We’ve never met a warehouse manager who hasn’t been stressed about storage systems at some point – it seems to go with the territory. Finding the most cost-efficient ways to optimise the use of workspace is an ongoing challenge in this field; there are as many storage systems as there are opinions on which is best. Pallet racking remains one of the most popular ways of organising stock; sturdy and supporting the smooth movement of goods in day-to-day operations, it often functions as the skeleton of a warehouse. However, growing interest in mezzanine flooring has given managers cause for pause, as they wonder which solution is superior. Here, we compare the two: let’s take a look at pallet racking versus mezzanine.
There is a wide range of pallet racking on the market, with various sizes and configurations available to suit the requirements of different operations and stock moving equipment (forklifts and reach trucks). One of the most common types is selective pallet racking, which can form part of a deep reach or narrow aisle racking system, with goods arranged in a First In, First Out (FIFO) or Last Out, First Out (LIFO) set-up. Other types include drive-in, drive-through, push-back and gravity flow racking. Pallet racking alone might not fully meet your needs; you may want to add shelving or storage bins. It can also take up quite large amounts of floor space.
These raised platforms form a kind of intermediate floor, allowing you to utilise what would otherwise be dead vertical space. Mezzanines are a very affordable means of opening up extra storage space, and can be used in a number of ways. For example, they can form additional office space, or you can install workbenches and have them be used for stock handling. They can also be turned into staff break rooms or retail space, and – of course – can be used to store stock and equipment. Mezzanine floors are generally constructed from steel, and are able to hold heavy load weights. They are not seen as permanent structures, which usually negates the need for prior planning permission. They are easy and quick to install, take down and move, should that become necessary.
An integrated solution
In the pallet racking vs. mezzanine debate, the winner is not one or the other, but an integration of the two storage solutions. Both can be used for maximum efficiency. Pallet racking can be used to support a type of mezzanine (sometimes called a catwalk system or catwalk mezzanine); this is an economical combination, although the mezzanine is not always as heavy-duty as other versions when it comes to load capacity. Mezzanines can also be installed separately to pallet racking, with shelving and other racks then added below. Most warehouses rely on mixed storage methods. Mezzanines should be considered as an effective way to increase storage capacity without having to move to new or bigger premises.
For more information about pallet racking and mezzanines, and to assess the optimal solution for your storage needs, contact one of our consultants today.