Saving Space in Rack Storage Areas
Pallet rack storage is relatively inexpensive and extremely common. In many facilities, it also consumes the majority of square footage. When you can cut down on this space, significant gains can be made that allow you to use the square footage for other purposes. Here are some ideas for reducing your rack storage footprint while maintaining storage capacity.
- Narrow your aisles: Rack aisles are sometimes needlessly kept uniformly wide because it seems to be required by the building’s column spacing and fork truck requirements, but you can often squeeze footage out of that space without compromising storage or safety. Just be sure that your width meets the minimum for your lift truck and that you can operate storage and picking operations safely within that width.
- Consider double-deep racks: This requires the purchase of special pallet rack and at least one double-reach fork truck, as well as wider aisles to accommodate the fork truck reach assembly. Pallets can be placed 2-deep and several levels high to maximize rack storage.
- Pallet flow, Drive-In, and Pushback racks can further maximize space. Hardly any storage media is better at storage density, but selectivity is sacrificed with these specialized rack systems. In areas where space is at a premium, nothing is better. See storage density vs. selectivity for more information.
- Utilize rack space over pick slots to store extra inventory of the product being picked. When replenishment is required, just drop the product from above. This saves time as well as space. Racks integrated with carton flow are an ideal way to do this.
- Utilize triple-width beams. 8’ beams that hold two pallets are the standard, but if your load is lighter, you can reduce the storage pallet storage footprint.
- Transform rack bays into case flow rather than creating separate each-pick or case-pick areas. This type of flow storage rack is an easy way to add pick faces without consuming excess floor space.
- Use the space above your dock doors. This isn’t always possible, but when it is, you can shift loads from middle-of-the-room space to unused space that provides easy access. See above-dock-door storage racks for more details.
Scott Stone Cisco-Eagle's Director of Marketing. He has over 25 years of experience in the industry.