Industrial Shelving: Difference Between Racking and Shelving
Any business owner or warehouse manager worth their salt knows the importance of good inventory organisation. Incorrectly managed inventory leads to puzzled workers walking around a maze of products wasting time trying to find the right items to ship out. In today’s fast-paced economy, the old cliché of time is money holds true, and good storage solutions pay dividends over time.
Optimising your inventory storage begins with a deep understanding of a few key factors. What are the products in your inventory? What are the features of your warehouse? Do you need mobile shelving or racking? With these questions in mind, we can take a look at the differences between two common systems for your storage needs. Namely, racking and shelving.
What is Racking?
When you imagine a large warehouse with rows of pallets that need a forklift or two for loading and unloading, you’re thinking about racking. Typically used for storing heavy loads, racking systems are laid out in several bays and are usually higher and wider than shelving systems.
Advantages of Racking System
If your business or inventory consists of products that are bulky or heavy, then a racking system is a must. Anchored securely to the ground, racking systems are stronger than stainless steel shelves and have been built to ensure they can handle loads with ease. They also must be able to withstand accidental knocks by forklifts without collapsing.
A well-built racking system should allow for quick location and retrieval of any product in your warehouse. Even taking into account the height of the stacks and generally larger floorspace required.
Racking also has the advantage of providing better storage density as in many cases, it can allow for greater vertical storage. Since racking is usually paired with equipment like forklifts, cherry pickers, or other mechanised systems, storing items out of reach is not an issue.
Comparison with Shelving systems
While racking systems are great for many applications, there are also downsides and situations where it might be better to opt for industrial shelving over racking.
Right off the bat, shelving systems are cheaper to set up and better suited for businesses that do not need their storage solutions to cater for heavy loads or unwieldy and expensive equipment. Warehousing can also be smaller and more cost-effective. The many different shelving products available, such as steel or wire chrome shelving, also allow businesses to pick the ones that best meet their needs.
If your inventory consists of a wide variety of unique light-weight products, then shelving would be the appropriate choice. The inventory organisation that comes with an efficiently managed shelving system is unmatched.
Simply put, shelving systems are meant for employees or customers to pick up the items that they need with little requirement for additional manpower or equipment. Unique systems such as mobile shelving build on this simplicity to provide an elegant and space-saving solution to your storage needs.
Whether you ultimately go with a racking set-up, or opt for shelving, the most important step is to brainstorm and understand your business needs before doing the appropriate research. While on the surface, picking the right storage solution might seem like a trivial task, a little bit of effort goes a long way and your employees and bottom line will thank you later.
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