Posts

Increase Storage Capacity with Dense Storage Solutions

There can be many reasons why a distribution center or warehouse would increase storage density within their facility. Perhaps the company has grown but does not feel that investing in a new facility is the right move. Maybe they are changing their inventory strategy to combat future disruptions in the supply chain, so they want to add additional safety stock of popular products. They could even be adding a new set of products or SKUs and need to accommodate that capacity growth.

When a company is evaluating how to increase storage capacity, there comes the point in which the business needs to determine the best path to create additional storage without increasing the size of its footprint.

What do you do when you have more of each SKU on hand than you used to?

Dense Storage Solutions for Large Items

Pallet Rack Pushback Dense Solutions

Pushback Racking

  • Pushback Racking – Pushback racking uses a cart system that is pitched from back to front so that stored materials can gravity flow down into a pick position. When a new load is added, it pushes back pallets already on the rack. This system is ideal for Last-In, First-Out (LIFO) inventory management.
  • Pallet Flow Ideal for First-In, First Out (FIFO) inventory management, pallet flow is created when multiple pallets are added from the storage system load end, and rollers propel pallets downward toward a pick position at the opposite end of the system, allowing for efficient picking and unloading.
  • Pallet-Flows

    Pallet Flow

    Drive-In / Drive-Thru Drive-In and Drive-Thru racking allow forklift operators to either drive in or drive through racking to pick up or drop off pallets. Because the system requires fewer pick aisles, this style of racking can accommodate a more considerable amount of pallet space than standard racking systems.

  • Semi-Automated Deep Lane Storage With this storage system, a motorized cart (operated by a remote) is used to pick up pallets and transfer it along the storage lane. This type of racking is very user-friendly and allows for quick retrieval of pallets.

Dense Storage Solutions for Small Items

  • vertical-lift-machines

    Vertical Lift Machines

    Vertical Lift Machines (VLMs) VLMs are goods-to-man picking solutions that help deliver trays of smaller products to a pick area. These machines are typically suited for small cube and slower-moving items.

  • Mini-Load AS/RS – Mini-load automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) are a storage system that will automatically store and retrieve products under 350 pounds within an engineered rack system. These systems allow warehouses to have a smaller storage footprint by creating a vertical, automated storage system.

Several options are available, and the right storage medium will depend on the items you are warehousing. Once you determine the correct solution for your operations, you will also need to reconfigure your picking operation to maximize pick efficiency. Of course, we are here to help you throughout the decision-making process and be a partner that guides you to the correct decision.

No matter what challenges you are seeing, we have the expertise to match you with the appropriate solution suited to meet those challenges while accounting for future growth. Give us a call today!

Dense Storage Solution

Warehouse managers are frequently challenged to find efficiencies in their processes, their workflows, and, most often, their storage capabilities. With dense storage solutions, warehouses managers get a solution for their problems in storage capacity by storing more product in less space.

However, finding the right storage solution may not always be as simple as asking, “Which mix of storage mediums gives me the best capacity?”.

There are several other factors to consider, including inventory style, pick process, product dimensions, and much more.

Whether warehouse managers are looking to assess and redesign their layout, or they are designing a new facility layout altogether, dense storage solutions are certainly a viable option for increasing capacity. While the three most popular options – drive-in, pushback, and pallet flow – are relatively simple to understand, which is the best for your operation? The answer may be easier to solve than you may think.

Pushback Racking

Pushback rack is a storage system that incorporates a sliding device to feed several pallets into the same pick location by “pushing back” the previous pallet. The pallets then gravity feed back to the pick location in the rack as they are removed. This type of dense storage lends itself well to a Last-In, First Out (LIFO) inventory style because, quite literally, the last pallet placed in the pushback rack is the first pallet available for picking. Typically, pushback racks are capable of storing up to six pallets at each pick location.

Drive-In and Drive-Thru Racking

Drive-in racking and drive-through racking are both similar in that they are designed for forklift operators to enter the racking system for picking purposes. However, the difference is that drive-thru racking allows the operator to pass through the rack. Drive-in/drive-thru racking is a popular storage medium because it is typically less expensive than other dense storage options. However, these styles of racking also typically accommodate less storage capacity due to ‘honeycombing’ or storage utilization challenges.

