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Alternatives to Racking Systems – What is Floor Stacking?

A look at a warehouse without racking.

 

Racking systems make warehouses safe and efficient, and are considered necessary in modern storage environments.  However, having said that, it is possible to store stock without the use of any racking solutions.  Some warehouses opt to simply stack their pallets on the floor, avoiding the use of racking altogether.  This is sometimes called floor stacking, or block stacking.

 

In the practice of block stacking, the warehouse will lay its pallets directly on the floor in blocks, leaving aisles in between them, and then proceed to pile further pallets directly on top of them.  But, while this practice is possible, it does warrant some considerations.

 

Things to Consider when Block Stacking

 

  • Strength of the loads:  Placing pallets upon pallets places a great deal of pressure on the pallets at the bottom of the pile.  If these can’t take the pressure, the stack is potentially unsound and dangerous.
  • Stability of the columns:  Without supportive racking, the stacks have to be placed in perfect alignment as jagged stacks decrease the integrity of the columns.
  • Environmental conditions:  Climatic factors such as rain, humidity, and wind can make pallets weak and cause toppling.
  • Height limitations:  Indoor stacks are limited by the height of the structure’s ceiling, while outdoor stacks are limited by forklift clearance height.

 

What are the Cons?

 

Aside from the above considerations, there are some definite downsides to neglecting racking systems in favour of block stacking.  One of these downsides is the limitation on picking methods.  Because of their nature, the only possible stock selection method is LIFO, or Last-In-First-Out.  The pallets that are added to the pile last have to be removed before any other pallets can be reached.  This can cause a great deal of time wastage, as well as logistical issues regarding space.

 

Another limitation that is particular to floor stacking is called honeycombing.  This effect occurs when individual pallets are removed from a stock lane.  The area that is left behind is unable to be filled by stock of different sizes, which leads to space wastage.  If warehouses do decide on floor stacking, careful attention must be paid to pallet sizes so as to avoid honeycombing.  In addition, calculations and predictions must be made regarding the size of future stock so as not to inhibit turnover.  

 

To avoid the dangers and logistical issues that come with floor stacking, allow Krost – racking solutions experts – to equip your warehouse with the racking necessary to maximise efficiency.

 

Image credit: http://www.camcode.com/asset-tags/warehouse-barcode-solutions/