Warehouse organization is critical for enterprises holding a lot of inventory. Proper utilization of storage spaces maintains visibility and efficiency of loading and unloading goods. Therefore, warehouses must identify ways to store, organize and access SKUs. Since floor space may not be enough for thousands of goods, building vertical warehouse storage is a growing trend.
Shelving and racking are the primarily used options because they are compatible with various loads in storage. However, these two solutions differ greatly, and we must understand how these distinctions could impact operations. Here is a guide detailing shelving and racking for warehouse managers to make informed decisions.
What is Shelving?
Shelving and racking must not be confused with. They are two entirely different things serving different purposes. Shelving is for hand-stacked storage. Anyone can hand-load items onto shelves. Racking, on the other hand, is for palletized storage. Warehouse operators use forklifts to load and unload inventory on pallets. This must be kept in mind while differentiating between both.
Considering these systems have adjustable heights, they can accommodate different types of shelves for a highly compatible storage facility. In addition, shelving can be closed or opened for easy access to stored inventory. Warehouses and distribution centres can use them with bins, drawers, and dividers.
Types of Industrial Shelving
Some of the most widely used industrial shelving systems and solutions are mentioned below:
· Altius Shelving System
The Altius Shelving System is one of the best warehouse storage solutions that ensure a safe work environment with an improved operator and material safety. Ergonomically designed for warehouse operators to work in a comfortable environment, Altius ensures the highest levels of functionality in addition to focus on aesthetics for a vibrant workspace. Its optimized design reduces turnaround time and simplifies installation efforts, creating a safe storage for your SKUs and increasing cubic space utilization.
· Bin Flow Shelving
Gravity enlivened, the bin flow shelving system is most suitable for replenishment of SKUs. Offering a smooth movement of bins and cartons in addition to replenishing the aisle and picking aisles by gravity rollers for a faster picking rate, bin flow shelving solutions improve overall facility cleanliness, ensure higher safety and provide an organizational boost to warehouse operations.
· Mezzanine System
The Mezzanine based floor system is a light weight steel flooring system provided at a suitable height from ground. Grouted vertical columns support the grid created by horizontal beams. The decking panels are assembled on these. Such is the system that it can be configured to suit the layout of the room, taking into account pillar positions and door positions.
The mezzanine system consists of optimum sized modules suited to match the total area on which the Mezzanine floor is required to be provided, the module size being designed to enable maximum area utilization. Its application is mostly in office space, storage or work area and supervision area.
What is Industrial Racking?
Industrial racking is a heavy-duty storage solution used in high throughput bulky inventory. These racking systems are higher to provide more space for holding goods that remain in storage for longer periods. They are also deeper than industrial shelving to allow proper organization of pallets while maximizing efficiency.
Types of Industrial Racking
· Shuttle Pallet Racking
Shuttle on racks are designed to swiftly carry pallets to the forklifts. Configurable in LIFO/FIFO and operated through remote control to move shuttles within the racks, the solution ensures fast throughput and improves storage density. It is best suited for industries with limited variety of SKUs, is ideal for buffer storage to manage seasonal demands, compatible with all material handling equipment and can operate in sub-zero temperatures.
· Mobile Pallet Racking
Mobile pallet racking is designed to ensure high density of storage. Racks on wheels and operated via remote control, mobile pallet racking is designed for 100% accessibility to each pallet to create aisles instantly at the user’s command, moving across integrated floor rails and opening up individual aisles at a time.
This accounts for easy access to any product by forklift or manual pricing, allowing for high-density storage of a wide range of products and enabling warehouse facilities to accommodate changing SKUs.
Differences between Industrial Shelving and Industrial Racking
· Deep Stacking
Industrial racking requires more space because they are deeper and higher than shelving solutions. They can also accommodate larger packages which are accessible by forklifts and stackers through lifting the pallets. Racking also provides storage of bulky goods like furniture, timber and tubes through cantilever racking. Shelves are only applicable for lightweight and shorter animals that operators can reach by hand.
Industrial racking warehouse storage is stronger than shelving because it stores heavy palletized goods on multiple upward levels. As a result, these systems rarely crash down and can hold many pallets in one column. On the other hand, shelving solutions store a few goods that do not require specialized reaching equipment.
· Storage Space
Warehouses require more space for deep racking and shelving for access to machinery. Alternatively, shelves only require a small space where operators can move back and forth when sorting inventory.
Manufacturers use heavy-duty metals in industrial racks to make them stronger for heavier loads. These racking systems also have better surface finishes that protect them from rust and corrosion. On the other hand, lightweight materials in shelves can collapse when subject to heavy machinery and equipment impacts.
Installing appropriate storage systems maximizes efficiency in a warehouse. The guide shows that shelves are desirable for business operations handling smaller goods, while larger businesses can benefit from racking systems. Warehouse operations become more flexible when businesses consider using both solutions for proper material handling at all levels.