Does your warehouse racking system meet the needs of your business?

A warehouse racking system
What warehouse racking system is right for you? Photo: Dolgachov, Bigstock

Storage optimisation is the most important element of any goods-based business, as the way you incorporate your warehouse racking system to accommodate and support various processes can ultimately decide on the fate of your business. That said, every company is different and requires a unique approach to storage optimisation in order to maximise productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency in terms of time, finances, and performance.

In order to opt for the warehouse racking system that exactly fits the needs of your business, you will need to assess some of the fundamental variables that come into the equation. Here is how you can easily decide on the best racking system for your warehouse business.

Consider your selectivity

First things first, knowing your selectivity can significantly cut down on labour costs, help you optimise your storage, and organise your SKUs accordingly. You might want to maintain 100% selectivity at all times, however, that would only limit your choices drastically and minimise the effectiveness of deep-space storage solutions. In case you are working with limited space capabilities, you might have to bury pallets, in which case it is best if you limit the method to your slowest-moving SKUs in order to compensate for the additional manual labour required to reach those goods.

Adhere to your density requirements

It’s important to think about and assess your realistic deep-storage opportunities in order to maximise space and prioritise your inventory accordingly. You can achieve this by analysing on-hand storage volumes by SKU, allowing you to consider various deep-storage solutions such as double-deep, drive-thru, drive-in, push-back racks, and pallet flow in order to maximise cube utilisation across the board.

Opt for FIFO or LIFO solutions

When deciding on an optimal racking system, it’s important to assess your traffic and storage requirements to be able to opt for either a FIFO or LIFO solution. Pallet flow racks, for instance, work best for First In First Out systems although you can also use other deep-lane storage alternatives in a FIFO environment. It’s also important to carefully decide on your preferred stacking method in order to prevent burying priority loads, thus wasting time and money on retrieval.

Prepare for pallet variations

Pallet variations are crucial in creating an efficient storage environment and making sure the goods are well-kept on quality pallet racking structures that equally allow manual as well as forklift storage and retrieval. You may also need to prepare to use wooden crate storage. Depending on the quality and design of your pallets and racking structures, the workers will have an easier or more difficult time reaching and retrieving goods, at which point employee safety becomes an issue as well. So make sure you optimise your racking structures and introduce the right pallet designs accordingly.

Keep forklift access in mind

Forklifts are essential in every warehouse operation with sizeable loads and traffic on a daily basis, which is why it’s imperative that you adapt your storage solution for forklift selection, particularly in a specialised environment such as a drive-in, drive-thru, or double-deep racking solution. If you are working with select rack systems, you want to add between six and twelve inches of manoeuvrable space according to the stacking aisle requirement provided by the truck manufacturer in order to minimise product and rack damage and create a safer work environment. If you work with an industrial automation system you will also need to make allowances.

Build according to load weight

Exact preparation is key when deciding on your preferred racking system, which is why you need to build your racking structure based on your heaviest loads. You want to be able to place your heaviest goods anywhere around the warehouse, on any rack and any pallet, so don’t try to guess the best racking system, but build it with flexibility, safety, and efficiency in mind using the exact weight measurements.

Don’t forget about your warehouse environment

Finally, in order to build the optimal warehouse racking system, you will need to consider the environmental conditions in your area and how they influence the interior of the warehouse. Be sure to also factor in the maintenance and upkeep requirements as well. You should also pay special attention to any laws and regulations in your country dictating the proper handling and storage of products. All of these variables will help you assess your true storage requirements.

Running a successful business will ultimately come down to the efficiency and efficacy of your warehouse racking system. This is why it’s imperative to perform an in-depth analysis of your storage needs based on the aforementioned variables in order to ensure long-term growth and stellar performance across the board.