With numerous storage methods available for warehouses, it can be hard to distinguish which is best suited to your application. However, it’s better to approach with a practised process, instead of going in blind. Read on as we break down four different storage methods, listing the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
By name by nature, this method consists of static shelving units that stay in one place. It’s ideal when the stock is picked by hand, for easy access, thus making it perfect when storing lighter products such as clothing or small components. Furthermore, static shelving is the least expensive, owing to its easy assembly and simplicity. However, this method isn’t optimal when it comes to making the most of space; because it is typically large and of course static – this also relates to another potential problem, as you can’t move the shelving easily once it’s fitted. Furthermore, you probably want to stay away from storing heavier items that may require multiple people to carry stock of the shelves, as static shelving is not compatible with forklifts.
A great option due to the apparent mobile nature, these shelving units are movable typically by a rail or carriage system; with the choice of a manual or mechanised operation. This storage method is ideal when you need to free up space, as the shelves can be moved when not in use. Mobile shelving is generally used for data storage or archiving as they are lockable. The only downfall with this option is accessing items is considerably slower in comparison to other methods such as static shelving, as you’ll have to unlock and move other shelves to gain access.
Pallet racking is essential in busy warehouses frequently processing large, boxed inventory. They are typically made out of wood, plastic or metal; depending on factors such as weight. Boxes are stored within the pallet racking system, usually with a forklift or by automated machines. This is the way to go when dealing with heavy or awkward items that cannot be moved by people. Pallet racking is divided into numerous subcategories to cater for specific types of inventory, automation, space and so on, making it highly customisable. Due to catering primarily for larger items, frequent inspections must be conducted to uphold the integrity of this storage method.
This method is perfect when making the most of a vertical space in a warehouse, with the option to have multiple tiers and ability to add or remove layers when necessary. This is great as you can customise your shelving to suit your warehouse. You have to pay close attention to weight with this method, frequently monitoring to ensure the shelves can handle the load. Therefore, multi-tier racking is commonly used when storing items of smaller weight and size and items are stored manually, due to the accessibility of the multiple tiers restricting automation. This can be seen as a negative; as storing and collecting this way can take a considerable amount of time, but this can be helped by organising inventory tactically.
It’s important to add, that you can also apply more than one of these storage methods if necessary. For example, if on the most part you need your stock to be readily accessible, but also have products that need to be stored with security in mind, you can have a mixture of static and mobile shelving.
While you’re here, you’ll probably find it equally as useful to learn about the different types of packaging for products. From shrink wrap to cardboard boxes, we explore four different types, outlining the best uses for each one.