Storage shelves of any commodity is a basic need in all spheres of life. From domestic to industrial and commercial levels, products require a suitable place to keep for some time.
Factories and large industrial units have very large inventories consisting of raw material components as well as finished products. Therefore at the starting point of production line, and at the finishing point, a large store or ‘warehouse’ is essentially required. These huge storage areas need to be very technically utilized to place maximum inventory items. Space management in a warehouse not only needs three dimensional optimum space utilization but also an efficient in-out flow of items. What are the problems that arise in warehouse storage, and what are the possible solutions for bulk storage?
Warehouse storage Problems. We first talk about the problems that usually come up in warehouse storage. Apart from basic issues like total allotted space, location, dimensions, movement allowances etc. some other issues as we explain now may be there.
- Shelves and Racks. Once the warehouse is constructed the most essential requirement is selection of shelves and racks. There can’t be just one rule of thumb to name specific shelves and racks. It will certainly vary from product to product and various other factors. These factors may include weight and size of inventory items as well as their delicacy or strength etc. Later here we will discuss solutions also.
- Products placement. At times FIFO (i.e. first in first out), a generalized flow-line may be workable but one have to consider it while stacking or storing in a warehouse storage. It is however a bit critical to decide because flows in and out of warehouse, sometimes depend on changing scenarios. So it is a kind of problem which may later affect overall efficiency.
- Access and mobility. Warehouses usually accommodate bulky packages. Therefore space management usually considers where to place different bulky packs. The problem which may later hit is accessibility. To fetch and move around with least efforts makes warehousing hassle free. Fork lifters, trollies and small Lories need safe mobility inside warehouse. Also this issue has concerns about strength of rack’s material. A hit around the corner by a small lorry or a truck may damage racks and cause considerable loss to property.
- Maintenance. Regular maintenance of warehouse storage which primarily refers to re-positioning of inventory items itself is a cumbersome job. Another maintenance concern relates to shelves and racks. Out there several types of storage and stacking supports are available. Up gradation and replacement very frequently can’t be affordable. So this is an issue which may irritate if you don’t consider initially.
Solutions for bulk storage. This is understandable that no solution whatsoever is possible unless a team of job experts is taking care. To overcome warehouse storage issues and to achieve efficient storage system, here we discuss considerable aspects.
Racking system for warehouse. Technically speaking, one has to be, first of all aware of warehousing or system of optimum utilization of bulk storage. In any production unit every inch of available storage (in warehouse) affects cost of production. Horizontal and vertical placement of inventory items needs sturdy racks. Worldwide manufacturers, China leading, are there to provide various types of racks. How to arrange these racks, is a hundreds dollar question?
Warehouse racking system. Most popular and very common racking system for warehouse storage best utilization is ‘Pallet racking’. Pallets are basically just flat surfaces made of wood or metals (such as steel). Length and width of a pallet may vary according to requirements but industry standards usually follow.
In this system items or inventory packs are there in horizontal rows over which several levels of pallets help occupy vertical space. In this way every square inch of available space, even vertically one can use appropriately. It is though very old system of storage or warehousing system but still considerably best. It is because in a warehouse pallet racking allows easy movement of forklift and efficient accessibility.
Advantages of warehouse racking system. All factories or production units by and large depend on warehouse capacity. Warehouse factory storage for bulk amount of goods has several advantages in using pallets system because:
- Most economical. Wooden or metal structures of pallets racks are sturdy structures, are good for heavy materials storage. Pallets racking being long term solution which can easily resize to meet demand, therefore remain most economical for medium size warehouse.
- Storage capacity enhancement. Pallets racking system allows double or may be triple storage. It is without any serious handling issue as most of factories do have forklift.
- Efficient management. With pallets racking logistics support and inventory management to warehousing remains practically efficient whatever being the volume of inventories. Any inventory management system may crash if warehouse storage fails to let any item occupy space more than flow time. Racking system greatly help in quicker deliveries.
Dis-advantages. There are a few disadvantages also which in fact mostly relate to bigger warehouses. Use of Pallets racking becomes financial constraint because of cost of large size pallets racks.
Second challenge to use pallets racking system is usually shortage of capable staff.
It is worth mentioning here that ‘Warehouse Storage Racking Systems’ in vogue exit in different configurations. For example:
- Selective ‘Pallets Racking’ system. It is commonly employed in one of two configurations. First is called ‘Roll formed’ (or clip-in). Second is “structural bolt together’. These configurations provide lot of convenience to warehouses that have wide variety of products and thus require different size storages.
- Some other warehouse storages use drive-in / drive-through configuration in their racking system. This type of arrangement is essentially best when forklift movement, and shelf life are major concerns.
- Similarly ‘Push-back’ technique enhancing storage capacity is in use where reducing aisle space is possible. In this system forklift help rolling group of pallets to maximize space for warehouse storage.
- Another way out there is designed to convert static aisles space into useful storage space. In this way cost of creating/building extra space becomes easily avoidable.
Few words about ‘Safety considerations. Using racking system, safety measures must be given due consideration. It is pertaining to personal /personnel as well as property or goods.
- Racking system installation need special attention. Any loose component may cause costly and heavy material to fall. This may result in personnel injury as well.
