Choosing Warehouse Racking: a Ten Tip Checklist for Getting it Right First Time

When selecting racking for your warehouse it can be daunting knowing where to start. Choosing the wrong kind of racking may at best lead to an adverse effect on the efficiency of your warehouse or, at worst, an expensive re-fit within a short timeframe.

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Here’s our Ten Tip Checklist to help you select the right racking first time.


Budget the project

The first thing to consider is the projected cost of your new racking – as well as the cost of designing and installing your solution.

It’s not always about going for the cheapest. You still need to ensure that the racking you select will fulfil your requirements, but beware of cutting corners.

Our advice is to consider the ‘best solution cost’ rather than simply going for the cheapest standard pallet racking. If you require a more specialist storage solution, be prepared to spend a little more for systems such as ‘pallet flow’ or ‘push back’ racking as well as enlisting the help of planning and installation specialists.

Know your storage requirements

Keep in mind during selection that different types of racking have specialised relevance for particular types of products.

For instance, standard or ‘narrow aisle’ pallet racking systems are great options if you store large pallets of varying, medium-to-large goods, but if your business handles or produces small parts or individual components, ‘carton flow’ racking might be more appropriate.

Each type of racking has a different set of uses purposes, so try to ensure you select the best option for your particular needs.

Plan for scalability

Further down the line you may require additional storage and some types of racking systems will be easier to expand than others.

Look for racking systems that are modular i.e. are planned for adding on to. Factors to consider will be the ease of scalability, effort required and the predicted growth in your business.

If your output seems to have levelled out however, it may be smarter to stick with systems that allow for optimal efficiency at the present time.

Height Utilisation

Wasted space is wasted money and well-designed warehouse racking solutions will aim to minimise the amount of floor space wastage.

The option to expand upwards may sound obvious, yet many warehouse owners or operators neglect the vast amount of space available from vertical expansion.

Racking systems such as ‘high bay’ racking can dramatically increase your vertical storage capacity at a cost effective rate by reaching heights of up to 40 metres, potentially doubling the capacity offered by some other forms of racking.

Don’t forget to consider the additional cost of a racking crane for access to the higher levels if you do choose to implement this type of system.

Floor Utilisation

With finite floor space to install your pallet racking, a key requirement is to maximise the use of what’s available. The trade-off is between available floor space, the type of racking needed and the access required.

So while it may be easier and more obvious to use a single racking type, installing different forms of racking in addition to the standard pallet racking – such as ‘narrow aisle’ or ‘double deep’ racking – it is possible to increase capacity considerably.

Adjustability

As product lines develop, packaging is redesigned or lines are discontinued and replaced, it may be necessary to reconfigure and some cases make radical adjustments to your pallet racking.

Some systems can be adjusted more easily than others, so it is worth considering this when you select your racking.

‘Shuttle’, ‘cantilever’, ‘vertical’, and ‘carton live’ racking systems all provide excellent adjustability, whereas others such as ‘drive-in’ racking are less forgiving if they require adaptation.

Ease of Assembly

This is a particularly important factor to consider if you are intending to assemble your racking yourself, but will also affect construction time and costs if outsourced.

Many racking systems require specialist equipment or training to assemble safely, and most are heavily time consuming. Systems such as ‘cantilever’ racking have become popular due to the ease of assembly and quick build times.

Watch the video on our home page to see what’s involved in assembling pallet racking.

Robustness

With forklifts and other vehicles moving around inside the warehouse, and constant movement of large, heavy pallets and other goods, factoring in the durability and toughness of your racking is important.

Most forms of racking are designed to withstand the day-to-day rigours of warehouse life, but if extra strength and durability are go for ‘heavy duty’ racking.

Access

The access you need to your racked products depends on the type of goods, the rate of stock rotation and movement and your operational systems for dispatch.

Planning access to warehouse goods is so fundamental to warehouse design that it may seem obvious, but we have seen cases where the alignment of the type of racking with access requirements has not been sufficiently thought through – with obvious consequences.

Versatility

For warehouses that store a wide variety of products, or where stock rotates on a seasonal basis, the versatility of your racking will be a major point to consider. Some racking systems are limited in the variety of different goods they can be used to store.

The answer is that if your stock rotation, access requirements and variety of goods are all likely to change frequently, your racking needs to be able to as flexible and versatile as possible to support your needs.


Selecting the best racking for your warehouse can seem like a daunting task, but may only be the tip of the iceberg in selecting and installing your warehouse racking solution.

Our advice is to consult warehouse design and installation experts such as Acorn Warehouse Solutions before making any decisions.

Contact Acorn on 01799 532024 or email admin@awsltd.biz