Choosing the Right Storage Solution
There are a multitude of storage solutions and shelving systems from which to choose when setting up a warehouse storage facility. Choosing the correct one can make the difference between an efficient business and problems with supply. This brief guide will help you to understand the different available methods and the pros and cons of each.
The lowest cost method of storing pallets in a warehouse is the system of block storage. This system relies on the use of floor space alone to store pallets and is the simplest to implement. However, there are problems related to storage of this method
The pallets are stored in blocks around the floor with gaps left between for movement of the fork-lift trucks. Blocks can be stored at varying heights depending upon the condition and weight of the crates, but the nature of this method means that you are often blocking access to one pallet with another. The supply issues that this causes can be detrimental to your company because it will take longer to access the products on a pallet which is stored at the bottom of a pile. If a particular pallet is required swiftly there will need to be cumbersome efforts to reach the pallet which could disrupt the entire warehouse.
Another cheap method is the use of frames which allow access to all of the pallets at once. This means you will always be able to meet supply demands swiftly. This method of storage can restrict the amount of storage space that can be utilised because of the need for long rows with access for fork-lifts all the way along. However, these frames can be up to 11 metres high and can therefore utilise more space than block storage because there is a greater limit to the height at which they can be stored. This method will require a more specialised fork-lift which is capable of reaching pallets at a greater height.
Developing the system of frames further results in the method of double-deep stacking which means that pallets are stored two deep on the frames. This increases the amount of space that can be utilised for storage but will be more costly and will require a double length fork-lift truck. Double-deep storage can result in access issues when a pallet at the back is required but the problem is less severe than with block storage.
Drive in storage has similar problems to block stacking but is very space efficient. This method uses small corridors of storage in which 4-5 pallets are stored one in front of another in corridors. This method makes manoeuvring more cumbersome because of the tight spaces in which pallets are necessarily stored. However, it is efficient and does not restrict the use of space as much as other methods.
Push back storage is only really suitable for large warehouses with a large turnover of identical products. This method works by pushing the pallet at the front back into storage space along metal rails when a new pallet is added. Once the pallet at the front is removed the pallets behind will slide forward and be accessible immediately. This method makes storage and use of space very efficient but is more costly and unsuitable for small companies with small quantities of dissimilar products.
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