Posts

Productive Budget Uses

As we enter the fourth fiscal quarter of the year, we are often talking with clients about quick, simple additions, products, and new initiatives to try with the remainder of their annual budget. As operations managers look toward 2021, there are typically several options that can increase productivity, keep employees safe, or offer new benefits to your operations.

Whether you are sitting on $3,000 or $300,000, closing out the year on a productive note is a pivotal way to build momentum to start next year on a positive note. After a tumultuous year like 2020 – one that offered (and still offers) a high degree of uncertainty, this may be an excellent time to see a return on a relatively minor investment.

Below are four of the most common suggestions we offer our clients when they talk to us about the challenges they see in today’s environment with an eye on utilizing the remainder of their allocated budgetary funds.

Rack Additions to Support Facility Volume

Carton Flow FlextrakAmong the most common challenges we see from our clients is finding new and creative ways to increase storage volume and quicken the fulfillment process without expanding the facility’s footprint. Adding rack additions that can support a more efficient pick process is an easy way to see a return on investment without breaking the bank. One example of this would be adding carton flow systems or replacing full-width roller tracks with polycarbonate skate wheel tracks. Why? The beds formed with the latter option creates a full flow bed, adding flexibility without needing to reconfigure your racking. You can learn more about the pros and cons of different carton flow systems here.

Safety Products Focused on Employee Protection

driver-cagesWe have recently highlighted a group of warehouse safety products that assist facilities in adjusting to “the new normal” we are all experiencing. From building access cages to automated smart disinfection solutions, there are various products available to keep your employees safe. In a world where operations managers are looking to reduce labor costs and labor uncertainty, these products can offer a quick return by keeping your associates active and productive.

Safety Products Focused on Rack Protection

Safety Equipment and ProductsThe old phrase, “prevention is better than the cure,” certainly pertains to warehouse management. By installing warehouse safety products like building protector columns, end-of-aisle protectors, safety guard rails, or upright protection, you can prevent damage to your equipment that may arise from forklift accidents or improper storage methods. Our design consultants have decades of experience in seeing what products are ideal for any distribution center, and we’ve worked with businesses across North America as a trusted ally in their safety efforts.

Damaged Rack Repairs and Replacements

Damaged RackBy following the Rack Manufacturers Institute’s guidelines, rack safety surveys should be conducted annually at the very minimum. However, in warehouses with high traffic areas, narrow aisles, transfer aisles, or cold environments, the RMI suggests performing these surveys as frequently as once per month. If you have damaged equipment, we can recommend both pre-owned or new equipment, based on your needs. The preowned equipment we store in our 330,000 square-foot warehouse is protected from the elements and has all passed our Certified Pre-Owned standards, offering additional savings to the distribution centers looking to save on their replacement costs.

Let’s Talk!

Wherever you are in your project planning stage, we are here to offer advice and solutions to suit your needs. We are always looking for new ways to support our partners and clients, and whether you are planning that major project in 2021 or just looking to end 2020 on a positive note, we are ready to get started. Give us a call today!

Carton Flow Blog

Warehouse managers are often tasked with finding new and innovative ways to increase storage capacity while increasing speed and effectiveness in order fulfillment operations. Carton flow, also known as case flow or gravity flow, features various storage options that may be the right solution for your facility.

A carton flow system can be an ideal way to improve picking speeds and storage capacity within a warehouse. These systems consist of tracking and rollers that use gravity to push products through a pallet rack. As an item is picked from the rack’s front, the package behind it gravity feeds into the front position, ready to be selected.

This storage style is ideal for a warehouse set up for case picking or each picking. This process allows for each SKU to have a dedicated pick face, helping the picker with the accuracy of an order. Because a lot of SKUs can be presented for picking in a bay of rack, that means shortened travel with a reduced pick path, increasing throughput. It allows you to get more done at a faster rate because you are making a shorter run.

One additional benefit is that these can be installed into standard pallet rack, with the tracks being dropped into hangers that attach to the beams. These systems can be designed to fit multiple sizes of cartons, bins, and boxes to accommodate different SKU sizes.

