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Whether you run a small local retail outlet or a network of major distribution centres, the importance of warehouse racking should never be underestimated. The right shelving system can improve efficiency, increase safety, and most importantly, it can save you money! This article will discuss the main benefits of a good warehouse racking system, and help you determine the best racking solutions for your particular storage and racking needs.
When setting up a business that deals in storage, supplies and distribution, it can be tempting to go for the cheapest and most convenient option. Many warehouses are set up, in the early days, with second-hand shelving units and mix-and-match systems. This can certainly cut costs in the start. However, using shelving and racking that is not efficiently designed can actually cause complications down the line. Any established business that hopes to succeed and be profitable should be looking for the best racking solutions possible.
– Decrease costs by increasing productivity
– Reduce customer waiting times and shipping times
– Improve safety and prevent accidents or damaged stock
– Longer lasting: avoid repairs and replacements for longer
Investing in your racking system is a great way to save money in the long run, so make your shelving system a priority when planning your warehouse layout. You should also make sure that you have compatible containers, forklifts and other equipment, so you can truly make the most of your racking system. A well-run warehouse or distribution centre works in perfect harmony – and in the process, it saves you money.
One of the fastest ways that businesses lose money is in wasted staff hours. If it takes too much time for your employees to complete a task, then you cannot finish as many orders for your customers. Longer wait times for orders, or fewer orders shipped, means less money in your pocket. It is therefore essential that you streamline all warehouse processes, and make it as simple and fast as possible for your workers to find what they need.
This is where a good racking system comes in. When warehouse shelving is correctly organised, neatly laid out, and labelled accurately, you will see an improvement in order times right away. Even a minute or two saved on each order pick can add up to many hours of productive work time! Use colour coded shelves, easy to spot labels, and suitable packing containers to make workers’ jobs easier and get those orders out quickly.
Of course, you will also need to work with your team to make best use of the racking system. This means planning which products and components should be stored in which part of the depot. Having a logical order to the warehouse layout makes it faster to find what is needed. You and your staff know your products better than anyone, so develop a system that is quick and efficient. Use your shelving layout to facilitate the new layout, and be prepared to make the changes that your staff feel are necessary. Your team are a valuable resource: use their collective knowledge!
Not only can racking and shelving decrease order times, but you could also reduce the chance of an accident occurring. Badly stored stock has a far higher chance of being damaged, which is an extra cost for you and the business. If parts or products are hard to reach safely, or stored carelessly, they could be dropped, crushed or spoiled. Instead, a good shelving system can ensure everything is organised and that it is correctly placed on the racks – ready for collection as soon as required.
Damaged stock is expensive – but a far greater risk is that an employee will be hurt. Poor storage methods and unsuitable shelving greatly increase the chance of an accident. If a worker is hurt, you lose money while they take time off recovering. You might also be found liable for their injuries if the accident is deemed avoidable and has been caused by improper shelving and storage systems! To keep everyone safe while they work in your warehouse, use a state of the art racking system that can hold products for easy and fast picking – without the risk of falling boxes, or injuries caused by lifting.
With proper use and the right care, a good warehouse racking system can last for many years and it can keep on creating efficiency and savings for your business. If you try to cut corners and use inferior shelving solutions, you could find yourself hit with high repair and maintenance costs far sooner than you expected.
Old racking, especially when used improperly, can buckle and bend, which makes the shelving dangerous and creates risk for your products and staff. You could end up paying out more in repairs and replacement costs than you needed to. A new racking system, designed especially for your needs, is a wise investment. It will serve you for years to come, and cut your expenses too.
To keep costs down and prevent risk, you should inspect your racking system regularly. Teach your staff how to spot potential hazards, such as loose screws and bent bars, and encourage reporting whenever a problem is spotted. In addition to your workforce, make racking inspections part of your annual health and safety audit. At the first sign of damage or failure, make sure you consult an expert. A faulty racking system can be extremely expensive for your business, especially if it leads to damaged stock or a workplace accident.
Consider the environment when planning racking systems, too. If your warehouse or depot is exposed to the elements, make sure you choose a galvanised and rust-proof shelving system to promote its longevity. You don’t want shelves and racks to rust or rot, as this can damage stock and also harm the integrity of the storage system. In a contained indoor space with climate control, you can make use of wooden platforms and shelves that are not so weather-resistant, but which are cost-effective and long lasting.
We have many different shelving options available, so you can choose a racking system that will best serve your company. For some companies, all picking and packing is done by hand – especially in the small retail industry. Narrow, tall racks can take up less space, pushing down those warehouse costs in the process, and allowing you to keep more stock ready for customers. For safe access to these narrow racks, modular access platforms are available.
On the other hand, busy warehouses dealing in heavy pallets and boxes will likely use forklifts and reach trucks to access the required goods. These need much wider racks that can be driven down without the risk of bumps and crashes. Wider racks do take up more space on the warehouse, but they are also more suitable for large, heavy products that need a greater surface area when stored. To make the most of all available space, multi-bay wide racks and drive-through storage are popular options.
Choosing the right racking system is one of the best ways to save money in the long term. When you have the wrong kind of racking, all the planning in the world can’t maximise the efficiency of your warehouse – or reduce the risk of something going wrong. You need shelves, containers and trucks that all work together for that common purpose: delivering customers’ orders in the fastest, safest way possible.
If you want to bring these benefits to your own commercial or industrial warehouse, get in touch with Solution MHE today. We offer an extensive range of racking solutions which are designed to save you time and money. From racking and shelving units to compatible containers and pallets, we offer comprehensive customised solutions for almost any storage and distribution process. Take a look at our racking and shelving range today.
Of course, the best way to get results from your racking system is to use the right forklift trucks for the task at hand! As specialist suppliers of forklifts, reach trucks and order pickers, we can provide you with enough machines to handle any sorting, picking and moving tasks in and around your distribution centre. From narrow trucks and shelf systems to large reach pickers and mezzanine levels, we can help you create the ideal racking system – and provide the machines you need to use it effectively.
If you are searching for ways to improve efficiency, safety and performance in your company’s warehouses, and want a bespoke solution to your particular needs, speak to the team at Solution MHE. We pride ourselves on having a comprehensive range of storage solutions for every commercial or industrial purpose – along with the equipment to pick and pack goods quickly and safely. For more information and to get a quote, email us or call 0117 938 2012.