In order to efficiently move products from the time they are delivered to the warehouse until they are to be delivered to each store, you have to use the right type of storage system. Since products are usually delivered on pallets, the storage system should allow you to move them quickly and efficiently with a forklift, until each pallet is broken down to fulfil orders for your stores. There are five types of pallet storage systems used in warehouses.
Floor Stacking System
Stacking pallets on the floor is a basic storage system for warehouses. The pallets are generally placed in rows as deep as the floor space allows, as long as they are accessible by forklift or until the pallets are broken down by hand. With this storage system, there is a minimal investment in equipment. It is usually a ‘last in, first out,’ or LIFO, system.
Select Pallet Racking
This is the most common type of pallet system used in warehouses. It consists of using uprights and cross beams to create makeshift shelves for storing pallets. These systems usually have multiple shelves depending on the height of each pallet and the ceiling height. This system allows for better access to pallets and it can either be a LIFO system or a ‘first in, first out,’ or FIFO, system.
Instead of storing pallets on cross beams, this warehouse racking system has them resting on side rails so the front of each bay is open. This allows forklifts to enter the bay to pick up or drop off pallets. Depending on the setup, the forklift may be able to continue to drive through the bay instead of having to back up. This type of racking system allows for high storage density, but forklifts may damage the racks as they pick up or drop off pallets.
Flow Racking System
This type of system is created by putting together cross beams and uprights to hold a gravity roller conveyor inside the racks. The conveyor is pitched slightly so that when a pallet is removed, the next one rolls forward. This is always a FIFO system, and it allows for a larger number of pallets to be stored than any other racking system.
Push Back Racking
This is similar to a flow racking system, but the pallets are loaded and unloaded from the front of the bay. The pallets are either loaded into nested carts or on a gravity roller system, so when the pallets are loaded, they are pushed back into the lane. The main advantage to this system is that it only requires one aisle for loading and unloading pallets.
Depending on the racking system used in your warehouse, you can keep your investment in equipment to a minimum to save money. However, your system has to work efficiently, so orders can be put together for your stores quickly and can be delivered on time. A racking design consultant can help you determine the correct storage system for your warehouse.