Pallet racks are an integral part of most modern warehouses. Moving stock on pallets, with the aid of a forklift truck, is easier than moving it as individual items, therefore it is a cost effective way of handling bulk quantities of goods. Another advantage is that it provides multiple levels of storage, enabling you to make the most of the vertical space in your warehouse.
There are a number of different types of pallet racking systems, and the one you choose will depend on the nature of your business. Possibly the most important considerations are your stock flow and the number of stock keeping units (SKUs) your business handles. Businesses which keep a large variety of stock usually use selective pallet racking (SPR) because this system gives them access to all pallets at all times. SPR is simple to install, infinitely adjustable and easy to customise. However, SPR requires warehouses to have multiple aisles, so does not offer the same storage density as some other systems. Narrow aisle and double deep racking provides more storage per cubic metre than SPR, but will not be appropriate for every situation. Double deep systems allow for rapid dispatch of large, single SKU orders, while drive-in systems provide easy pallet access in warehouses that stock large quantities of just a few different SKUs. SPR, narrow aisle, double deep and drive-in pallet racking systems are generally static (i.e. a forklift must be used every time a pallet is moved).
Dynamic storage systems such as pallet flow and pushback pallet racking are becoming increasingly popular. In these systems the racks are on an incline and pallet movement is facilitated by gravity. Pallet flow systems are particularly labour efficient because they require minimal use of forklifts. Both pallet flow and pushback racking systems provide automatic "first-in, first-out" (FIFO) product rotation and give higher density storage than SPR. Such systems make it easy for large-scale manufacturers to manage inventory. Pushback pallet racking is particularly suitable for frozen food storage because it gives excellent pallet access while conserving valuable freezer space.
If your business does a lot of seasonal trade you may find there is pressure on your warehouse space at certain times of the year. You could accommodate more stock by switching to a higher density storage system, or you could invest in a weatherproof outdoor racking unit. These units, with their durable PVC covers, are a new concept in warehouse storage, allowing you to increase capacity without extending your premises.
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