Whether you are opening your first warehouse, or moving to a larger facility, finding the right racking system will be crucial to its success. Get it wrong and it can create all sorts of issues that affect the success of your operations.
Below we have outlined the most important criteria to pay attention to when selecting racking systems, so all of the key areas are covered.
Find the right budget
Not only do you have to consider the cost of the racking but also how much needs to be spent on installing it. It’s easy to be tempted by cheap prices but it needs to meet your requirements and last for years to come. Weight up all the pros and cons of the systems you are looking at rather than just the price.
Understand your storage needs
Certain types of racking systems are designed for use with particular types of product. Pallet racking systems will only hold pallets, while cantilever systems are suited for long, slim items. Look at the products you will be storing and search for racking that maximises space and is easy to use.
Every business aims to continue growing and expanding their operations. The racking system you buy today may not be suitable for your needs in 12-24 months. Keep this in mind while shopping around. Investing in modular racking systems will make it easier to expand in line with the growth of your business. This will allow you to react quickly to the higher demands being placed on your supply chain.
Maximise vertical space
Many warehouse operators think to expand outwards rather than upwards. Misuse of the space can lead to wasted time, energy and money. But installing systems such as high bay racking will allow you make the most of the vertical space in your facility. Rather than taking up valuable floor space with more racking, using the height of the building is one of the smartest investments you can make.
Utilise the floor room
No matter how large or small your storage space, the key to running an efficient warehouse operation is maximising what you have available. A balance has to be struck between the type of racking you need, the available floor space and how it will be accessed. One particular type of racking may not help you get the most out of the available space. Using a combination based on your products could increase the capacity by quite some distance.
It’s very rare that a business remains static, especially when it comes to the products being manufactured and stored. This means you will want a racking system that is responsive and can be adjusted where required. New packaging, or the discontinuation of product lines, usually mean the racking systems have to be altered in accordance. Some are easier to change than others, so consider this before making an investment.
Ease of installation
Many racking suppliers will also provide an installation service which most businesses tend to use. The costs involved with this must be factored into the budget. However, if you plan on assembling and installing the racking system yourself, get a clear idea on the task involved in doing so. Some systems, such as cantilever racking, is relatively quick and easy to assemble. But most racking requires specialist training and equipment to install them. Rather than cut corners, paying for them to be installed correctly could save a lot of problems in the long run.
Once installed, the racking system will pick up knocks and scrapes from other equipment such as pallet trucks, forklifts and pallets. It needs to be able to stand up to the daily routine of a warehouse environment to ensure you aren’t constantly paying out for repairs to damages that a robust system wouldn’t experience.
Products need to be stored well but it also has to be easy to access so the throughput can remain efficient, goods can be rotated and stock levels can be easily replenished. Access to the racking system is a fundamental part of any warehouse design. If the movement of stock is not as efficient as it could be, in most cases it will be because not enough access space has been provided.