24 May 2013
If you are considering installing new shelving in your warehouse or replacing existing shelving to make it more practical, taking the time to consider the long-term implications of your warehouse racking system can increase efficiency and reduce long-term costs.
The first thing to consider is your storage density. Deep-lane storage opportunities — such as double-deep, drive-in, drive-though, pallet-flow and push-back racks — can make your warehouse more versatile and profitable. Obviously, if you need continual access to every pallet in our facility at all times, deep-lane storage is not the best option. But if you don’t require 100% selectivity, it usually will pay off in the long run.
FIFO or LIFO?
Before making a storage density decision, you need to consider whether your warehouse is Last-In First-Out (LIFO), or First-In First-Out (FIFO). FIFO operations do better with pallet flow racks while LIFO lends itself to deep-lane storage. If you use buried loads in a LIFO operation, you could be unnecessarily increasing your material handling labor cost.
Another thing to consider is your picking profile. Are your typical orders primarily picking pallets, cases or pieces? Do you pick from bulk to replenish a forward pick zone? How you configure your warehouse racking will be a function of your most common picking profiles. While most setups are not 100% efficient, by building your flow to your most common picking profiles, you can optimize your efficiency the greatest number of times.
Consider Forklift Maneuverability
When building your racking, it’s important to consider the forklift access. Build a minimum of 6 to 12 inches into the “right angle” stacking aisle requirement provided by the vehicle’s manufacturer so that you always have room to maneuver. This will cut down on the time it takes to fill orders, saving you money on labor and equipment expenses and cutting down on potential accidents, injuries and lost product.
Rack decking is also important. Just because you use a certain type of pallet now doesn’t mean you will be using that same style a few months or years from now. Bottom board and fork pocket location can impact the safety of both the product and the driver. If you don’t incorporate the appropriate rack components such as pallet support and decking now, you are only going to have to invest more later.
Don’t Forget the Lighting
Another thing to consider is your lighting scheme. When you change your warehouse racking, are your employees still going to be able to see clearly in the places where they are working?
A little pre-planning and mapping out your warehouse racking upgrade can improve operations, saving you money and time in the long run. When you are ready to reconfigure your warehouse racking, Bahrns offers a complete supply of all kinds of shelving, racking and support structures to make your warehouse as efficient as possible.