. As the rollers are taking the weight, they reduce the chances of an employee hurting themselves when moving heavy items.
Also, as employees walk around a warehouse floor, they can risk injury by coming into contact with forklift drivers or other staff who are unsighted by the large racks of inventory. Not only that, time spent moving from one spot to another is time-consuming. As these journeys add up, you can lose a significant amount of working time and profit.
Allowing an employee to spend their time at the one location, while another unloads at the destination point is much safer and more profitable. Warehouse managers can decide on the configuration they need, and they can then build the rack in the most suitable shape.
This option is excellent when there is already an efficient use of floor space that managers do not want to disturb. The versatility of carton flow racks means they can use a modular system to build around an already successful operation.
Over Dock Door Storage System
Possibly one of the most overlooked areas for a warehouse storage rack is in the busiest area. A loading dock door is always a busy place, but many people don’t notice the ample space above it. As every square foot is crucial in industrial floor space, this is a location that can offer a great place to store material you don’t use that often.
Over dock door systems can be floor mounted or ceiling mounted. In both cases, you will likely want to add wall-mounted support to bolster the security of the unit. If you have a spacious area around the loading dock door, then a floor-mounted system will be feasible. You will need to install a support column for the rack, and then the forklift driver can add loads on, creating additional warehouse space.
Often the area around a loading dock door is too busy for a warehouse manager to consider reducing space further by adding in a support column. In these cases, a ceiling-mounted system will be more suitable. These systems are welded or bolted to the warehouse ceiling trusses. You will need to consult with an architect if using this type of racking system.
As the dock door area of a warehouse is busy, this is an excellent location for materials that you need to keep, but maybe won’t need regularly. Many managers like to use this space for spare pallets that are then easily accessible when required.
As rivet shelving is stable, it is a popular choice for storing heavier or bulky items. At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc, we stock the Allstor rivet storage system. Allstor is a leading name in rivet shelving, and their range of options can cater to most needs.
You can build it for single or double depth storage, and also use the shelving for Lo-Pr0 or wide span bulk shelving. If you would like both, then it’s possible to combine the two.
Static or Mobile Shelving Systems
Shelving units are incredibly flexible, and you can use the various materials and configurations to meet virtually any warehouse need. Sometimes you need a shelving unit to stay where it is, and everyone knows it’s there and what you keep on it.
However, at times mobile units will be the right choice. Staff can load the carts up and drop various items off at different locations as they make their way around the factory floor.
Many storage racks are mobile. They come with casters for easy maneuverability and locking brakes for safety. Employees can plan their journey around the factory floor, for maximum efficiency.
Should they need to collect items on their rounds, you can choose a double-sided option. Wire mesh can separate the goods so you can have complete confidence there will be no mixing of inventory.
One of the most crucial jobs of a warehouse manager is to keep their floor space and the staff organized. If even just one part of the factory floor is inefficient, then it can have a knock-on effect, as employees become less productive and cannot move on to other jobs.
Choosing the most suitable storage racks is essential if you are to achieve maximum efficiency. You will need different racks for various locations throughout your warehouse floor, depending on what you want to store, it’s dimensions and the space you have available.
Speak to our experts at Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. for help and advice when choosing a racking system. The choice you make can significantly improve your warehouse efficiency and productivity.