In a previous article, we shared a few pallet optimization tips to help you save space in your warehouse. This time, we will move to a new topic in the same line: how to make the most of your warehouse space by racking your plastic pallets in the most efficient configuration.
Vertical Space: The Next Frontier
By getting rid of old and unreliable packaging materials, you can save a lot of floor space in your warehouse. But warehouse managers know that they should always look up high and consider how to make the best use of vertical space.
At Logistic Packaging, we know exactly how valuable every cubic inch of space is to you. As you race against competitors to fulfill orders on time and at the best prices, you need to optimize all your warehouse operations.
Plastic Pallet Racking: It’s Not Just About Space, It’s About Speed
Racing against time to prepare an order, your employees must be able to find every product quickly in the warehouse. This is covered by using an adequate label system, with reliable label holders integrated on the racks. For instance, Logistic Packaging has a special Placard label holder for racking system. Its textured surface allows your employees to affix, peel off and replace self-adhesive labels describing the contents of each racking unit.
But once they reach a specific aisle and identify the products they need, your employees also need to have quick access to the palletized products and extract the correct quantity specified in the packing order. This is where choosing a smart racking system can make the difference.
There are four different racking systems for plastic pallets used in warehouses all over the world. We will present each one of them and explain what type of application they are best suited for.
1. Standard Racking
This racking system for plastic pallets is also known as edge racking, and it is the most common in warehouses all over the world. To create this racking system, you need two upright frames connected by two horizontal beams. The plastic pallets are placed on these beams. You can add a wire mesh in order to prevent smaller products from falling off the pallet and through the empty space between the beams.
This type of racking system offers direct access to each pallet in an aisle, without having to move others out of the way. It is ideal for smaller warehouses, where employees prepare small orders for local distribution. As soon as a pallet is removed, it can be easily replaced with a new pallet loaded with products.
2. Flow Racking
Retail logistic operations rely a lot on the first in first out (FIFO) system in order to ship products to store within their shelf life. The flow racking system for plastic pallets is ideal for FIFO order picking operations.
In this system, loaded pallets are placed on the racks on one side and removed from the opposite side. Thus, as new pallets loaded with products are arranged on racks, they push the pallet ahead of them towards the exit, ready for order picking.
This racking system means that you should have sufficient space between the racks for loading and unloading. No rack can be placed directly against the wall. This disadvantage is counterbalanced by a good usage of vertical space and the fact that your business will reduce its losses due to products forgotten on the shelf past their expiration date.
3. Drive-In Racking System
This racking system is used in warehouses where merchandize goes in and out at a fast rate and space is at a premium. It uses a last in first out (LIFO) method of racking. The two main racks go as high as possible and are designed as a tight fit for the plastic pallets and the logistic equipment used for loading/unloading.
As the name of this system specifies, the operator will drive the forklift in and out of the racks to place, respectively, remove pallets. Since it needs only one open side for handling, this type of rack can be placed against the wall, as well.
4. Push Back Racking System
This racking system is made of the main vertical pillars and horizontal sliding trays – similar to dollies. Thus, every time a loaded pallet is placed on the rack, it pushes back those already placed on that level. In a similar manner, when a loaded pallet is extracted by forklift, the next pallet behind it slides forward, becoming accessible for a new order picking.
This racking system for plastic pallets is ideal for warehouses that carry a large inventory. You do not have to invest in specialized forklifts and other logistic equipment, as the racking system helps with the moving of the pallets backwards and forwards.
At Logistic Packaging, we are dedicated to improving your business operations through the use of professional packaging materials and by offering you our expert advice. Contact our logistic specialists by email or schedule a live Skype chat to discuss your packaging projects!