Utilizing the warehouse space properly is a serious task, since there is a chain of things to consider during the planning process. Hence, when deciding on what type of storage racking to install in your warehouse, apart from the size of the facility and capacity, few other things you also need to consider are:
- – how goods are picked
- – which goods are fast-moving
- – if goods come in/go out as full pallet loads
- – how goods will be loaded and off loaded from a lorry, etc.
However, when it comes to planning the available storage space, many warehouse owners are commonly faced with the dilemma – to reconstruct (expand) the warehouse to get additional storage space or to instal the storage racking system. Reconstruction could be a possible solution, but what happens when warehouse expansion is out of option? This is why storage racking seems to be the best solution with no setback, downtime and other difficulties.
Ways To Create More Storage Space
Vertical Cube Utilization
To increase the warehouse storage density, the entire vertical cube of the facility needs to be effectively utilized. Vertical cube includes total building clearance, space above loads, space above docks, space above cross aisles and space above work and pick areas. Remember that a well-designed warehouse has approximately 70% – 80% vertical utilization. Within the rack, the opening height has to be approximately 15cm larger than the load height to ensure safe loading and off-loading of the product. Simply put, vertical cube utilization refers to implementing a re-warehousing program and creating multiple opening heights to move slow-moving pallets into shorter locations.
The area over cross aisles is one more under-utilized space in warehouses, while the truth is that this area can be easily converted to back-to-back rack sections (storage space), also known as ‘tunneling the rack’. For example, in a warehouse that features 6 to 7 metres clearance and 4 levels of storage, the top two rack levels are generally tunneled. This can improve the warehouse storage capacity up to 10%. With tunnel racking, pallet decking/netting is highly recommended to prevent falling cases from reaching the floor. Generally, tunnel racking is done in a combination with special forklift training.
Rack Over Docks
Since most of the warehouse activity occurs in the lower 3 metres of space, docks are commonly applied to utilize the vertical cube at its fullest potential. The rack-over-docks option is good for long-term storage of materials in rack.