03 Mar What You Need to Know About Getting and Using Commercial Pallet Racking
“One of the first things you need to figure out is what type of rack you need in your business.”
It can be super confusing to get the shelving units or racks you need for your business. One of the biggest problems is the number of consumer products that you will be shown if you do a search for something like “commercial shelving”. If you can wade through all the products that do not fit then you might be exhausted. It may take you a day or two to find anything that looks remotely like what you need for your warehouse. It is when you get to this place that you might realize that you do not have an idea of what you are looking at in the first place. You will have to figure that out as well and that might take a day or two as well. It makes the process long and exasperating. We understand it and we get it. We will try to help by giving you things that you should be looking out for when trying to get a pallet rack or storage unit for your warehouse or business.
One of the first things you need to figure out is what type of rack you need in your business. Most people are ok to have the most common type of rack and that kind of rack is a selective rack. A selective rack is most like the shelving at home. You decide what goes where and how you want to arrange it on the shelves. Selective rack delivers the biggest amount of selectivity out of any of the racking styles you could get in the marketplace.
“You may want to have a workflow optimized even if you do not have to follow a process like FIFO. If you do have another process for a product you want to be optimized then the best way to do this is with a warehouse CAD layout.”
Another style of rack is a drive-in rack or drive-thru rack as it is sometimes known. We tend not to talk about this one often because of the possibility of accidents that could happen with this style of racking. However, it is a very popular style for a lot of businesses. It is named drive-in or drive-through rack for obvious reasons. Your forklift can drive into the rack and get or place the product. The problem with this style of racking is also its greatest strength. The fact that a forklift is inside a racking system when it removes or places the product is what causes the problem. If the forklift makes accidental contact with the rack then the rack is endangered, the product is endangered, and the driver of the forklift is endangered. If a contact was made and the rack is still standing then it needs to be checked to make sure that it is not going to be a hazard for people who are nearby the rack. Notwithstanding, the rack is as safe as you or your employees make it. It all depends on how careful you can be when you are inside the structure. The design of the structure will not give you much room for error. Precision is key when you use this style of rack.
If you are a food business or a business where expirations and potency are an issue then you may want to have a look at a gravity flow or pallet flow rack. It was designed specifically for businesses that need to follow the FIFO method of inventory. If you are required to have certain products out before other newer products then you should look at this rack. It is an automated way to handle FIFO if you use the rack correctly. It uses gravity and special rollers to deliver the next oldest product to the front of the line when one is removed and used in your business. You do this by loading the back of the machine with newer products and picking from the front where the older product is located. The system keeps newer arrivals in the back and older products near the front where it can be used first.
“If you do not have to worry about FIFO and can use LIFO then you should think about having a push back rack as your commercial pallet racking choice.”
If you do not have to worry about FIFO and can use LIFO then you should think about having a push back rack as your commercial pallet racking choice. LIFO means last in-first out if you were wondering. The system is good for high-density storage. We mean to say that you can put a lot of products into a defined area. The way the rack works is that you load and pick from the same area on the rack. Therefore, newer products are getting picked first without regard to the age or the amount of time it has been located on the shelf or rack.
Another style is a cantilever rack. A cantilever rack is the type of rack you would see at a lumberyard or a place with pipes. Cantilever racks are good for products that are long and heavy. Types of products that fit this category well are things like timber, steel, and pipes. You may also notice this type of rack being used in hardware stores like Lowes or Home Depot. They, the stores, commonly have a special type of decking so that they can use the racks like shelving units. You may also find this holding furniture like couches in places like IKEA.
Once you have figured out which one of those you want then you need to ask yourself about the permit process and how you want it all set up. Obviously, if you are going follow FIFO then your warehouse should be set up to maximize the transfer of products from one place to another. You may want to have a workflow optimized even if you do not have to follow a process like FIFO. If you do have another process for a product you want to be optimized then the best way to do this is with a warehouse CAD layout. The best thing about that is most businesses offering it also have experience in procuring permits. They should be able to help you through the process and get you what you need in order to have your warehouse ready to go when it is time to do so.
Need help finding, selecting, and getting rack permits for your new industrial storage solutions? Call us at 503-447-1284 and we can help you figure it all out. We can even do the warehouse CAD design layout for you and help you with the permit process.