Pallet racks are expensive warehouse components that require great care in their selection and maintenance. Their purchase and upkeep can be seen as an expense, or it can be viewed as a long-term warehouse investment.
Following proper deliberation in the selection phase, a warehouse can be left with improved storage capacity which increases overall efficiency and workflow. It can lead to greater warehouse value and more significant revenue. Additionally, a well-protected racking setup can resist damage and retain its value for longer.
The considerations discussed below apply to new warehouses devoid of racking and warehouse managers looking to modify, replace, or even add new racking into their warehouses. We’ll look at reasons to invest in industrial racking, considerations when investing, and how to keep that investment safe for the future.
Warehouse Storage Improvement with Industrial Racking Systems
Whether purchasing your first pallet racks or improving upon your current warehouse, the most evident return of investing in industrial racking systems is the increase in available storage.
Implementing racking systems takes advantage of the vertical space inside a warehouse. As opposed to being limited to the square footage of the warehouse floor, pallets of material can be held across multiple beam levels in a racking system.
Vertically stacking pallets directly on each other, as seen in Figure 1, poses stability risks and is advised against. On the other hand, racking systems provide a secure storage method for products and personnel safety while enabling individual access to each pallet.
Figure 1: Unsafe pallet stacking.
IncreasING Warehouse Productivity with Industrial Pallet Racking
Another return on investment one can expect from industrial pallet racking is an increase in warehouse efficiency and productivity   . The inventory increase from the extra storage can prove to be advantageous for a company.
In a production environment, this means that more raw materials are readily available or more room to store finished products. For a distribution center, more inventory means more items to sell. In this way, the increase in storage potential can correlate somewhat with an increase in potential for sales and revenue .
Figure 2: Double and triple-stacked pallets with difficult accessibility.
The expected amount of pallet movement, selectivity requirements, types of products being stored, and desirable storage density can vary depending on your industry . A pallet rack system can be tailored to the specific needs of a particular client in a distinct warehouse by adjusting height, depth, beam placement, and capacity .
Specialized systems like pallet flow, pushback, and drive-through racking can also offer other specific benefits that may be attractive. For more information on drive-in systems, please refer to our blog: “Parking Your Pallet at the Drive-in.”
This means that system placement, rack type, and configuration can be set up to optimize a warehouse flow. Easy access to pallets and a racking setup that facilitates material flow can reduce ongoing labor costs by saving time, ultimately leading to greater revenue .
Figure 3: Organized pallets with easy accessibility.
Enhancing Warehouse Property Value Through Quality Racking Investments
The fact that racking adds value to your warehouse property can be seen as a third form of return on investment . Racking systems are expensive, and the funds and care put into them are reflected in the value of your warehouse. Should you ever wish to sell or lease your facility, the presence and quality of your racking would factor into the appraisal .
However, suppose the racking is in a poor state. In that case, a buyer or even a capital lender may be dissuaded by the risk it presents and the fact that “removing a non-viable racking system can prove cost prohibitive in time and labor” . In this way, there is an incentive to buy high-quality warehouse racking and to protect/repair the racks over the long term.
Navigating the Maze of Industrial Racking: COST-BENEFIT Analysis
With the motivating reasons established, we can delve into the important considerations when investing in industrial racking. After all, there is a multitude of rack manufacturers, rack types, and price points.
Choosing the right racking to meet your storage, budget, and operational needs can be quite a challenge. This decision holds significant importance, particularly because selecting the wrong racking system “could have a detrimental effect, by slowing down or hampering the smooth-running of your warehouse” .
Used INDUSTRIAL Racking
One attractive option for individuals needing storage solutions is used racking since the upfront costs are reduced. There are several risks to consider, however, as discussed in “Your Guide to Buying Used Racks Safely: 5 Tips to Follow.”
One of the main takeaways is that pallet racks are tailored to specific clients and their environments. What was optimal under certain conditions might not be so in another warehouse, and you may miss out on certain benefits. It may be that used racking is your best solution, but these factors need to be considered for a long-term investment.
Long-term Costs: Beyond the Initial Investment
Apart from the upfront cost, future costs are an essential factor. Certain manufacturers are better positioned to provide new parts, replacements, or additional services than others .
While one company may offer a better initial deal, future servicing may come at a premium with a longer lead time, ultimately making another vendor the wiser choice when considering a larger scope of time .
Quality and DurabLE INDUSTRIAL RACKING SOLUTIONS
Some racks are built with tougher or thicker materials and additional protection features, making them more damage-resistant than others . The extra toughness of high-quality warehouse racking comes at a price, but the improved safety and expected longevity can offset the cost.
WAREHOUSE RACK Adaptability: FUTURE-PROOFING YOUR STORAGE SOLUTIONS
Yet another factor to consider when selecting the racking systems is flexibility. It doesn’t refer to a material property but rather that the racking should satisfy your immediate storage needs while also being readily adaptable to future ones.
As a warehouse space is modified or operational requirements change, so must the racking to keep up with new opportunities or demands . This means that racking systems that can be easily expanded or adjusted are beneficial.
Rack-type compatibility plays into this. Certain types of racking can potentially work together, even if they are from different manufacturers. If one manufacturer’s product works solely on their own devices, you could lose out on purchasing flexibility in the future. Additionally, replacement or additional parts will become scarce if that manufacturer goes out of business.
A manufacturer should always be contacted to verify the compatibility of components before mixing. Also, remember, when adapting racking systems to meet new needs, that any modification to an existing system requires approval and certification by a racking engineer.
For more information, please refer to “Pallet Racking Weight Capacity: Why Warehouse Operators Need LARCs.”
Figure 4: Racking systems with a combination of components from different manufacturers.
Protecting Your Racking Investment
Even the most robust racking can become damaged over time and mishandling. While there can be many sources of damage to pallet racks, impacts with forklifts are one of the most common causes .
Costly repairs from such damages can be avoided by adding protective features to your racking systems . Various products exist on the market, such as column guards that protect from low-level impacts. Guide rails can be installed in aisles to help guide forklifts, and barriers can be installed at the ends of aisles where forklifts often impact racking as they turn in.
Figure 5: Column guards installed onto a system.
Another way to safeguard your warehouse investment is by assigning experienced crews to install your racking systems and professional lift drivers to work around them once installed. A poorly installed pallet rack may not align with codes and standards. It may even be a safety concern that could lead to pricey adjustments and a loss of valuable time in the future.
Lastly, regular inspections are recommended to ensure everything is in order and that damage or safety concerns are correctly identified. For more information on rack inspections, please refer to our blog “5 Tips on How to Inspect Racking Systems.”
Optimizing Efficiency, Revenue, and Safety: The Smart Choice for Quality Racking Investment
To conclude, quality racking that was tailored to the operational requirements of the company and facility will last long while improving overall workflow in the warehouse. The additional storage creates new revenue opportunities while the efficiency increase saves valuable time and money. The investment in maintaining these racking systems adds value to the warehouse property and keeps the environment safe for employees.
Choosing what type of racking to invest in can be challenging, but by balancing various considerations, an informed decision can be made that suits your current needs while accommodating the potential for future ones.
Additional safety features can help protect your racking, making your investment last even longer. If you are interested in devices to protect your valued assets or want to assess the state of your current racking, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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