As any business owner will admit, rack shelving for their retail space, shop floor, warehouse or other storage area is far different than what is required for their home. For most homeowners, stocking a 50 pound bag of rice or other dry goods is a bit less complicated compared to a business owner who needs to store and access coiled steel that may weigh several tons. In order to choose the right storage racks, it is critical to know what is being stored in the first place and how each item will be accessed. At ShelvingMate, we specialize in helping customers navigate storage problems that could slow down their business – or make their home pantry a jumbled mess of boxes, canned goods, or other items.
At ShelvingMate, we can help your business grow and operate more efficiently by custom designing and installing purpose-driven shelves that meet all of your needs, including budget requirements. Part of this process involves what is commonly referred to Flow Analysis, which underpins successful business and warehouse management the world over.
Flow Analysis is not as difficult as it seems, and helps owners, managers, and other staff optimize how stored items flow through a storage area. The goals are fairly simple: Minimize handling costs inside the warehouse by reducing manual intervention and increasing automation, figuring out the most efficient disposition of inventory arriving at the warehouse, and determining how items can pass through with the least resistance from people, systems, or other stored items. Improving product-flows in any business, especially a warehouse, correlates to how the business operates and allows for more efficient fulfillment opportunities – in other words, bringing goods in, and shipping them out for distribution or sale. These are all critical factors to growing a business and expanding market share.
Selecting the best storage racking for a business is not as complicated as it seems, but requires careful planning and execution in order to be truly successful. Here are things to be aware of: Using the First-In/First-Out (FIFO) Storage Management System, Determining Item Density, Product Flow Requirements, Forklift Access Requirements, Capacity Limits, and the Types of Items being stored.
The FIFO Storage Management System
The First-In/First-Out (FIFO) Storage Management System sounds funny and, in fact, is a methodology that grew out of early accounting systems where there was a need to gauge when a stored item was used compared to its original storage date. Today, this is a system that has been repurposed around the world to keep warehouses and storage facilities running as efficiently as possible.
At ShelvingMate, many of the lightweight and high strength galvanized steel storage systems we design and install are perfect for the FIFO method, particularly in the food industry where perishable items are regularly stored. Other businesses where products have an expiration date are served by the FIFO method, too, including chemicals, paints, and the pharmaceutical industries.
The idea is simple. With the FIFO method, the first item that was stored will be the first item to be used or shipped out. Products that are stored first, the oldest on the storage racks, are always used first and result in regular turnover as products arrive.
Determining Item Density
To pick the correct rack shelving for a business, business owners or managers need to consider how many items will or need to be stored in a specific area. In an enclosed space, the best option is a scalable and modular storage system, such as the Super 1-2-3 or Unirack systems from Metalsistem.
Product Flow Requirements
Storage racking plays a critical role in efficient and successful warehouse product flow, and such requirements need to be considered before a buying decision is made. When it comes to storage solutions in such an environment, it is important to: Buy the right products, and sell them as quickly as possible; spend as little time handling items as possible; and maximize all resources needed for efficient product flow, including space, people, equipment, and time.
Forklift Access Requirements
In many warehouses and other areas where rack shelving is utilized, it is common that products are accessed using forklift trucks due to their dimensions and weight. One issue that is sometimes overlooked are forklift access requirements; in other words, how much space is needed between shelving and other storage systems to accommodate a forklift – specifically its height, width, and turning radius. Experienced and skilled forklift operators have no problem directing their truck forward or backward, but there also must be space so the vehicle can turn if necessary without backing up.
Buying and installing the right storage racks also depends on the items that are being stored, especially their dimension and weight. Wood, plastic, or glass shelves that are fixtures in many homes and retail stores are unsuitable for the heavier requirements of even the smallest warehouse. Depending on the type of business, it is not uncommon for ShelvingMate to work with companies that need shelving systems that can accommodate products weighing up to 15 tons – like heavy duty machinery, tools, and raw materials. If your business has extreme storage needs, we can work with you on designing and installing a customized system featuring Metalsistem’s SuperBuild pallet racking system.
Types of Items Being Stored
Storage needs are driven not only by budget – how much the owner or manager can afford to or is willing to spend – but the kinds of items being stored. If you run a small retail store selling cellular telephones and accessories, a large, floor to ceiling shelving system would be ill-advised and, in some cases, may even be dangerous. At ShelvingMate, our experienced consultants work with each client to evaluate their needs based on the kind of items being stored, and what would be the most efficient and cost effective solution for their money.
ShelvingMate is located in the Greater Toronto Area and is the industry leader for custom designed and affordable storage solutions for warehouses, home and business.