Traditionally, there are two downsides to carton flow picking. Because someone (or something) physically places the boxes into storage, then another person retrieves them, there are additional material touches with each pick. The extra step may slow down some processes that require high throughput to remain effective.

With this storage method, products are automatically sorted for a first-in, first-out inventory system.

There are many different styles of carton flow available and finding the right mix of these may be the way to turn your warehouse into a more profitable fulfillment operation that maximizes its storage capacity.

Spantrak Carton FlowFull-Width Roller Tracks

Pros: Typically, this style of racking is suitable for heavy loads because of its durability and ability to withstand abuse. It offers higher capacity on a per-square-foot basis, so this type of racking is often found in beverage storage situations where there is a need to store heavy cases of product.

Cons: The downside of the durability is that this style of racking is rigid in its configuration. It offers almost zero flexibility after it is assembled (without tearing it down and re-assembling, of course). For instance, if you have 15″ wide lanes and the packaging size for that product changes, you have to get new lanes to accommodate the updated package.

Example: UNEX’s SpanTrack Carton Flow Lane

Carton Flow FlextrakPolycarbonate Skate Wheel Tracks

Pros: These polycarbonate skate wheel tracks essentially make a level of carton flow lanes a full flow bed. Since carton lanes are not configured ahead of time, this style of racking is very flexible in terms of the package sizes that can flow through the storage. Meaning, if your product size or packaging type changes, then you will not have to reconfigure this system. It is also relatively easy to install into new or existing racks.

Cons: Because there are no pre-defined lanes, this racking style makes it easier to change pick faces frequently. However, if your warehouse is relatively static in terms of the number of SKUs in inventory & their packaging, there may be lower-cost alternatives for carton flow storage.

Example: Engineered Products’ Flextrak Bed Carton Flow

Carton-Flow-Plastic-RollersSmall-Diameter Plastic Wheel Carton Flow In Shelves

Pros: Small-diameter plastic wheel carton flow is a light-weight shelf and track system that can be flexible in that it allows for adjustments as product or packaging changes. This style of racking is ideal for lighter-weight products that will not damage the light-duty carton flow during use. While it is used in a low percentage of carton flow applications today, this type of racking has historically been popular because of its low initial cost.

Cons: Because of the plastic wheel’s small diameter, this type of racking is not built to store large or heavy packages. It is also susceptible to damage due to its light-weight design.

Example: Gauer Metal’s Flow-Track Option

Carton Flow Heavy DutyHeavy-Duty Carton Flow

Pros: Heavy-Duty Carton Flow is an excellent option if you are storing very heavy or bulky items like automotive parts, and you have concerns about the durability of your carton flow racking. Like the polycarbonate skate wheel tracks, this carton flow style offers a full bed of rollers, though snap-in wire dividers are also available. The main difference is that the rollers are full steel, offering additional durability with an estimated 40% higher weight capacity.

Cons: With the added durability, there comes a higher initial cost in material and installation for heavy-duty carton flow.

Example:3D Storage Solutions’ Heavy Duty Carton Flow Applications

To find the option best for you, talk with an expert. Our team of Storage Solutions experts has decades of experience finding creative solutions for nearly any use case. We can walk you through what may be best for your warehouse and see if carton flow is ideal for increasing your storage capacity and optimizing your fulfillment operations.

Picking Solutions Storage Solutions

At Storage Solutions, we pride ourselves on offering customers a solution for every square foot of their operation. We group our solutions into four main categories. These include simple, dense, picking and specialty solutions.

Simple Solutions

If you’re looking for a basic storage solution to get your facility organized, then our simple solutions might be just what you need. Our simple offerings include pallet rack, shelving, mezzanines and more. Within those categories, we offer a variety of styles, colors and capacities designed to work with whatever your needs may be.

Dense Solutions

Our dense solutions are perfect for anyone trying to decrease their facility footprint. Dense solutions include pushback, pallet flow, drive in/drive thru, and semi-automated deep lane storage. These solutions allow you to maximize your facility storage by using the space you have to the fullest.

