Warehouse storage systems are a huge investment for small and large businesses alike, so it is important you take the time to research all options that are available.

Some questions to ask yourself before deciding on a racking system are:

  • How much floor space do you have available?
  • How many different product lines/SKU's will be stored in your warehouse?
  • How frequently do you need to access the pallets?
  • What type of forklift does your business own? Are you willing to upgrade your forklift if it means a more productive racking system for your business?
  • Are the storing perishable products, or product that expire? This will assist in choosing a FIFO or LIFO system (see explanation below)
  • How many pallets/storage spaces do you require?

Below are some key racking terms you need to know.

configuration of racking within warehouses depends on whether or not stock is stored on a 'first in first out' basis, or a 'first in last out' system

FIFO - stands for First in First out - this means that stock that is added first will be removed first

LIFO - stands for Last In First Out - this means the stock that is added last will be removed first

SKU - stands for Stock Keeping Unit and is the product service identification code (commonly referred to as a bar code)

Selective Racking

Selective pallet racking is our most requested type of racking. This type of warehouse storage is ideal for businesses that hold a large, diverse range of different products with different SKU's.

In layman's terms, selective racking is one pallet deep and it made up of 2 racks placed back to back, so direct access to every pallet is available. Largely versatile, this type of rack is easy to customise and adjust to the user's needs.

It can be used with nearly all type of forklifts and is commonly used in retail inventory, wholesale stores and warehousing and distribution.

Click below to see selective racking in action in our warehouse

Advantages:

  • Most cost effective racking (per square metre)
  • Individual access to all pallets
  • Simple stock rotation can be achieved
  • Easily customised to suit the user's needs
  • The system allows easy beam adjustments to accommodate variable pallet heights
  • Multiple access can be achieved with more than one forklift in the same aisle
  • Compatible for use with a standard forklift
  • Useful for warehouses for large amounts for SKU's
  • FIFO inventory management

Disadvantages

  • A large amount of warehouse space is required for this type of system to store the high volume of stock
  • Not recommended for warehouses with over 3000 pallet spaces
  • This system is not suited for high volume applications with limited SKU's as the storage cost would be too high
  • The storage height is limited to 12 metres
  • The selective racking warehouse would require medium to wide aisles required for handling

Cantilever Racking

Completely different to selective rack, this warehouse storage system does not have shelves, but instead is comprised of a base, uprights, arms and braces to create a sturdy storage unit that is ideal for long, heavy items. For this reason, we commonly see businesses such as construction and plumbing purchase this rack, to store items such as long pieces of timber or steel pipes.

This versatile storage system can be custom made and is easy to install and dismantle, should relocation ever be required.

pallet racking cantilever

Advantages:

  • Easy to install
  • Simple to reconfigure should your storage needs change
  • Increased productivity as a result of reduced handling times

Disadvantages:

  • Unique in its function, this type of racking is not designed to store pallets, so would not suit all businesses
  • The initial cost to purchase and store the racking can be high (but a worthwhile investment in the long run when taking into account increased productivity and reduced handling times)

Drive In Racking

Drive in racking is suited to businesses with a small amount of SKU's, but a large amount of stock per SKU. Also known as drive through racking, this system is also ideal for cold or freezer storage or fragile product loads that cannot be stored in block stacks.

This type of racking is available in 2 configurations - drive in or drive through.

Drive-in racking operates on the LIFO method, with the racking only serviceable from one side. Drive-through racking makes it possible to stack items on one side while other goods are simultaneously being retrieved from the other side (FIFO method).

drive-in warehouse racking

Advantages:

  • Maximum profitability of warehouse space
  • No need for aisles in between racking (also creating more space)
  • Offers good product protection

Disadvantages:

  • Higher risk of damage due to frequent exposure to forklifts
  • Poor accessibility to all pallets
  • Would not be suitable to warehouses with a large amount of different product lines/SKU's

In this article we have discussed what we believe are the Top 3 warehouse racking systems, but there are other options available. Please don't hesitate to contact our warehouse storage experts to find the system that is right for you.