Racking Systems for a Warehouse – Which One Should You Have?

Racking Systems for a Warehouse – Which One Should You Have?

“A lot of people just think that they can order any type of pallet rack and put it in their warehouse and get started storing things. The truth is that opening up your warehouse without doing a lot of thinking beforehand can open your business up to problems.”

If you are getting racking systems for your warehouse then the first thing you need to ask yourself is what kind of inventory system does my business need to follow? The answer to this question will tell you a lot about what kind of pallet rack you need to have in your business and how your warehouse should be designed. A lot of people just think that they can order any type of pallet rack and put it in their warehouse and get started storing things. The truth is that opening up your warehouse without doing a lot of thinking beforehand can open your business up to problems. We will try to explain why you should think about what type of racking systems you need for your warehouse. We will also talk about what systems you should put into play to support those racks.

One of the first questions you have to ask yourself when you open your new warehouse is what type of pallet rack fits my business. There are a couple of questions you can ask yourself in order to get to this answer. The first question to ask is what kind of inventory method do I need to follow as mentioned in the previous paragraph. There are two inventory methods that we are talking about here. One of them is the first in-first out method and the other is the last in-first out method. The first method is more commonly known as the FIFO method. It is used by businesses that have to deal with product expirations. The latter of the two methods has a less commonly known acronym, LIFO, which stands for last in-first out. Basically, this works well for businesses that do not have to worry about product potency or product expiration dates. As you can imagine, the FIFO methods are a little more restrictive than the LIFO methods. If you are a business that needs to follow the first in-first out method then you should consider a selective rack or a pallet flow rack for your warehouse needs.

“The most common rack you will find is a selective rack. The selective rack works just like any normal shelving unit does in your home. You can choose how to organize the shelf in any way you choose…”

A pallet flow rack is sometimes known as a gravity-flow rack, therefore, if you have not heard of it under a pallet flow rack name then you might know it is a gravity flow rack. A product is picked from the front of the system and replaced by the next oldest product. It is done by gravity and specially designed rollers. The system automatically replaces the removed product or pallet with an appropriately dated product from the system. It does this by having newer products loaded in the back of the system. The effect of loading the products in the back of the system means that the newest product is always in the back. Older products are always in front of them and the first to get picked. The only problem with the system is that it tends to be more expensive than the most common type of rack that you will see in the marketplace. The most common rack you will find is a selective rack. The selective rack works just like any normal shelving unit does in your home. You can choose how to organize the shelf in any way you choose instead of having a system that will replace what is in front. If you been in the retail industry then you know what facing a shelf means. A selective rack will require you to face the shelf instead of using a gravity system to do it for you.

“A forklift will drive into the rack and pick products or replace products that have been removed. The obvious problem with a drive-in or drive-through rack is the high propensity of them to get damaged by a forklift that is misused while inside of the rack system. Therefore, if you choose to have a drive-through or drive-in rack you have to be very careful about not damaging your rack while inside of it.”

If you do not have to follow the FIFO methods then you can use the last in first out method. If that is true for your business then you can use a high-density racking system like a pushback rack system that works the opposite of how a pallet flow rack works. The products get entered through the front of the rack and gravity and rollers replace that with the next newest product. You may also see a hybrid system in which this is true but with a drive-in or drive-through system. A drive-in or drive-through system is what it sounds like on paper. A forklift will drive into the rack and pick products or replace products that have been removed. The obvious problem with a drive-in or drive-through rack is the high propensity of them to get damaged by a forklift that is misused while inside of the rack system. Therefore, if you choose to have a drive-through or drive-in rack you have to be very careful about not damaging your rack while inside of it.

If your product is a long and heavy object then you will not likely be using any of the above pallet racks in order to store your product. If you have long and heavy products then you will likely be using a cantilever rack. A cantilever rack is a pallet rack system in which you store items like lumber, steel, pipes, and anything else that would be too heavy to put on a normal pallet rack. For example, there are some furniture stores that use these to both display and store couches. Hardware stores are also known to use this kind of pallet rack to show their wares. They just add a shelving unit on top of the arms of the cantilever rack. Two companies that famously do this are Lowe’s and Home Depot.

“The next thing you want to do in order to support your warehouse, to make sure that it is properly optimized for what you do, is to get a CAD warehouse design.”

The next thing you want to do in order to support your warehouse, to make sure that it is properly optimized for what you do, is to get a CAD warehouse design. If you are going to follow first in-first out methodology for your products then it makes sense to optimize the workflow of your warehouse to fit those needs. If you have to follow FIFO methods then you are aware that time is an issue, therefore, it makes sense to optimize your warehouse in order to move products along very quickly. If you do not have to follow first in first out methods then you may want to optimize your workflow to handle products that are ordered often in your business. You can get these out of your warehouse and into your customers’ hands faster.

If you follow all of the ideas set forth in this article then you will be able to decide which racking systems are best for your warehouse. If you need help deciding what you need then you can call us at 503-447-1284. You can also buy your pallet racks without talking to us by clicking that link there. Keep in mind those are selective racks.

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