Pallet racking is possibly the method of storage used most widely in warehousing and distribution centres. It is versatile, cost effective and easy to fit, so perfect for warehousing operations of all sizes.
However, there are a number of common pallet racking mistakes that companies often make when purchasing and using pallet racking. These can impact on profit, efficiency and safety. Here are some key things to consider when planning your pallet racking system to ensure that you don’t make costly errors with its purchase and use.
Possibly the biggest and most detrimental mistake you can make (to your wallet) with your pallet racking is not considering all of your options; not only what type but also what age.
Many people overlook second-hand pallet racking when kitting out their warehouse. Our used pallet racking is of excellent quality and must pass certain expectations before we are prepared to sell it to our customers, meaning it’s all just as good for your storage solutions as it is brand new. Choosing second-hand pallet racking can mean great savings – a large warehouse is costly to equip if you chose brand new pallet racking. Just because something has had a previous owner, doesn’t mean it’s any less functional or fit for purpose.
When looking to invest in pallet racking, you need to ensure you pick the right type for you. At Pallet Racking Systems Ltd, we offer a whole host of different used pallet racking solutions, and a custom design service to guarantee you get the perfect fit for your needs. Different types of pallet racking serve different needs – for example, if you have limited floor space, a mezzanine floor could be the answer for you, but for someone who needs to stack their pallet racking, it’s not the right option. Similarly, if your products move quickly in and out of the warehouse, then a dynamic system is a great option, but if you need your pallet racking to hold heavy loads, a cantilever system may be more suitable. There really is a perfect pallet racking system for everyone, and at Pallet Racking Systems Ltd, we’re here to ensure all your needs are met.
Additionally, you need to consider your budget. Going with the cheapest option is not the best choice – this will inevitably mean you’re not maximising your warehouse space. Consider pallet racking as an investment that will just keep on giving, and make sure your budget reflects this.
In business it is always important to keep one eye on the future. This is especially prudent in warehousing where things can change at a rapid rate. When planning your warehouse you need to take into account your future business needs and allow for expansion and change. This includes being able to make efficient use of the available space both now and in the future.
Space is of a premium in warehousing so it is important to consider the space available to you. So, think of your building’s volume not just the available floor space. Think ‘up’!
You can create a taller pallet racking system that will make use of otherwise dead space or even consider adding mezzanine flooring for future expansions.
It is also important to think of the movement around your warehouse space. Often businesses add more racking to increase storage without considering ‘flow’. This can seriously hamper the productivity of your warehouse and reduce the efficiency and profitability of your processes.
Investing in a universal or adjustable racking system will allow your storage to be highly flexible in case of future expansion and growth. It is worth considering the type of racking you need carefully and not simply opting for the cheapest option.
Warehouses are under pressure to reduce costs and increase productivity. Sometimes when cost efficiencies are so highly desired it is possible to make decisions that save money in the short term but create larger capital spends in the future. Often businesses purchase the cheapest pallet racking system they can find, believing that all systems are the same.
As with all products there are different qualities available. It is worth investing in the best quality system that you can afford. This will reduce maintenance and repair costs and will ensure that you do not have to replace the system sooner than expected.
Having said this, it is also important to remember that you do not necessarily need to buy new pallet racking. Good quality used pallet racking is readily available in excellent condition and offers great value for money.
Once you have purchased your pallet racking system it is important to maintain it. Ignoring minor repairs can lead to expensive bills in the future.
A common problem in pallet racking is that companies buy the pallet racking that they need right now, rather than what they will need in the future. To maximise your pallet racking, you need to plan for the future and cover all bases, preparing for more stock, a quicker turnaround and new products. With accurate planning, you’ll inevitably be paying for storage that you won’t be using efficiently in the short term, but it also means you’ll be able to avoid the need to rely on temporary storage and evade limiting your efficiency in the future. When thinking about this, you need to see your pallet racking as an investment that will suit your growing business not just now, but in the future too.
To make the most of your pallet racking, it is a good idea to be prepared to spend money on new equipment to make the most of your pallet racking, and budget accordingly when investing. As most warehouses have forklifts for existing storage, it’s likely you’ll be ready for most types of pallet racking, but some types do require specialist machines, such as narrow aisle pallet racking. Researching specific types of pallet racking that meet your requirements before you commit to buying will ensure you’re fully equipped and means that when you find the right pallet racking solution for you, there are no surprise extra costs for machinery.
Safety is paramount in warehousing. Pallet racking systems are safe and efficient if properly maintained.
However, it is easy to become distracted when business is booming and to forget or not have time to fit in regular pallet racking inspections, staff training or to be tempted to overload the racking.
The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 states that pallet racking ‘must be maintained and inspected on a regular basis’. Any damaged pallet racking must be repaired as soon as possible as its load bearing capacity will be compromised and it may become dangerous.
It is also important to ensure that your staff’s forklift training does not lapse. A number of pallet racking collapses each year are caused by forklift trucks repeatedly bumping into the racking and weakening it. If small damage is not reported and dealt with, weaknesses in the structure caused by the damage could cause a catastrophic collapse.
Load capacities should never be estimated. The weights and capacities of any pallet racking system are finite and any deviation will undermine safety.
Finally, the most important element of safety is staff training. Staff must be informed not to climb on, overload, or load pallet racking in an incorrect or unsafe way.