The 50,407 warehouse establishments in the country are expected to spend close to $330 billion in order to increase capacity and to make other improvements over the next year. Nearly $97 billion will be invested directly in new pieces of equipment and machinery that makes warehouses and workers more efficient. One increasingly popular option for warehouses is a push back rack system. This is a way to store pallets so that they automatically restock after picking a single unit. Using this type of shelving system has several advantages over other forms of pallet racks.
One of the challenges in warehouses that deal with full pallet storage is maintaining an efficient system when handling a large variety of different products. Using selective racks with a depth of only one pallet becomes very impractical when hundreds or thousands of different stock keeping units (SKUs) must be tracked and picked throughout the day. A push back system makes it possible to store many different types of pallets in a way that makes them immediately accessible to a picker. Additionally, each pick location can be three or more pallets deep making restocking after each pick unnecessary.
The distinguishing feature of a push back rack is the automatic movement of pallets from the back to front as inventory is removed by pickers. Some racking in very large facilities can be ten or more pallets deep. The automatic rails and carts mean that the next pallet in the rack is available for picking moments after the previous unit is removed. This increases the speed of picking in a busy warehouse and makes it easier to deal with popular or seasonal items that are moving quickly. Increased picking speed means in improvement in fulfillment rates and overall service levels in the warehouse.
There are many storage options available for warehouses. Each has benefits and drawbacks. One of the advantages that push back racks have is safety. The rails and carts on each level can be adjusted so that they move at a predefined speed regardless of the weight of the pallet. Drivers or workers with pallet jacks do not need to enter narrow corridors in order to get to the next pallet in line. This eliminates the risks associated with working under a tall racking system that has five or ten levels of heavy pallets overhead. The push back system also keeps workers on the floor very safe by securing pallets in place and reducing the chance of a vehicle accident by removing the need to overextend equipment.
Push back rack shelving creates a tight three-dimensional grid of pallets in a warehouse. This is the most efficient configuration possible since it wastes a minimum amount of space between pallets. The racking will save space in the facility and increase the storage capacity of the warehouse. This system has the superior access of selective racking and the high storage capabilities of drive-in systems. The smaller footprint also makes it easier to create wide aisles for vehicles, conveyors or other picking equipment.
About the author
Katy Smithe knows the importance of proper warehouse racking, shelving and storage for the most efficient usage. That is why she trusts North American Steel Equipment for the best industrial racking and storage. To learn more, visit their website.
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