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Read these 4-steps to help determine your ideal material handling system

Whether your operation requires only one type of pallet racking or a complex pick module, this guide will help you sort through the options.

1. Assess your inventory to determine which type(s) of racking suites it best.

To maximize product flow, the type, density and selectivity should align with inventory control and picking practices. In order to maximize the benefits of your warehouse, you must understand the characteristics of all the products that are to be stored.

Things to assess:

  • SKU dimensions, weights, number of items per inner pack, number of inner packs in master case.
  • Pallet sizes (L x W x H), weight, and quality.
  • SKU velocity (average and peak volumes).
  • On-hand inventory requirements.
  • Order and picking profiles.
  • Product shelf life.

2. Determine if integrating more than one type of racking, i.e. a pick module, is beneficial to your operation. Decide the best configuration of all types being used, for both now and any future expansion of the system.

A pick module is designed to advance the efficiency of product flow by reducing walking/equipment travel time. The racking system in a pick module typically falls into one of two categories: dynamic and static. In a pick module, static racking works harmoniously with dynamic racking by housing overflow of products and replenishing the dynamic racking when needed. A pick module can consist of one or multiple levels and can be designed in a number of configurations.

Things to assess:

  • How many SKUs will be stored?
  • How big are the products? Do they vary in size?
  • Is a SKU typically ordered at the each, inner pack, master case, or pallet level? Are they picked and shipped in the same manner?
  • Will the products be moved via material handling equipment, hand-picked, or a combination?
  • Do you want to implement multiple picking levels, now or in the future?

3. Determine if adding automation to your pick module will be beneficial to your operation.

Adding automation to your distribution center can reduce handling costs, increase throughput, and ultimately increase profits. There are many automation technologies available, two common ones to consider are conveyors and pallet shuttles.

Things to assess:

  • Do you have repetitive tasks that are hindering workers from completing order fulfillment?
  • Are your workers spending a lot of time driving equipment into a rack system to retrieve product?
  • Do your shipments require a lot of piece-picking?
  • Do your workers spend a considerable amount of time sorting products?

4. Conclude where various operations will take place.

From the point you receive merchandise to the point it’s shipped to the customer, it is important to think about the most efficient way to direct product flow. Three layouts to consider are U-shaped, I-shaped, and L-shaped. Features include:

U-shaped Layouts

  • Most common
  • Shipping and receiving docks are located next to each other.
  • Offers shared utilization of dock resources (personnel, equipment)
  • High cross-docking capability, minimizing product handling.

L-shaped and I-shaped Layouts (also known as through flow)

  • Shipping and receiving docks are located on different sides of building.
  • Provide heightened security due to the separate "in" and "out" areas.
  • Typically provide larger sorting and staging areas for shipping and receiving.
  • Provide isolated monitoring of shipping and receiving areas.

Now that you have a better idea of what your ideal material handling system should look like, we'd appreciate the opportunity to help you with the next step in implementing it, whether that be more information or a quote request.

Fill in the 'Submit an Inquiry' form to give us a better idea of your needs, and we'll contact you to help with any further questions or requirements you have.

More about REB

REB Storage Systems is considered in the material handling industry as an integrator, meaning we manage your project from conception to completion.

First, we present you with various storage solutions to advance the efficiency of your warehouse. Once this is finalized, we make it all come together by arranging deliveries, providing a professional installation, and conducting a final walk through with your team and, if required, the Village Inspector.

For more than 55 years, REB has handled every aspect of racking systems for some of the world's most successful companies. We hope that you will invite us to help you.

“We have been a customer for over 15 years. REB offers a good selection of products at great prices. They are an excellent source of materials along with suggestions and information on a variety of storage issues.”

Brian Dubin, All Products Automotive, Inc

“REB is by far my favorite vendor, the customer service and dedication to making sure every order is complete and on time. Fantastic communication, and an absolute pleasure to work with.”

Bruce Moulton, Harrington Industrial Plastics

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