If you loved stacking Legos as a kid, racking your warehouse should be right up your alley – particularly if you understand that the right type of storage system adds to a healthy bottom line. Your goal should be to make certain neither money nor space is wasted within the confines of your warehouse, which is why locating and choosing the right racking system – be it pallet-based or another configuration – is so critical. Understand the features and benefits of a well-designed racking system and then put your trust in a vendor with lots of experience undertaking projects like yours. Apply due diligence and you’ll wind up with exactly the system your business requires and no attack of buyer’s remorse once the job is done!
1. Assess your warehouse footprint to ascertain the amount of floor space that’s available for racking. Make certain the target area doesn’t interfere with operations like picking, packing, shipping, receiving and staff functions. Importantly, determine the optimal height of your racking system, based on ceiling dimensions and the ladder and/or forklift equipment systems you own or plan to purchase. Finally, measure aisle widths to decide whether your racking system requires a VNA (Very Narrow Aisle), WA (Wide Aisle) or custom configuration.
2. Research the Five Basic Racking Systems to determine the one that best suits your budget and floor space: 1) Bare bones, 2) Double Deeps that handle up to 33 percent more storage than average racking configurations, 3) “Push back” racking systems that stow SKUs five loads deep — giving you 75 percent more storage than standard units, 4) High-density drive-in storage units or 5) Double-Wide rigs considered the Cadillac of racking systems because they double storage capacity.
3. Put your racking system project out for bid . Never limit your search for a racking resource to just one. Obtain at least three proposals before choosing the firm that understands the importance of configuration types. Wine calls for one type of storage design while machine parts demand another. Produce adds an element of immediacy to your picking and packing tasks since veggies and fruit are fragile. Further, pickers need “unobstructed access” to reach heavy stock, so before you sign a contract, make sure your top pick gets these differences — especially if you warehouse a diverse mix of products.
4. Oversee the warehouse racking process so you’re able to report back to superiors about the project’s status. When creating progress reports, include notes on the installation of uprights and beams, flooring support, stairways and tiers as they’re put into place. Importantly, monitor stress tests and keep tabs on pathways and driveways to make certain your equipment has ample room to move around before stock is loaded onto the tiers or risk having to empty stacks to adjust access paths. At this point, you may wish to call in your superiors and give them an opportunity to see for themselves how the new system looks.
5. Put your racking system sales rep on speed dial. Just because the system is installed and your inventory is in place, that doesn’t mean your relationship with your rep has ended. Don’t hesitate to call during the first critical weeks following installation, as this is when you’ll spot glitches and problems that need immediate fixes. Your rep’s job is to make certain that you’re satisfied and have no regrets after handing over a nice chunk of change to configure your warehouse. Besides, if the new racking system increases productivity and adds to the bottom line, you may need his help with more racking sooner than expected.