Warehouses are generally very busy environments. There may be lots of workers attempting to retrieve and move inventory, as well as forklifts being used for the same purpose. Because of this abundance of activity, warehouse space can run short, and workers may struggle to even reach inventory, let alone move it in or out. Furthermore, the risk of injury to workers, as well as boxed inventory, is greatly increased because of the density of warehouse work. A worker who is seriously injured can lead to loss of warehouse productivity, increased insurance costs, and a general decline in worker morale. Inventory can also be damaged through inefficient warehouse operations, driving up costs and affecting customer relations. These are some of the best reasons for correct use of a warehouse pallet rack shelving system.
A pallet rack is an inventory handling system built for the storage of inventory on horizontal pallets. Those pallets are also commonly called skids. A pallet is a horizontal row of shelving used for storage. Racks generally provide for storage of items in horizontal rows with numerous levels. Forklifts are ordinarily a necessary part of a pallet rack system as they are needed to efficiently place heavy items onto racks. Wikipedia says that beginning after the Second World War, pallet racks grew to become an essential part of most warehouses and large-scale storage and distribution facilities. The article goes on to indicate that warehouse space has become limited, and warehouse operators look to use every square inch of available space. Without the use of rack shelving, vertical space can go unused and this can lead to the loss of much available space.
There is a difference between shelf storage and rack storage, though both are used in warehouses to suit different purposes. A shelf is the most basic type of storage, and is generally used to hold smaller items. Goods are often placed on shelves and retrieved from shelves by hand, like with pharmaceuticals for instance. There will be no need for a forklift with shelf storage. Rack storage is used for larger and heavier items, including boxed items and metal items. Machines, including forklifts and cherry pickers, are used for managing rack storage. Because of the use of equipment, racks are not limited to the size or strength of warehouse workers. Many warehouses are limited to either shelves or racks, although some combine both, with specific areas devoted to each. Speaking specifically of pallet rack storage, the question is asked what particular benefits result from use of pallet rack shelving.
There are four clear benefits to use of pallet rack shelving in warehouses.
1- Use of Space
One advantage to using pallet rack shelving in a warehouse is that it makes more efficient use of warehouse space. For many warehouses, maximizing use of space leads to more efficient operations and enhanced profit. With pallet rack shelving, vertical space can be used for storage with forklifts being able to reach up to pallets above. Forklifts can readily move up and down in a warehouse.
Pallet rack systems today are designed to resist impact, including collisions with forklifts and trucks. Pallet racks are resistant to normal wear-and-tear that happens daily in warehouses. Pallet racks can also be repaired if damaged. So long as they are built with top quality steel, pallet racks can be repaired in case of damage.
Pallet rack safety is a critical concern in warehouse operations. Every year, warehouse workers are injured and killed. Workers should be instructed as follows:
- Never climb on racks.
- Do not overload racks beyond maximum capacity.
- Avoid hitting racks with forklifts or pallet jacks.
- Always load freight properly.
- Inspect racks frequently for damage and wear.
Even though the initial cost of installing a pallet rack system in a warehouse can be quite high, over the life of the system they become inexpensive. With a variety of styles, either new or used shelf rack equipment will prove affordable. Prevention of damage to stored goods from a shelf rack system makes the cost completely justifiable.
There are many benefits to pallet rack shelving for modern warehouses. So long as risks and features are understood and properly managed, a warehouse will likely gain benefit from their use. To learn more, search Google for reasons to use warehouse pallet rack shelving. Many good resources will appear, being both positive and negative.