warehouse worker scanning inventory

We are all accustomed to hearing the term “innovation” bandied about in media discussions and online posts about digital technologies, but, the reality is that in every business sector there are people working hard to improve on technologies of the past and find better ways of getting stuff done. 

Warehousing and storage don’t get the same level of attention as some other industries, but it is nonetheless an integral part of the economy. Traditional material handling equipment and pallet racking systems–a staple in countless warehouses around the world–have limitations. So, in this post, we go beyond pallet racking and take a look at some of the innovative alternatives for warehouse storage. If you have been looking for ways to improve on the pallet racking in your warehouse

Vertical Space Utilization – Mezzanine Floors

Mezzanine floors create additional floor space between the ceiling and the existing ground level, effectively doubling or tripling your storage area without the need for new construction. Highly versatile, customizable, and cost-effective, mezzanine systems are an underappreciated way to increase warehouse space.

High-Density Racking Systems

Drive-In/Drive-Through Racking

Drive-in and drive-through racking systems are designed for high-density storage, where forklifts can drive directly into the rack structure.

These systems are ideal for storing large quantities of similar items. The primary difference between the two is access: drive-in racking has a single entry and exit point, making it suitable for LIFO (Last In, First Out) operations, while drive-through racking has access points on both ends, facilitating FIFO (First In, First Out) operations. These systems maximize storage space in a particular area, but they can be less efficient for operations requiring frequent item rotation.

Push-Back Racking

Push-back racking is a high-density storage solution that uses a series of nested carts on inclined rails. When a new pallet is loaded, it pushes the previous pallets back. This system is ideal for high-turnover inventory and LIFO operations.

Pallet Flow Racking

Pallet flow racking, also known as gravity flow racking, operates on the FIFO principle. This pallet rack system uses inclined rails with rollers that allow pallets to move forward under the force of gravity. Pallet flow racking is great when it’s important to use older stock first, such as perishable goods.

Selective Pallet Racking

Selective pallet racking, a staple in our offerings, presents several advantages for efficient warehouse management. This type of pallet racking system provides direct access to every pallet. By facilitating quick and easy retrieval, selective racking helps operations with diverse inventory and high turnover rates.

This storage system allows for significant storage density without compromising accessibility. Its adaptable design accommodates various pallet sizes and weights, making it versatile for different storage needs and changing inventory requirements.

Modular and Flexible Solutions

Tier-Rack Systems & Stackable Containers and Pallets

Tier-rack systems offer great versatility. These racks can be easily moved and reconfigured, which is why they are often used by businesses with seasonal inventory fluctuations or that need to frequently change their storage layout. 

Stackable containers and pallets help to optimize space usage through efficient vertical storage, however, they do create particular safety considerations.

Customizable and Scalable Options

Cantilever Racking

Cantilever racking systems are ideal for storing long, bulky items such as lumber, pipes, and steel bars. These racks feature horizontal arms extending from a central column, providing open access for loading and unloading. Pac Rac Systems offers customizable cantilever racking solutions that can be easily adapted to meet the unique storage needs.

Flow-Through Racking

Flow-through racking, also known as carton flow racking, uses gravity-fed rollers to move items from the back of the rack to the front. These storage racks are perfect for FIFO operations, particularly for small items and cartons. 

Pick Modules

Pick modules integrate various types of racking systems into multi-level structures designed for efficient order fulfillment. These systems can include pallet racking, carton flow, and shelving, creating efficient storage solutions that streamline picking operations and increase throughput.

Best Practices & Future Trends

Strategic Zoning, Optimized Aisle Width & Traffic Flow

Strategic zoning involves dividing the warehouse into sections based on product type, size, and turnover rate. This approach improves inventory control, reduces handling time, and minimizes errors. 

Something as simple as proper aisle width can go a long way to facilitate the efficient movement of materials and personnel. It’s all about finding the right balance; narrow aisles can impede traffic, while overly wide aisles waste valuable space. If you have been considering some changes to your storage layout, the team at Pac Rac can help you with customized CAD layout design solutions

Emerging Trends in Warehouse Storage

As with any other technology, warehouse storage solutions are continuously evolving in a constant quest for improved productivity. 

In this context, the next frontier is automated storage and retrieval systems, and autonomous mobile robots. These highly advanced solutions have yet to be adopted on a large scale due to their up-front cost and complexity, but you can expect them to become more accessible and more popular in the years ahead. 

At the moment, IoT-enabled smart warehouses allow for predictive analytics and real-time insights into the movement of inventory and personnel, which present valuable optimization opportunities. Thanks to a greater ease of implementation than a fully automated system, these advances are quickly changing how storage operations work.

Still in Search of Your Ideal Storage Solution?

In this post, we’ve explored a range of innovative storage solutions beyond traditional pallet racking and offered some insight into what to expect in the years ahead in the industry. But, when it comes to storage, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. 

Our team is here to help you optimize your storage space. At Pac Rac, we have worked with companies from many different sectors in our 30+ years of operation, giving us a combination of experience, expertise and a Canada-wide that makes us a great partner to help you improve your efficiency. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you in achieving your storage goals.


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