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What Type Of Racking Does My Business Need?

Racking can appear to be the same across the board, but there are some major differences between types and purposes – one size fits all does not apply here. Choosing the correct pallet racking for your business is not only a business decision but an absolute priority for the health and safety of your employees working with the equipment.

So while identifying and choosing the right racking is more complex than you might think, with the proper professional guidance, you can be confident that you’ll get the most cost-effective, efficient and safe racking system for your warehouse.

Things to consider when choosing your racking

In this article, we look at the key choices and considerations you need to make when choosing racking systems to suit your specific needs.

The space available

It might seem obvious, but space and measurements can be and often are overlooked. These measurements must be taken stringently and consider height, surface area, and opportunities to maximise space as much as possible. For example, with ample vertical space, you can consider high pallet racking or mezzanine floors. If floor space is limited, very narrow aisle racking might be a good solution to keep workflow moving, and industrial shelving solutions are ideal for heavy items like archive files.

As such, your warehouse dimensions are a determining factor when choosing one storage system over another, and can be the difference between a high-functioning operation or not.

The type of goods you store

The size of goods and how they are packaged will dictate your racking decision, with pallet racking requiring forklift picking, or manual pick racking options. The latter may suit carton-flow rack systems, industrial shelving with partitioning systems, or even adjustable pallet racking systems with small-item adaptations.

From here you can then drill down further into product deterioration, stock rotation (which we will come to), and whether you need indoor or outdoor storage. Products range so broadly in size, from tiny medications needing fridge storage to XX-Large timbers, building materials and more that will be better suited to cantilever racking options and wide aisle racking.

Your stock rotation

As mentioned, perishable products that require stock rotation need special consideration. Some items need rotating faster than others, bottled drinks vs fresh food items or short date medication for example. Fashion and retail also require fast stock rotation to meet demands rather than the risk of product deterioration.

Carton-flow and First In First Out (FIFO) racking are ideal in this scenario as they require little manual input to restock, using gravity to do so, and they are excellent space optimisers allowing for multiple product lines to be packed and picked at once. The same is true with drive through compact racking or pallet shuttle racking systems, so understanding your supply, demand and workflow is critical to your choice here.

The traffic flow of your warehouse

Speaking of workflow, how will staff pick your products? You must consider movement around your warehouse when choosing racking, first and foremost for safety reasons and to create a productive process.

  • Do they need to use forklifts?
  • Will they manually pick products?
  • Is lifting equipment required?
  • Will they be working outside?

Working with the storage solution experts at Nene, together we can work out the best workflow for the warehouse before any nuts and bolts are fitted, ensuring safe access routes and productive flow at all times.

Racking requirements by sectors

Certain sector needs will dictate the most ideal racking for a warehouse.
Here we look at some of the major industries and the typical racking systems they use.

Retail

The product spectrum in retail is vast. Looking at fashion for example, you will need provisions for clothing, handbags, shoes and accessories, to name just a few. They need to be stored and cared for in a particular way, different to forklift picking or industrial items. We recommend hanging storage, secure cages for high-value items and wire mesh products as just some of the solutions specific to retail.

Find out more about racking for retail >

E-commerce

Online shopping shows no sign of slowing down, so warehouses must react accordingly to keep up with demand. With dense product storage, often with multiple stock lines at a time, racking needs to be efficient, utilise space and be able to adapt to changing demands in the market when necessary. Industrial shelving and our range of mesh products are just two of the excellent solutions to serve the e-commerce space.

Find out more about racking for ecommerce >

Builders Merchants

Heavy and oversized stock such as timber, slabs, aggregate and metal works are typically stored outside to save space inside for smaller items or those that cannot survive the elements. Galvanised cantilever racking is often a great choice for builders’ merchants thanks to its robustness and options for non-standard size items.

Find out more about racking for builders’ merchants >

Manufacturing & Production

This is large scale storage, enabling manufacturers to store palletised products five to seven stacks high, depending on the available height. Products are picked with forklifts and require space for manoeuvre, so wide-aisle racking and adjustable pallet-racking are a good place to start here.

Pharmaceutical

Medications can be dangerous, high-value and are often perishable. They are also typically small items, sometimes stored singularly but often in multiples to serve pharmacies and hospitals. Then there are fridge items to consider. Like fashion and retail, secure cages and wire mesh products are a must in pharmaceuticals, combined with fridges or cold storage options for specific medicines.

Not sure what racking you currently have?

We often receive enquiries for pallet racking but some customers don’t necessarily know what racking system they currently have. Take a look at the different types of racking on the link below to see what racking you currently have.

We supply and stock all of the major industry leaders in racking manufacturing, it’s hard to find a manufacturer that we don’t do.

View our Racking Identifier >

There is a lot to consider when choosing the appropriate racking solution, but doing so in-depth will keep your employees safe, protect your products, and enable you to implement a seamless, smooth-running process in your warehouse. It’s a big investment, but we are here to help and ensure you get the right equipment for your business. Contact us to learn more and speak to an expert.