Adjustable Pallet Racking (APR) pallet racking continues to be the most popular warehouse racking solution used in the UK – possibly because its seen as the easiest to design and the cheapest racking to buy. However, from our experience and regular enquiries from companies across the UK, the storage solution can often be one of the most inefficient uses of space if the pallet racking design and utilisation of the system is not updated to reflect the changing needs of the business.
Typical symptoms which indicate inefficient APR pallet racking design include:
- large pockets of dead space caused by split pallets or varying pallets heights stored in the wrong location
- insufficient capacity
- slow picking speeds
- long standing times for wagons during loading.
So, if your warehouse relies on APR pallet racking, here are a few cost-effective ideas from our Max the Cube approach which could transform the utilisation and efficiency of the system without having to invest in a completely new solution.
Optimise Beam Levels
One issue that we often see in warehouses is that the beam height doesn’t suit the pallets being stored within the racking. This can mean that space is being wasted when it doesn’t need to be the case. By looking at the sizes of pallets being stored and optimising the beam heights to suit them, you can minimise the amount of space being wasted and sometimes even create an extra level of racking.
optimise beam lengths
Changing the beam lengths within your APR to suit the pallets that you are storing can also help to increase capacity. We see many racking layouts where the beams are the wrong size for the types of pallets being stored. For example, a shorter beam length may be more suitable meaning potentially additional bays could be added or alternative a longer beam length could increase the pallets positions and increase capacity.
Use Timber Decking to Help Storage
Using timber decking or timber batons on the racking can transform the storage capacity by either enabling items to be stored off pallets for picking or allowing flexibility in the types and sizes of pallets that can be stored safely, including odd ball pallets and one trip pallets. This can transform space utilisation by dramatically reducing the number of split pallets in the racking solution and therefore improving space utilisation.
Open timber decking can also enable pallets on higher level beams to be placed easily and safely by the forklift operator, again improving space utilisation of higher level pallet positions.
Increase the Height of your pallet Racking
If you have the available height in your warehouse, one way to increase capacity is to increase the height of your existing racking. This would allow you to use your existing beams but you may need to replace the uprights to increase the specification required for the additional level.
Create High Density Storage in Critical Areas
Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of a warehouse doesn’t have to mean a complete replacement of the existing racking, especially if the racking is working well over all. However, by creating a dedicated high density storage area with push back or pallet live racking for fast moving items such as in the despatch area, this can greatly increase the efficiency of the entire warehouse, just by installing a small section of high density racking, while freeing up capacity in the existing racking.
Combine with Shelving or Carton Live to Improve Picking
Using a combination of racking types for fast/slow moving stock can result in faster picking times. For example, you could keep your existing pallet racking for fast moving items and install some additional carton live racking or shelving for slower moving items which would improve the overall efficiency of the warehouse
Create Picking Tunnels
Picking tunnels can be a highly effective method of creating a safe picking environment for single items whilst having buffer stock or fast moving stock stored above on push back racking. Picking tunnels can be formed using static APR racking to ground level, with pallet live or carton live to provide buffer stock above.
Use Double Deep Racking
If you wanted to double the capacity of your existing racking without installing an entirely new racking system, you could install an additional row of racking in front of your existing racking to create a double deep system. As the name suggests, this would double the number of pallet positions without the need for a completely new system.
Go to Narrow Aisle Racking
Not only does Narrow Aisle Racking or Very Narrow Aisle of VNA Racking increase capacity in a smaller floor space but it can also improve picking times. By reducing the aisle width of the racking, it can be condensed into a smaller footprint which in turn reduces the cost per pallet while allowing 100% accessibility making it a cost effective solution.
Change the Orientation of the Racking
To increase capacity within your warehouse while keeping your existing racking, one option could be to change the orientation of the racking which could maximise any available space in the warehouse. This may also allow you to extend the racking by a few bays to provide additional capacity without having to completely overhaul the existing racking.
Pallet Racking Design Summary
APR Racking will always be a key storage solution in warehouses across the world, however its effectiveness and efficiency can deteriorate if its design and layout is not continually updated to reflect the changing needs of the business.
And whilst dynamic pallet racking solutions can offer dramatic increases in capacity and reductions in operational costs, it is not always required. To find out how you can Max the Cube, contact Thistle Systems now on 01236 453888.