Warehouse efficiency largely relies on the storage and retrieval of goods. The right racking system will contribute to smooth warehouse operations that boost productivity and create a safe working environment.
In the dynamic supply chain management and logistics landscape, selecting the right warehouse racking system needs a comprehensive evaluation. Finding the best racking system for your warehouse depends on your facility’s needs and the manner of inventory you house there.
What Are Racking Systems for Warehouses?
Racking systems are the backbone of efficient storage and logistics operations. They help organize inventory in vertical or horizontal rows, streamlining processes. Choosing the right system for your operation can simplify inventory management, enhance productivity and increase storage capacity with scalable opportunities. These components are all crucial for modern warehouse operations with a competitive edge.
Additional benefits of warehouse racking systems include:
- Better storage density: Warehouses can organize and store large quantities of inventory in the same footprint.
- Enhanced space utilization: Where floor space is limited, pallet racking systems can help organizations efficiently use their warehouse’s vertical space.
- Inventory management: Well-organized inventory is a prized tool that aids in warehouse optimization. Racking systems also support inventory tracking systems from storage to retrieval and order fulfillment.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Warehouse Racking Solutions
The primary objective in searching for a racking solution is to find one that meets your operational needs, safety requirements and long-term goals. Considering these factors will move you closer to finding the types of warehouse racking systems you need:
- Warehouse needs assessment: Understand the storage needs, the types of products your warehouse handles and your inventory turnover rates.
- Warehouse layout: It is important to note the available vertical space, as it can free up floor space for distribution use.
- Space utilization: Maximize space by choosing racking systems that fit the available area and can cater to future expansion needs.
- Weight and load capacity: Pallet and rack characteristics must align to ensure inventory is stored efficiently. Remember that different racking solutions may offer better support to specific products.
- Aisle accessibility: Employees must be able to access inventory easily. Aisles must be wide enough for forklifts to operate efficiently within their turn radius.
- Inventory management software: Software solutions like Blockchain can assist in tracking inventory and allow for optimal rack utilization.
- Compliance and regulations: Ensure that the racking system meets industry safety and compliance standards.
- Inventory movement: Consider inventory rotation, how much of your inventory is static or dynamic and what your staff needs are in terms of picking accessibility.
It is also vital to consider any special storage requirements your inventory has. For example, you will commonly find compact and high-density storage racks in cold storage systems. The reason for this is to use every space available to optimize energy costs efficiently. In operations where chemicals are kept, warehouse managers must be aware of products’ chemical compatibility before deciding on a racking system.
Four Different Types of Racking Systems
There are a number of warehouse racking systems to consider, each offering specific benefits to various industries and operations. Choose a scalable solution that can adapt to your evolving storage needs. Ensuring your racking solution meets industry compliance and safety standards is also important.
1. Selective Pallet Racking System
The most popular pallet storage system may be the base for drive-in, pushback or carton flow storage solutions. These systems consist of wire decking and vertical and horizontally arranged beams that facilitate shelving levels, giving employees direct access to each pallet.
Selective pallet racking systems allow for easy pallet retrieval, making it the smart choice for operations with diverse SKU requirements or high inventory turnover. This cost-effective system offers the most benefits to retail, manufacturing and food handling industries, as well as general warehousing.
2. Cantilever Rack
These racks are a great storage system for inventory that holds heavy, bulky, long or awkward objects like bars or tubes. A cantilever rack keeps inventory safe, organized and off of the floor. These adjustable racks offer versatility in storing inventory like lumber, furniture and pipes.
While this racking system can accommodate heavier loads, it is essential to consider factors like the maximum system height you need, whether you need a single or double-sided system and the size and weight of the products you keep in your warehouse. This storage solution is versatile enough to be used in a warehouse or outside of it and can offer straight or tilted arms to optimize product storage.
3. Carton Flow Racking
Also known as gravity flow racking, it uses gravity to simplify the loading and retrieval of warehouse inventory. Carton flow racks consist of an inclined roller that lets inventory flow forward when one item is removed in a first-in, first-out rotation. They are the perfect addition to kitting assembly lines or pick-and-pack operations.
There are two options to consider for this racking system:
- Flexible bed flow: These use rollers to support continuous flow, complementing e-commerce, seasonal operations and high-turnover products.
- Select lane flow: The tracks in this system use predetermined widths to support smooth flow from stocking to picking. They work well in operations with consistent inventory sizes and repetitive work.
In addition to warehouse benefits, carton flow racking can help optimize workspaces and improve inventory rotation. This racking system is often seen in assembly lines, carton handling, commercial printing, medical manufacturing and distribution centers.
4. Drive-In Pallet Racking
Warehouses with high inventory volumes may need dense pallet organization systems that operate on a last-in, first-out basis. Drive-in pallet racking systems are cost-effective, maximize warehouse floor space and store pallets multiple positions deep. This highly customizable storage solution allows you to maximize floor space in your warehouse, which is especially useful in the beverage and food industries.
This system uses a single entry point drive-in method, so it is essential to consider your forklifts’ widths and heights, building the system accordingly.
Don’t Stack It, Rack It With Tennessee Rack
When it comes to optimizing warehouse operations, finding the best racking system is paramount. The right warehouse racking solution offers ease with inventory loading, unloading and storage, boosting operational efficiency and improving the warehouse footprint.
Whether you need to add racks to a supply room or a 100,000-square-foot depot, we can design and install a system for you. Tennessee Rack has durable, reliable and convenient racking systems that can be customized to suit your company’s needs. We aim to deliver most orders within 48 hours thanks to our vast in-stock inventory. Call us at 615-722-4281 or contact us online, and one of our knowledgeable consultants will help you find the ideal solution for your warehouse storage needs.