Many businesses have a need to store a variety of items and, because the nature of the goods to be stored and their purpose varies, so too does the design of the storage systems supplied for this purpose. While supermarkets are mainly concerned with displaying their items in a manner that is readily visible and easy for customers to access, the main concerns of a warehouse owner are to maximise the use of the available floor space and to facilitate the process of picking and packing. For such purposes, pallet racking frequently offers the most practical solution.
Among the most fundamental advantages of these systems is that they offer warehouse managers the means to capitalise on every cubic metre of potential storage space by allowing them to position multiple storage bays one on top of the other. There are, of course, limits to the vertical storage capacity of these systems. This will be determined by three main factors – the height of the warehouse, the weight of the items to be stored, and the maximum reach of the forklifts to be used with the pallet racking system. Furthermore, because the height of each storage level can be individually adjusted, pallets may be stored high or packed short, and all sizes can be accommodated within a single system.
Typically, the rows of racks are arranged back-to-back, leaving an aisle that is just wide enough to admit a forklift and allow it to pick and pack pallets on either side. This arrangement can be especially useful for a warehouse in which the range of stock-keeping units (SKU) is high, but the numbers of each are fairly limited. For bulk storage purposes, however, there are some variants of this basic pallet racking system, which are likely to prove more suitable.
These variants include drive-in and drive-thru systems, as well as flow racks that are designed for end-to-end storage in which the use of rollers allows each new load to displace earlier loads. In this case, the ability to pack at one end of a row and pick from the opposite provides the ideal pallet racking system with which to implement a strict FIFO routine.
Depending on a company’s requirements, drive-in and drive-thru systems also have much to offer and can increase the available storage space by up to three times when compared to other types of racking. In a drive-in system, forklift access is restricted to one side and thus a good choice for LIFO operations while the double-sided access provided by a drive-thru installation is more flexible, and so, offers a pallet racking system that is designed to facilitate the first-in, first-out inventory control protocol.
In practice, several different systems may be combined to create a fully customised solution that is able to meet every possible need for the busiest and most diverse warehousing operation, within the limitation of the space available. These systems not only allow a warehouse to optimise its use of space, but also to simplify and speed the tasks of its personnel. To learn more about how some form of pallet racking could improve your operation, contact Krost Shelving and Racking