Pallet Flow

Another high-density storage system that works with storing multiple pallets in a rack is pallet flow. Pallets are loaded into the back of the rack and picked at the front. Sometimes referred to as gravity flow or dynamic flow, this system uses a slight decline plane to store pallets, allowing them to “gravity flow” toward the picking position as pallets are removed.

Which Dense Storage Solution is Best for You?

Ultimately, there are many factors to consider when determining the best mix of storage solutions for your operations. Our experts are here to guide you and walk you through the process to determine what is the optimal use of storage mediums for your facility. We have years of experience with hundreds of projects involving dense storage solutions and the expertise to match you with the equipment you need to meet today’s demands, while also factoring in growth potential.

Contact us today to get started at 800.474.2001 and let us talk about your current needs and how we can help you plan for integrating dense storage solutions.

dense storage solutions

As a natural byproduct of business cycles, warehouses need to be flexible as storage needs ebb and flow. During periods of economic growth, these warehouses need to find ways to increase capacity without increasing the facility size. Similarly, as a result of new equipment or new inventory profiles, managers are often tasked with finding ways to decrease their layout’s footprint while maintaining (or even increasing) their storage capacity.

In our experience, many small-to-medium-sized companies are unfamiliar with the benefits of introducing dense storage solutions. Often, these companies are more familiar with a traditional, selective pallet rack option. Depending on your inventory, there may be an opportunity to install dense storage racking at this stage of a business cycle. But first, before you evaluate those options, managers should make sure they design the optimal plan.

Perform a Facility Design Assessment

Whatever steps you decide to take, know that your best bet for an optimal result may begin with a complete facility design assessment. Our experts can look at your layout and provide suggestions for the optimal design for your operation. Our experts can help you take the guesswork out of the process.

Integrate Smart Slotting Data

Primarily, Smart Slotting introduces a data-centric approach to optimizing your picking process. The tool measures operational and storage costs against the volume of your picking demand to give you the optimal inventory slotting strategy. However, this approach also improves your ability to increase capacity by moving SKUs to the best possible storage media types.

Are You Ready for Dense Storage Solutions?

If you have large quantities of pallets on hand for each item you are storing, dense storage may be right for you. Let’s look at the options:

  • Pushback: These are systems in which pallets are stored on a cart system on a slight pitch so pallets can gravity flow back down to the front location as pallets are removed from the system. Pushback racking is ideal for Last-In, First-Out (LIFO) inventory systems or First-In, First-Out (FIFO) inventory for larger lot/date code SKUs. These systems often utilize nested carts, which make the placement and retrieval of products easy.
  • Pallet FlowPallet flow rack is an ideal option for warehouses that operate on a First-In, First Out (FIFO) inventory system & have large quantities of pallets on hand per SKU. This flexible racking system can be designed to your desired depth to maximize your capacity & utilization of the storage system. Pallet flow systems are customizable and uniquely designed for your products.
  • Drive-In / Drive-Thru: Drive-In and Drive-Thru racking are similar in that they increase storage density & require fewer aisles in your warehouse. The main difference between the two is Drive-In racking is accessible via forklift by one end. Drive-Thru racking is accessible from both ends. Drive-In & Drive-Thru racking work best for operations with really large quantities of pallets on hand per item. The best applications have the same SKU stored from the ground to the top & from the front to the back in each lane of the storage system. To keep utilization high, it is also ideal to have multiple lanes of Drive-In or Drive-Thru racking filled with the same item.
  • Semi-Automated Deep Lane Systems: These systems allow an operator to utilize a semi-automated cart to move packages into dense storage racking. This system can integrate perfectly with both LIFO and FIFO inventory systems. Semi-automated deep lane systems are often 25-40 pallets deep & work great for operations that have lots of pallets on hand per SKU & relatively high throughput requirements. These modern systems are fast and extremely easy to use, also utilizing green technology to operate.

Whenever you are ready to talk about your dense storage solutions, we are here for you. To get started, contact us and we can look at your inventory profile and share how our design-based solutions can increase storage space and ultimately increase your warehouse’s capacity.

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.