Warehouse Storage and the Utility Maximisation of Fixed Resources

In a tough economy, where every cent has to go as far as it possibly can, efficiency is the new name of the game. This certainly means finding ways and means of cutting unnecessary or wasteful expenditures; but it also means maximising existing resources, utilising them in such a way as to amplify their current value and usage.

In terms of warehouse storage, this implies that several, inter-related facets of the overall system need to be carefully evaluated with one question in mind: “could this be better?”

In a warehouse or retail context, space should not be thought of as being static. In fact, the efficiency of proper warehouse storage is dependent on not only the best possible exploitation of the physical dimensions of space resources, but also on the correct design of packing and retrieval systems within the space.

This is to say that space in warehouse storage is dynamic – most especially in high-density situations when items are stored for short periods.

Krost Shelving and Racking has over five decades’ worth of expert knowledge to draw on when advising our clients on how to respond to their warehouse storage logistics. But, in this article, we can mention just a few items to keep in mind when thinking about which system would solve your unique warehousing needs.

First on the list are the dimensions of your available space: how much floor space is available, what is its shape, and what is the floor to ceiling height? Next on the list are the dimensions and amounts of the goods you need to store: these figures will decide the sizes, numbers and types of pallets that will be required. Third on the list is frequency of access, floor traffic considerations, and whether the storage unit needs to be running a LIFO or FIFO system?

The information provided by answering these three initial questions determines a significant amount about your warehouse storage requirements.

We left budget off the list for the moment, but every project has a financial constraint as a fundamental concern. In circumstances where finances are limited to the bare essentials, selective pallet racks are always available as a viable option.

Selective pallet racks are suitable for either LIFO or FIFO systems, come at a low cost, and offer easy access to all pallets. In many ways, the only downside is that the racks limit warehouse storage density as aisles are required between the rows.

The demand for high-density storage results from the provision of limited floor space for a large number of items. Here, drive-in and drive-through installations may be the solution.

Whereas selective pallet racks require that items be loaded as one would pack a normal shelf, drive-in and drive-through racks work on a very different system: pallets are loaded and retrieved by driving into the end of the rack (i.e. pallets are packed into the rack’s depth from an end). This means that there is no need for aisles between racks: only forklift access bays at one (drive-in) or both (drive-through) ends.

Because drive-in racking has been designed with only one entrance, it’s used for LIFO systems; conversely, because drive-through racking has been designed with entrances at both ends, it’s used for FIFO systems.

As another possibility for high-density warehouse storage, shuttle racking is excellent for large volumes of pallets that need to be moved regularly. Shuttle racking provides lanes of up to 50 pallets in depth, which can be stored in both FIFO and FILO configurations. The shuttle process is controlled via remote, and it carries the pallets into and out of the deep racks. Pallets are loaded onto, and unloaded from, the shuttle rack via forklift.

When it comes to the warehouse storage of long, thin items like rolls of carpeting, lengths of timber, bolts of fabric, metal or plastic tubes, pipes, etc., cantilever racks are a good way to go. Cantilever racks simply provide cantilevering beams that support the lengths of material/items at regular intervals. The simplicity of storage also allows forklifts easy access.

In an effort to maximise the utility of fixed resources, logistics managers must consider warehouse storage as a prime opportunity for improvement. Krost Shelving and Racking is here to advise you every step of the way, so don’t wait to get in touch and learn more about our services.