The variety of pallet racking systems can be a bit overwhelming if you’re trying to decide on one type for your warehouse. There is no wrong answer, and you should not only look at the benefits of each system for your particular industry or product, but you should also keep your options open. You don’t need to have only one type of system. One size rarely fits all. Different pallet racking systems can exist in the same warehouse. They can even work together to increase efficiency. Here are three possible scenarios out of thousands of combinations.
- Bulk Storage Racks + Moveable Racks = Solution for any size product. Consider your product size, depth, weight and rotation requirements and you’ll see how easy it is to combine racking systems in a single warehouse. While you could do everything based on size and weight, you might want to consider how the rack systems will impact your team’s productivity. Even adding a bulk storage rack will help streamline your picking process. Because bulk storage racks are meant for larger products that are too big for regular shelving, they can be placed in larger aisles or on end-aisles. This positioning can give employees easier access to the large products, with plenty of room to use a forklift or pallet jack and use the empty space around them. While bigger products should be kept on a stationary bulk rack, smaller, lighter weight products can be stored on a moveable rack. Moveable racks are popular because of their flexibility, but often customers find them to be more of a nuisance than a stable rack. The positioning of the moveable rack is important, and it’s also key that the placement be communicated clearly so that no one decides to move the rack without approval.
- Single Pallet Racks + Double Pallet Racks = Greater productivity for all. A combination of single and double pallets can be great for dense, diverse inventories. Both racks allow the picker to see all of the product, and the pallets are easily moved by a variety of machinery, including forklifts and pallet jacks. These do require more warehouse floor space because of the individual pallets, but they are two of the most popular rack systems in use today. Single and double depth pallet racks are also best for FIFO (first-in, first-out) products that are perishable.
- Push-Back Racking + Double Pallet Racks = Storage Density and best selection. If your inventory is split between perishable and non-perishable product, this solution might be most helpful. Push-back racks are not conducive to FIFO strategies but are ideal for products that simply need storage space. The racks allow the pallets to be loaded from one end, and the newly loading product pushes the other boxes backward. For products that need to be rotated often, a double pallet rack will do the trick. These two working in tandem can offset each other’s challenges. For example, the productivity of the forklift driver at a push-back rack would make up for the cost of the additional floor space required for a double pallet rack.
Add flow-through racking to any of these combinations, and the result is: All bases covered! Flow-through racking allows high-density storage and opportunities for FIFO because pallets are loaded from the rear and existing pallets are pushed to the front. They are not ideal for space considerations because they are built such that they cannot be stacked, causing a loss of the valuable “upward” expansion space.
The bottom line is that any combination that meets your warehouse requirements for storage density, inventory rotation, and product accessibility is the right combination. Remember that you don’t have to stick with a single type of rack system. You can also opt to add storage bins and shelving. When you have a wide-open space, the choices are also wide open. When you need to reorganize, you can still add rack systems that will meet your updated needs.
Professional warehouse designers can help you if you have questions. If you prefer one type of racking system over another, express your opinions to them or to your storage vendor. Above all, get the system that is right for you now and for your company’s growth plans. Choose items that will be flexible and cost-effective.