You are a parts warehouse manager and your job is to sell parts. The last thing you want to do is to spend your time trying to figure out what kinds of industrial storage solutions you need for your business. Truth is that you are right. There are a lot of solutions and it can get very confusing when you start to go down the rabbit hole of decking, pallet rack type, pallet rack protection, and more. It is at this point where we come in as we strive to make this easy for you. We try to take all of the pain out of getting pallet racks into your business. We can handle the permit process which may exist in your location, we can help you select which pallet racks are best for your business, and we can even do a CAD warehouse design to help you figure out how your warehouse should be set up for optimal efficiency.
The first thing you should know is that there many different types of pallet rack. However, being an auto parts store, you need flexibility with your shelving units because you have a wide variety of vehicle parts, They have to be separated, in some cases, in order to make sure that certain bolt types are not mixed with other bolt types. Every parts department employee knows that one bolt can look like another one and mistakes can be made very easily. This is especially true if you are shipping out the parts to a customer. If that is the truth and you lose money on the shipping both ways and you have to deal with an unhappy customer. It is something that should be avoided at all costs if possible. The pallet rack that most suits your business is a selective rack. A selective rack is a rack that is most like the shelving units you have at home. You can organize your shelf in any way you feel is appropriate. It is a great thing for you because you will have to make room for new parts and move parts around as your needs change. If anything is constant in the automobile parts department it is that part numbers change and vehicles change. You will need a system that is able to change, as needed, with you.
The other thing to keep in mind is that you will also be caring smaller parts which means that you will need something like plastic storage bins to keep it all together. Every good parts department employee knows that there are several parts that look like they should belong together but are actually slight variances of each other. They can make it very difficult to figure out which part goes where and sending out the wrong part to a customer can be disastrous for reasons that are obvious. Especially if that customer is an e-commerce customer who lives across the country. You have to pay for shipping to the customer and then back to yourself. You also have to send out the correct part and spend more money on shipping that correct part out to the customer. Shipping costs already cut into your margin. You may as well minimize the damage from the get-go. Obviously, it makes sense to try to avoid that as much as possible. Therefore, plastic storage bins can really help you keep your products together instead of having to worry about problems over time.
Another issue that you will run into is what kind of decking do you want for your pallet racks. There are several different choices that you can make for your decking type. However, if you intend to store things vertically then there are decking choices that you should make that are smarter than others. For example, you can make the decision that you want wood support bars as your decking choice. The problem with these wooden support bars is that they are very flammable. An inspector is not going to be too happy if they see these would pallet support bars in your business. It does not mean that you will fail in an inspection but there are other consequences from that action. One of which is that you will not be able to store is high as you could with other decking choices. A lot of businesses have there wood support bars push very close together and this is a problem because it does not allow water through the pallet. A fire that starts below will be very hard to put out because the sprinklers cannot reach the lower levels. Therefore, you will not be allowed to store as vertically as possible. A better choice is wire mesh deck. Wire mesh deck can hold up to 2500 pounds of uniformly distributed weight. It can also hold small objects as long as you have them in the plastic storage bins we mentioned earlier.
Working around pallet racks can be dangerous if you do not take the necessary safety precautions to make it safe for both you and your employees. The best way to do this is by getting safety products meant to help your pallet racks be as safe as possible. The first thing you should think about is your safety clips. Safety clips are usually included with your pallet rack. Safety clips are an item that should be constantly checked to make sure that they are in good repair. There is a lot of jostling that happens when people put inventory on shelves. The jostling can disconnect safety clips from the pallet rack. The pallet rack can become unstable and could possibly fall on someone. Therefore, it is a good idea to check to make sure that the safety clips are doing their job and are in good repair. A good secondary safety measure to an act is to also use safety pins. Safety pins are much harder to dislodge and they last longer than safety clips. If you have both of these items on a pallet rack then you are increasing your safety and the safety of your workers. Any inspector who happens to look at your pallet rack will like that response to possible safety problems. If you have forklifts in your business then you should consider column guards or RAMguards for your pallet rack. Column guards and RAMguards make sure your your pallet rack can survive a contact or accidental collision with a forklift. It is all dependent on the forklift actually making contact with the column guard or RAMguard. If the forklift makes contact anywhere else but the column guard or RAMguard then it will not be protected. The good news is that these safety protection items are designed so that the cover sections that would be normally contacted by a forklift during normal use. There are companies that do stack them on top of each other to get full coverage of the pallet rack, however. The choice is up to you and how big you think your business is or is going to be in the future. Column guards and RAMguard’s are an excellent addition to your pallet rack safety program in either case.
If you are a larger e-commerce business or your business warrants you having a larger warehouse then you may want to consider getting a modular office inside of that warehouse. If you have a manager that you would like to have an office then this might be a good solution to do that as you can place it in the warehouse itself. The modular offices you will see by clicking over on that link for more information include air conditioning/heating and electrical hookups. Therefore, it could be used for a variety of reasons. If you need a place to store some items then you could use it for that. If you need a break from a can be used for that as well. If you need a shipping and receiving office than the modular office is a good answer for that as well. Another good reason to get a modular office is that it is not connected to the building itself. The modular office is designed to be moved around if you need it to do so. All it takes is a forklift or in some cases a pallet jack to move it to another location. A secondary reason that it is good that is not attached to the billing is that it will take less to permit than adding an extra addition to your building.
Another way you can add to a larger scale e-commerce auto parts store or a parts department is to add a second level. You do not have to add on to your building to have a second level of storage. You can get a mezzanine work platform to do that for you. A mezzanine work platform is a good idea for a business that would like to store vertically but would still like to be able to access the product without using a forklift for height purposes. It might work very well in an auto parts department because you will have employees who will need to pick the parts. It will be very difficult for them to pick the parts they need if they have to use a forklift to load and unload a pallet or product box from a high shelf. It also has the advantage of not needing as much paperwork as adding to your building does in most locations.
Another thing that happens in auto parts departments is that you run out of space very quickly. It can be very difficult and time-consuming to figure out where to put new products as they come into the business especially if they are larger items. Therefore, it makes sense to plan for this ahead of time. The best way to do this is to get a CAD warehouse layout. The CAD warehouse layout will allow you to look at your business from several perspectives. All of these perspectives will give you a good idea of how your workflow is going to look and what possible problems you could have in the future. If you are working with a business like us then we probably have worked with someone like you and can tell you about problems you may have based on the experiences we have garnered working with others like your business. You can get insights that will save you time and money instead of asking you to make decisions that may or may not be prudent. It also spares you having to plan out your warehouse so that you can spend more time figuring out how to generate more revenue with the parts you already have or are trying to bring in to the business.
Finally, you have a daunting task of trying to figure out how to get your rack permitted in your location. It is a worry of many business owners and parts department managers. If it is a worry for you and your business then you can shortcut the process by working with a business like us. We speak to these departments every day and know what they are looking for when they speak to businesses like you. We can help you through the whole process to make sure that you get through it in a timely fashion that allows you to do what you do best. You will be able sell your auto parts while we focus on making sure that your racks get through the permit process with everything they need like seismic calculations