An efficient warehouse racking system can completely transform your inventory management process. Whether you’re starting from scratch or you’re looking to revamp yours, the design you choose matters.

The ideal system is one that allows employees to easily navigate your space and find what they need in a timely manner. Thankfully, you can optimize yours with a few key touches. 

Today, we’re sharing our top tips to help you get the most out of your racking system, starting today.

1. Take the Time to Plan

When it comes to warehouse racking, one of the biggest mistakes that companies make is rushing in and adding components without forethought. 

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all design that will work for every business. To optimize yours, think about the products you sell and the end customers you sell to, as well as your general order flow. Then, find a material handling company that can work within those parameters to suggest the right products for your needs. 

Without this step, it’s easy to invest in pallet racking that you don’t need. Or, you may underestimate the amount of gear that your warehouse requires. As you plan, a few of the main considerations to keep in mind include:

  • Receiving and shipping locations
  • Material staging locations
  • Key office areas to design around
  • Pallet racking access type

You should know the layout of your warehouse like the back of your hand. If not, you may start adding racking and congest the space. This can make it cumbersome and even dangerous for employees to move around. 

It’s best to work with a professional from the beginning, such as the team at Warehouse Shelving Design & Engineering. This way, you can rest assured that every aspect of your warehouse design meets your organizational goals and expectations. 

2. Consider Material Density

In addition to the quantity and type of material you have, don’t forget to account for its density, too. If you deal with products that are especially bulky, then you’ll need a rack design that maximizes your storage space while accommodating for the extra volume.

This is where deep-lane storage solutions can come in handy. Speak to your handling company about the following forms of racking:

  • Drive-through
  • Drive-in
  • Push-back
  • Cantilever

All of these are designed to help you utilize the space available without cramming your items together. They’re heavy-duty and high-capacity, which makes them ideal for many different warehouse layouts. 

3. Distinguish Between High-Flow and Low-Flow Inventory

Within your company, high-flow products are those that tend to move in and out of your warehouse on a routine basis. They might not be a large portion of your inventory, but they likely comprise a bulk of your sales volume. 

Then, there are products that are considered low-flow. These tend to stay on the rack for a longer period of time. 

If possible, consider implementing different racking solutions to distinguish between these two types of inventory. For instance, you may deploy a high-tech automated warehouse racking system in your high-flow areas, featuring sophisticated retrieval systems.

Then, you may stick to manual processes in parts of the warehouse that your company deems as low-flow. Workers won’t be moving these products around as much, and you might not need an automatic racking system here. This can help you save money and preserve resources as you revamp your design.

4. Understand FIFO vs LIFO

As you browse industrial warehouse racking systems, you’ll need to understand two common acronyms: FIFO and LIFO. The former stands for First In/First Out while the latter means Last In/First Out. These define the way you store and retrieve the products that you store in your warehouse.

While most companies prefer a FIFO arrangement, there are some that utilize LIFO. With LIFO, your employees have first access to the last items you placed in the rack. A few examples of these types of setups include:

  • Double deep racking
  • Drive-in racking
  • Pushback racking
  • Floor storage

A LIFO solution is fine if your goods are non-perishable and the order in which you retrieve them does not matter as much. On the other hand, a FIFO setup grants employees first access to the first (or oldest) item they added to their rack. These layouts are preferable when you’re dealing with perishable goods, such as food, medicine, or cosmetics.

The longer an item sits on the shelf, the closer to perishing it becomes. As such, you want to access the oldest products first, and then work backward from there. Examples of FIFO racking systems include:

  • Live pallet racking
  • Drive-through racking
  • Carton flow racking

Ensure that the racking system you select will help maximize productivity within your organization. 

5. Brainstorm Vertical Rack Systems

Before you begin shopping for the best warehouse racking systems, look up. Is there vertical space inside of your warehouse that you’re not using to its full potential? It can be expensive to build outward, but it’s most cost-effective to go vertical.

You can arrange vertical racks to allow quick access to high-demand products that you need to keep in view. At the same time, you can also keep lesser-needed, more valuable items higher off the ground. 

As you plan any type of new racking system, vertical add-ons included, be sure to plan around forklift access. The best-designed pallets could be rendered useless if your employees cannot access all of the products they contain. 

Find the Best Warehouse Racking System Today

The right warehouse racking system can make all the difference in your company’s efficiency and productivity. It can also improve customer service levels and lead to quicker delivery times. 

Work with your team members to conceptualize the ideal solution for your needs. Rather than take a page from your competitor’s playbook, keep in mind that your inventory management system is unique. The right designer will be able to help you choose components that make the best use of the space from the ground up.

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