But with so much choice, this can make the buying decision difficult. Should you opt for manual storage, automated, or semi-automated combining both? Do you need a direct access or a compact storage system?
Here we explain a little more about storage systems, to help you decide the right storage system for your warehouse.
What is a storage system
Put simply, a storage system is a structure created from galvanised steel components which is designed to store products while at the same time making optimum use of the space available.
The word ‘space’ here is key: any warehouse can store goods, but without a strategically designed storage system of uprights and crossbeams, space will be wasted and the warehouse will not operate at maximum capacity. Plus, without an organized system, a warehouse operation will be inefficient, since picking stock, replenishing stock, inventory control, arrival and dispatch will not function cohesively.
Choosing a storage system
The best storage system for your warehouse is the one that meets your criteria. When deciding on a system you need to take a number of factors into account, including:
- Capacity – how much do you need your warehouse to be able to hold?
- Types of products stored – are they heavy, light, boxed or palletized?
- Access – do you need speedy, frequent access to the goods, or is storage for the longer term, with slower turnaround?
- Variety – will you have a high number of SKUs? How many units of each will you need to store? How many pallets or boxes per SKU?
Types of warehouse storage systems
Pallet racking is a highly versatile storage system, and is particularly efficient for operations with a large number of SKUs, needing a high turnaround.
Within the range of pallet racking there are a number of options to choose from:
- Standard, wide aisle pallet racking gives access to all the pallets, at all times.
- Narrow aisle pallet racking is ideal where floor space is limited.
- Mobile racking (MOVO) is a dynamic solution providing up to double the storage capacity in the same space as conventional pallet racking, and is suitable for every kind of stored product.
- Cantilever racks are best suited for long items, such as pipes, timber, or plastic sheeting. The benefit is the cantilevered arms can be changed, depending on the products that need to be stored.
- Drive-in or drive-through pallet racking are excellent solutions where large quantities of the same or similar products are to be stored, and can free up as much as 90% of floor space, compared to conventional racking.
- Push-back racks are ideal for compact storage. The storage area is set on a slight incline, so as a pallet is removed, the one behind it will come forward. This is perfect for use in a first-in, last-out (FILO) system.
- Crane racking is a fully automated storage system, ideal for storing pallets and large items. Designed to work within very narrow aisles and at a height of more than 30 metres, crane racking is an efficient, optimised storage solution.
- Multitier pallet racking creates manual pick-lanes, at various levels, by providing walkways built into the pallet racking structure.
- Pallet flow racking, or pallet live storage, is ideal if you operate a first-in, first-out (FIFO) goods storage setup. With this system you can use up to 60% less space than if you were to use conventional pallet racking.
- Pallet shuttle system is a semi-automated high-density solution. You can operate it either as first-in, first-out (FIFO) or last-in, first-out (LIFO), ideal for cold storage, food and beverage production, and meat processing.
Automation, or semi-automation can be applied to pallet racking systems, to improve efficiency, as well as bring other benefits, such as reduced labour costs.
But what if the products you store are not palletized, but stored in boxes? There are many solutions that allow for the efficient storage and stock rotation of boxed products. Carton flow racks are ideal for smaller, boxed items, while wide shelving is best suited to heavy, bulky, long-span items.
It’s clear the options are extensive, and expertise in designing and fitting the best industrial storage for your warehouse is strongly advisable. To talk to our specialist designers of warehouse storage solutions, please get in touch.