There are a number of warehouse storage solutions out there, and while a couple of these may ‘work’ for your operation, there’s likely one that is the most beneficial. Identifying and utilizing this ideal storage solution will ensure optimized density and selectivity, increasing efficiency and ultimately profits.
Racking vs. Shelving
There are various types of both racking and shelving solutions that can be integrated into your warehouse. When deciding on what warehouse storage solution would optimize your operation, answer the following questions:
- How big is my facility? How high do I want to store?
- How many different type of products will be stored?
- How big are the products? What are the shapes of the products? Do they vary? Are items the same?
- What are my product flow requirements? Will the products be moved via material handling equipment?
- Will the warehouse need to be climate controlled (freezer, cooler, etc.)?
For storing large, bulky, or heavy items or for areas with high product circulation that require material handling equipment such as forklifts, racking will be most effective and efficient. Racking is heavier-duty than shelving and is also the best option for storage in freezers and coolers. If you plan on having catwalks integrated in your storage system, racking will also be best.
Shelving is a lighter-duty storage application. Shelving solutions provide an economical option that can be utilized for small parts storage or smaller storage applications including offices and retail stores. Often, shelving can provide a denser storage capacity than racking because of the size and quantity of the components as well as the numerous options of shelf adjustment increments available.
Now that you’ve identified if racking or shelving is right for you, what’s next?
There are a number of options available within the categories of racking and shelving. The next step is to identify which of these is right for you.
Pallet racking can be categorized as either a first-in, first-out solution or a last-in, first-out solution.
First-in, first-out (FIFO) storage means items added first will be removed first, providing direct access to each product being stored. FIFO warehouse storage systems are ideal for perishable items or items with continuous circulation because it ensures they can be turned over effectively. FIFO rack systems include selective pallet rack, drive-through rack, carton flow rack and pallet flow rack.
Last-in, first-out (LIFO) storage means the last items stored would be the first to be picked. This inventory management style is most often used for goods with a long shelf life or items held in large quantities. Double deep selective pallet rack, drive-in rack and push back rack are LIFO warehouse storage solutions.
Our video, Comparing Pallet Racking Types, explains further the differences between each type of pallet rack. If you’d like to ask one of our experts, fill in the contact form on this page.
Often, more than one type of pallet racking is ideal for different processes within an overall operation. In this case, a pick module can be implemented. A pick module integrates various types of racking to optimize the flow of orders. For more information on pick modules, this video should be helpful.
Shelving is an ideal warehouse storage solution for small parts storage, like nuts and bolts, or backroom and picking applications. Shelving units are available in a multitude of sizes and load capacities. Shelving options offer an easy reconfiguration of storage spaces and can be outfitted with bins for a variety of applications.
Rivet, or boltless, shelving is easily assembled due to its teardrop and pin connectors and is extremely versatile. This storage option can accommodate small parts to larger, heavier items. Rivet shelving can be integrated into a multi-level storage solution, such as a mezzanine system.
Gravity flow is a first-in, first-out shelving solution. Gravity flow shelving features inclined shelves that allow products to glide from the back-loading area to the front picking area. This shelving option is ideal for retail, small parts storage or items with expiration dates.
A durable storage option for stockrooms and distribution centers is steel shelving. Steel shelving units can be designed with basic shelves or include bins, drawers or dividers. Multi-level steel shelving systems are typically designed with two or three levels and are an ideal way to maximize vertical storage space.
Wire shelving is ideal for storage of items that require more air circulation, such as food and electronics. With storage capacities of 600-800 lbs., wire shelving is suitable for heavy-duty applications and is available in chrome, stainless steel, and epoxy coated.
Looking for a warehouse storage solution that works for your industry?
At REB Storage Systems International, we carry industrial racking and shelving from a variety of manufacturers, giving us the flexibility to choose suppliers based on the demands of your project including pricing and lead time. This combined with our in-house engineering and project management expertise allows us to provide you with your specific warehouse storage solution. REB works with multiple industries to optimize their storage operations, and we would love the opportunity to help with yours.
To learn more or get help with a project, fill in the Request A Quote form or call (800) 252-5955. Whether your project is large or small, we have the expertise to ensure your next project is a success.