Picking Solutions

If your main goal within your operation is to increase efficiency and decrease labor costs, then a picking solution may be the best option for you. These solutions include pick modules, carton flow, and light-duty cantilever. Any of these options will provide the boost you need in your day-to-day operations.

Specialty Solutions

Finally, we have our specialty solution offering. If you have a need that seems somewhat out of the ordinary, then one of our specialty solutions can probably help! These include tube rack, dual load, drive-in and cantilever. These solutions are perfect for high seismic areas, for storing oddly shaped items and more!

Regardless of what your needs are, we have a team of experts in place to analyze your operation and help. We love working with our customers to make sure all of their needs are being met. Learn more about our storage solutions here or contact us today to help you select the best possible solution for your facility.

Tight Deadlines in Flint Michigan

Have hard deadlines? Need to continue operations during install? No problem! Storage Solutions is here to accommodate all of your warehouse needs and make sure your project goes off without a hitch. Let us be the ones to take on your project!

Our latest warehouse project took us up north to Pure Michigan. With tight deadlines and the need to stay open during installation, we had our work cut out for us.

Products Installed:

  • Pallet Racking with Skatewheel
  • Carton Flow
  • Wire Mesh Backstops
  • Wire Decking

Project Details

The customer had a firm deadline for the project’s completion. Storage Solutions had to install runs of racking in one area, then move to another area to install. This was so the customer associates could load the racking and train on picking while we completed the install. This was an active facility throughout the entire project.

SSI install leaders and project managers worked directly with the customer to ensure a fluid transition.  This allowed us to keep install moving along efficiently while the customer could also stay up with daily operations. In the end, we were able to complete the project 4 days ahead of schedule!

Click here for a time-lapse video of the project!

Convenience Store Giant

At Storage Solutions, we are all about selling solutions. When our customer needed racking for their convenience store warehouse in a high seismic zone, but didn’t have the room for the extra large base-plates, our team was able to solve the problem with tube rack!

Their Problem / Our solution:

The customer needed new racking in a new warehouse to serve a convenience store giant.  The warehouse is located in a high seismic zone, and standard racking would require very large base-plates.

Our team utilized tube racking, and the base-plate size was greatly reduced allowing more product space on the floor.

Products installed

  • Tube Rack
  • Wire Decking
  • Pallet Supports
  • Gravity Conveyor
  • Carton Flow
  • Trucker Cage
  • Guarding Products

Check out our Case Study page for a time-lapse video of the installation and to learn more about the project!

shelving down the aisle of a warehouse

At Storage Solutions, we make sure that we put 110% into every job that we do, and we are always ecstatic to hear that our customers agree.  By purchasing used equipment from our inventory, we were able to save this customer over $100,000!  We kept it local for this project; working on a warehouse just outside downtown Indianapolis, and we received great feedback from our customer!

To help keep our customer operational in their main warehouse, we put a project plan together to provide seed rack in the new 85,000 square foot building out of SSI used stock, and we then broke the rest of the project into 4 stages, each beginning with dismantling a portion of their current building and installing at the new location. We added rack protection everywhere we could and replaced all of the customer’s uprights that were damaged or too short, hence maximizing the taller ceiling heights in the new building.

HIGHLIGHTS:

1. Everything we sold them came out of our used inventory

2. We were able to make a lot of last minute changes that saved them money

3. We are providing a credit to them for any material they didn’t want to use at the new building (primarily damaged uprights and some misc. beams).

4. We handled all of the design aspects of their layout to maximize the space

5. The customer took advantage of the opportunity to sell their previous materials back to us, which resulted in even more overall savings.

We tore down some old material for our customer, over 3,500 pallet positions and 450 carton flow pick facings.  We then installed their new equipment, over 5,000 pallet positions and nearly 1,000 carton flow pick facings.

Customer satisfaction is paramount for us, so we made sure that we were with them every step of the way.  Our customer had this to say, “Even with a few bumps to overcome during the project, Storage Solutions always kept our needs first and made changes to make sure we were pleased.”

View the full case study here and call us today and let us be the ones to take care of your warehouse project!

healthcare supply distributor

Quick turnaround and exceptional project management set Storage Solutions apart from our competitors with this Indiana healthcare supply distributor!

