6 Practical Pallet-Storage Methods to Optimize Warehouse Operations

Kent Gigger
June 22, 2022
6 practical pallet-storage methods to optimize warehouse operations, Fishbowl Blog

Warehouse optimization requires assessing numerous interlinked aspects and understanding how they influence each other. Appropriate pallet-storage methods are also vital for ensuring quick access and promoting smooth warehouse movement. Learning about and applying pallet-racking tips can improve worker output and safety.

1. Single-Deep Rack

The single-deep rack system is one of the most commonly utilized options in today’s warehouses. One of its advantages is it allows unrestricted access to every pallet.

Something to keep in mind is that this option offers the lowest density among rack-based storage options. It remains a popular choice for warehouse optimization because it is a relatively inexpensive possibility to implement.

2. Double-Deep Rack

This arrangement provides twice the storage capacity as the previously described method because it involves using two single racks. However, one of the downsides of this pallet-storage approach is that access to the rear row of pallets can only happen once the front pallets are empty.

Additionally, companies typically must have deep-reach lift trucks to access pallets in the rearmost position. However, this option can be viable for businesses specializing in products with medium to long-term shelf life.

3. Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS)

Many company decisionmakers have pursued various forms of automation to improve how well their warehouses run. Walmart has robots that retrieve items and put them on item-specific pallets to make unloading easier once the products reach their destinations. When people look for pallet-racking tips, there’s a good chance they’ll come across content about automated storage and retrieval systems.

An India-based pharmaceutical company recently invested in one after leaders sought to make more progress in expanding their business footprint in the United States. The installed system handles the inbound and outbound storage and retrieval of more than 80 pallets per hour. It also allowed for a 450% expansion in storage capacity, rising to 34,000 from an initial 7,000 pallets.

4. Roll Cradles for Compatible Parts

Many pallets store cylindrical components used for equipment in industries ranging from food processing to textiles. However, devising a reliable system for keeping those components secure during transit and handling is essential for mitigating preventable losses. 

Molded roll cradles protect these parts from damage while supporting a warehouse’s space-saving measures. Some types keep the components sufficiently compacted while stored on a pallet but have adequate cushioning to safeguard against excessive pressure. Choosing the appropriate size and material for roll cradles is critical for getting the best results.

5. Drive-In Racks

Anyone considering how pallet-racking could positively affect existing workflows should first assess their warehouse layout and any time-sensitivity needs. Drive-in racks utilize the last-in-first-out — also known as LIFO — principle, so they’re ideal for products with shorter shelf lives.

This arrangement for pallet racking includes up to 10 load spaces used by forklift operators. These spaces allow them to drive in and out of the designated areas to store or retrieve pallets as needed. This approach enables maximum storage space utilization because there is no need to leave aisle space for loading or picking. Additionally, each pallet row can rest right next to another.

6. Block Stacking

Although many warehouses establish pallet-racking options, another possibility is to try block stacking. This arrangement requires putting pallets on top of each other after setting up lanes or blocks. This is another storage method that uses the LIFO principle.

Professionals often consider this the least expensive or complicated option because it does not need a racking system to work. Warehouse managers only need a sufficient amount of floor space to implement it. However, an effect called honeycombing can occur. It happens because there’s no way to fill empty spaces until a whole lane is clear.

Reasons to Try a Pallet-Storage Method

One of the most compelling reasons warehouse leaders get strategic about pallet storage for warehouse optimization is that it allows for making the most of the available square footage. Many company representatives find they must offer a continually larger product assortment to remain competitive. Putting the most well-established pallet-racking tips into action can help them do that while supporting smooth traffic flow in busy facilities. 

Pallet arrangements can also aid in better record-keeping at facilities. Many managers use inventory management solutions to improve product tracking. Implementing a practical system for storing pallets can help people use tools such as barcode scanners more effectively to get accurate counts of the items a warehouse has at any given time.

Having a specific method of pallet storage also reduces factory floor obstacles. Then, employee productivity should go up, and people will be less likely to have accidents.

Use These Pallet-Racking Tips for Warehouse Optimization

Knowing about the differences between these common ways to store pallets makes it easier for people to choose between them when their primary goal is to improve how a facility operates. However, getting the best outcomes from warehouse optimization efforts also requires training employees to grasp the new system and allowing them enough time to adjust to different processes.