TMCnet Feature
June 16, 2022

Choosing the Right Warehouse Storage System for Your Business Needs

From parts manufacturers to parts suppliers to wholesale distributors, many businesses rely on warehouse storage to manage operations. But as these businesses evolve and expand, their existing setup may no longer be the most suitable option. While moving into a bigger building helps solve some of the problems, the manner in which items are efficiently stored and retrieved will depend on the storage system being used.

Most businesses utilizing warehouse storage space use some sort of pallet racking or pallet rack shelving. With this in mind, let’s take a look at six pallet racking systems representing the most advanced warehouse storage methods available:

Cantilever racking

While most warehouse storage systems revolve around pallets, not every item can fit on a pallet. Cantilever racking is a suitable storage system for items such as lumber, plumbing pipes, and anything else too long, big, or bulky to be properly stored in a traditional pallet formation. With that said, it’s possible to store pallets on cantilever racking systems. However, due to the simple design, pallets can only be stored one deep per row.

Compact pallet racks

Like the compact shelving systems found in libraries and archives, compact pallet racks free up floor space by keeping shelves up against each other with minimal room in between. When access is needed, users operate a control panel to move the pallet racks over a set of tracks. Doing so creates sufficient space between racks for workers to access the storage space. Once the work is done, the racks are moved back into their original compact formation.

Drive-in racking

As the name suggests, drive-in racking involves using a forklift to store pallets in a deep, compressed formation. Its most noticeable feature is the horizontal rails running the length of the storage lanes, allowing forklift operators to gently guide the pallets onto the shelving platforms. Generally speaking, the only way to reach pallets in the back of a drive-in racking system is to take everything else out first. With this in mind, drive-in racking is ideal for situations where you’re storing large quantities of the same item. That way, the inventory is retrieved naturally over time.

Pallet flow racking

One of the more ingenious warehouse storage systems ever designed, pallet flow racking utilizes gravity to ensure the first product put into storage is the first one taken out. This is done by placing pallets on the high end of a slightly downward sloping shelving system. The force of gravity forces the oldest pallets to move as new pallets are added. Doing so promotes first-in-first-out stock rotation. It’s also cool to see in action.

Push-back racking

Another warehouse storage system with a nifty design, push-back racking uses rollers and spring-loaded mechanisms to keep pallets in the front-load position. These spring-loaded rollers make it easy to store other pallets on the shelf without removing the original pallet. Instead, it simply gets pushed backward. Thanks to the structural design of a push-back racking system, operators can safely store an uneven array across all rows without worrying about a collapse.

Selective pallet racking

If available space isn’t an issue, then selective pallet racking is the best storage system option for your warehouse. That’s because, as the name implies, it allows for any pallet to be accessed at any time. But that accessibility comes with a price; selective pallet racking requires an exceptional amount of floor space compared to the other systems previously mentioned.

Multiple options

Do more than one of these storage systems sound appealing? If so, consider using more than one. There’s no reason your warehouse can’t utilize multiple storage systems. Just make sure employees are adequately trained on how to work with each system. For instance, forklift operators need to know the difference between loading and unloading a drive-in system versus a selective pallet system.

Warehouse management comes down to how storage is handled. By finding the best storage system or systems for your specific business needs, you make the best use of space, increase productivity, and probably improve safety as well. Consult a business storage system specialist to determine the best way to improve your operations. Doing so will go a long way in helping your business manage growth and meet expectations going forward.

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