Products Installed:

  • 1,500 Sections of pallet rack
  • 65 sections of carton flow
  • 125 sections of shelving
  • Battery charger stations
  • Safety equipment including guardrail, dome mirrors, bollards & safety netting

Their Problem / Our Solution: 

The customer wanted new pallet rack very quickly.  Our strategic purchasing schedule and partnership with vendors allowed Storage Solutions to meet their deadlines and avoid lengthy lead times.

Our customer had these nice things to say:

“Storage Solutions made it easy.  Throughout the design process and with your crew leader onsite, we didn’t have to worry about anything.”

Storage Solutions offers design services, project management and installation services so you don’t have to worry about a thing. If you’re trying to outfit hundreds of thousands of square feet anew, or just trying to fine-tune your pick process for maximum speed, we deliver more than the materials you need, we deliver the right result.

Learn more about this project and watch the time lapsed video here! Storage Solutions offers a variety of products and services to help plan your next project, from beginning to end. Contact us today to get started!

For Part 1 of this blog, we covered the different components of pallet rack and how to determine which type you need for your operation. Part 2 is going to cover the different types of pallet rack systems!

pallet rack

Types of Pallet Rack:

Selective

  • Most common pallet rack used
  • Efficient when you have a low quantity of SKUs
  • Easy accessibility
  • Least dense

Double Deep

  • Fewer forklift aisles
  • Less selectivity
  • More storage density than selective rack

Drive In

  • Load and retrieve from the same side, creating LIFO inventory retrieval
  • Efficient when you have large quantities of different SKUs
  • Low selectivity
  • Cost effective
  • High density
  • Requires fewer forklift aisles

Push Back

  • Similar to drive in
  • Allows you to store pallets 2-5 deep and still have easy access to different SKUs
  • This system uses steel carts on inclined rails, and uses gravity flow to move product towards the pick aisles
  • Cost effective
  • High density
  • LIFO

Drive Thru

  • Pallet racking system that loads from one side and unloads from the other to create FIFO inventory retrieval.
  • Forklifts can enter from both aisles on either side of the rack
  • Low selectivity
  • High density
  • Excellent option for freezers

Pallet Flow

  • Similar to drive thru
  • This system uses wheels or rollers on sloped beam levels, and uses gravity flow to move product towards the pick aisle
  • It is perfect for fast-moving product with FIFO inventory retrieval
  • High-density

Carton Flow

  • Uses a gravity feed rear load design
  • Merchandise is loaded in the rear of each runway, and as an item is removed from the front, the item behind it slides forward on inclined rails in place of the previous item
  • FIFO

Cantilever

  • Elongated storage, furniture rack, tube rack, lumber rack
  • Single sided or double sided
  • Various heights and widths between uprights and lengths of the arms
  • High selectivity
  • Can use decking to span arms to create a solid level

If you have additional question or would like more information on any racking system, give us a call at 866.474.2001 or contact your sales representative!

Storage Solutions has a large quantity of used Carton Flow available! Call us at 866.474.2001 for purchasing details and additional information.

NOTE: All items are subject to prior sale.

carton flow

Kingway Carton Flow Uprights – 42″D x 162″H | QTY: 540

Kingway Carton Flow Beds – 60″W x 96″D | QTY: 136

Kingway Carton Flow Beds – 96″W x 48″D | QTY: 388

Kingway Carton Flow Beds – 96″W x 105″D | QTY: 441

Interlake Carton Flow Beds – 124″W x 96″D | QTY: 1500

carton flow rackCarton Flow Rack is a form of pallet rack that uses a gravity feed rear load design. One unit is made up of one or more inclined runways.  The cartons are loaded on one side of the system and picked out of the other end. When one item is removed, the item behind it moves forward in its place. The product is rotated on a first in first out basis (FIFO). This system is designed for high volume order picking and reduced operator activity.

Benefits:

  • Lower labor costs
  • Less product damage
  • Better inventory control because items are better organized and easier to locate
  • Similar to pallet flow just on a smaller scale

For more information on carton flow rack systems, contact our online sales team at 866.474.2001!

Source: Unex