- Strictly follow procedures and instructions while handling packs at height. Guidelines from manufacturer are always very important. Only trained staff should handle warehouse logistics.
- Every staff member should use proper machinery, tools and devices appropriately. Goods should never be placed anywhere
- Never push-in inventory more than real storage provided by racks. Overlooking may result in damaging goods. It may also cause packs lost somewhere behind.
- Regular audit is good practice to ensure safety and products integrity.
- Storage Shelves
Storage Shelve in Warehouse. Another solid structure warehouse may use for storage is ‘Shelve’. Sometimes both, shelves and racks may suit to most appropriately use warehouse storage. Basically the difference between ‘shelf’ and ‘rack’ is in their make and utilization. A shelf is a rigid flat structure (of concrete or metal) fixed at right angle in the wall. The rack is much bigger and expandable flat surface of wooden or metallic strips gripped in vertical columns. Rack may also be looked at as number of shelves stacked over one and other. Therefore storage shelves help occupying vertical space available in warehouse. In warehouses storage shelves provide extra space with the walls.
Common types of warehouse storage shelve. Storage shelve in warehouse are durable, affordable and a reasonably good option. A shelf can store medium size but heavier products. But selecting most suitable shelving for your warehouse may be a bit tricky job. However, to choose wholesale storage shelves among different designs, styles and makes? It is better to follow industry standards. Now a days there are five shelving types which are popular for retail and warehouses as well.
- Steel Shelving. Main features for steel shelving due to which these are very common as wholesale storage shelves, are:
- Durability as steel shelves are robust
- Inexpensive as it is cost effective
- Easy to install as it can be used without bending/collapsing
- Reusable as one can purchase even a used one without any special treatment.
- Good ‘strength to load ratio’ as metallic structure have excellent flexibility.
- Adjustable and versatile as it can be used for normal floor units to high rise storage in large warehouses.
- Rivet Shelving. This shelving system is also very common in large warehouses that need to store bit heavier objects. Main features due to which Rivet shelves are largely in use as wholesale storage shelves are:
- Durable and versatile
- Easy to assemble as no clips and bolts are required.
- Prepared for heavy items
- Provide better space –utilization
- Easily adjustable to size
- Wire Shelving. When visibility and air circulation are essentially required then no other than wire shelving the best. This shelving is not suitable for all types of goods. It is very popular and most suitable when products need to be in comparatively less dusty storage. Also it is essentially useful for air circulation around the goods. This type of shelving is also easy to install and equally good for any size of warehouse storage.
Bulk Rack shelving. Something special about it is that it is not bulky but can store bulk of hand-stacking provisions. So it is kind of bulk storage shelving. It is light weight structure that usually fits in extra spaces. As it is boltless so it’s assembling/dissembling is very easy. Bulk storage shelving is also useful in production area. However, in warehouse bulk storage shelving can be important option where quick pick is essential. Wholesale storage baskets for shelves are integral part of these shelves.
- Clip-less Shelving. Though very common in use clip-less shelving is good for load capacity of the order of five to seven hundred pounds. It is made with steel hardboards sheets placed in structure of steel bracing. Base area governs its ability to hold goods safely. For small items Wholesale storage baskets for shelves are useful.
Organizing warehouse storage to optimize efficiency.
As it is said, “A massy Warehouse means a messy Business”, so keeping your warehouse in order is the basic necessity for a business to flourish. Warehouse of any factory, production unit, or wholesaler need not only an excellent arrangement of logistics but also a smooth passage for goods-in to sale-out flow. To this end following steps may help as guide lines.
Step 1. Assess floor plan of warehouse.
Typically every warehouse has at least following areas for the goods (storage and flow) and manpower:
For the work-flow without any bottle neck one should assess to plan areas of common functionality closer. That will save time and energy of the work force. Plan the movement of forklift for smooth flow. Mark places for pallet racks. Office should be at a location which may give clear view of warehouse activities.
Step 2. Shelve and Racks placement.
Size and number of storage units (shelves & racks) depend on nature of your warehousing. The placement of shelves & racks however must be to make warehouse space work for you, and not the vice versa. Decide sizes and places of wholesale storage baskets for shelves.
Step 3. Inventory Arrangement
In simplest words all your fast flow items should be placed at easiest and shortest routes in warehouse. Items least in demand though may be more profit fetching may be stocked behind. Similarly inventories of similar nature should occupy pallets closer to each other, all over warehouse factory storage racks. Wholesale storage baskets for shelves are very useful for this purpose.
Step 4. Visible Labeling.
Label every important entity. This includes work areas, Warehouse Factory Storage Racks, wholesale storage baskets for shelves, aisles, safety signs, as well as height clearances for forklift or Lories.
Step 5. Pick and Pack efficiency.
Plan to accelerate order meeting process. Warehouse factory storage racks are not for just dumping goods but to place every item for a specific time only. If your warehouse staff can’t pick and pack goods quickly it may be because of various factors. Location and space to access, if not planned intelligently will cost slowing down the throughput.
Finally the conclusion is that warehouse storage of any size should be seen in terms of systems to resolve all bottle necks hindering efficient space management. In fact it is art of utilizing warehouse space in the best way. At the same time it is the science of exploring better techniques for the business to flourish.