The installation of shelving and racking in a warehouse can be a time-consuming, costly process if it is not planned adequately. Your shelving and racking requirements need to be carefully and comprehensively assessed – improperly thought-out decisions can have negative effects on workflow and productivity, with knock-on financial consequences. In this article, we discuss the importance of planning for shelving and racking requirements, highlighting a few key points.
Shelving and racking cannot be ordered and installed in a haphazard manner; as a warehouse manager, one needs to be strategic about these things. Firstly, detailed measurements need to be taken in the warehouse. Floor to ceiling heights and other dimensions should be recorded. Once you know the available space you have to work with, it is easier to maximise it. Incorrect measurements can result in the racking and shelving systems you order not fitting – a problem that is not easy to fix.
Once measurements have been done, you can make decisions about the quantity and types of racking and shelving solutions that are needed in your warehouse. Will you need a bit extra to allow room for the expansion of your operations? How much do you need for maximum efficiency when it comes to stock storage and movement?
There are many different types of racking and shelving. Some of the most popular racks include pallet flow racks, carton flow racks, push-back pallet racks, cantiliver racks and mezzanine racks (or even entire levels). Shelving is commonly sold in rivet, steel, wire, bulk and mobile aisle forms. The different types carry different price tags – so it is important to know exactly what you need, and in what combinations, before purchasing anything.
When looking at your shelving and racking requirements, it is also important to look at your stock movement. You need to get a storage system in place that works to streamline your operations. It is always a good idea to place fast-moving stock near the loading bay, slower-moving stock further away, and heavier goods on lower shelves. You can’t have your warehouse staff walking all over the show to get and move goods – this is where planning can save time and money. Access routes for both workers and loading vehicles need to be planned and managed. They must not be too narrow or wide, as both can impact efficiency.
Another key motivating factor for careful planning of shelving and racking requirements is the need to consider the positions of doors, vents, pipes, drains, sprinkler systems and power sockets in the warehouse. You need to ensure that these aren’t blocked or otherwise have their functions compromised. In addition, it may be necessary to obtain building permits from the local authorities before installing any racking and shelving solutions.
It is also necessary to consider whether new or second-hand shelving and racking systems will better meet your needs. This can significantly affect your costs.
The best way to ensure adequate planning for the racking and shelving requirements of your warehouse is to talk to a reputable, experienced shelving specialist. They will be able to help you with the process from start to finish, providing expert advice and insights.