In warehousing and storage operations, when inventory is stored high on shelves, stacked on the floor, inserted into multiple levels of shelving, and moved around in mezzanine decks, there is one constant: things fall. They fall because they're stacked wrong. They fall because order pickers or forklifts hit them. Sometimes they fall for seemingly no reason. What should a warehouse manager do to prevent drops? MAXRAC shares with you.
Let's start with pallet racking because it's so common and the risk of falling items from racks is greater than anywhere else. When it comes to pallet racking, what steps can you take to reduce the risk of dropped items?
Proper horizontal pallet spacing: If your pallets are too close together, it will be difficult to get to them with a forklift. This increases the likelihood of drivers making mistakes and knocking adjacent pallets to the floor. Don't skimp on extra horizontal space.
Provide plenty of vertical space as well: When it comes to space between the beams, it's important to adjust the overall height of the load to the spacing of the beams in the rack system. Allow enough room for your drivers to maneuver the pallets as they load and unload them.
Light up your warehouse: Dark conditions can lead to mistakes, and mistakes can lead to a lot of expensive inventory on the floor. Although shelf aisles are notoriously difficult to light, modern lighting systems are often offset by energy savings and tax credits.
Inspect your shelving regularly: make sure there are no bent frames, no missing beam clips, and no misaligned hardware. This should be done frequently and consistently.
Report all accidents: Make sure people report any rack collisions, even if there isn't any visible damage. Many companies treat these collisions as "no fault" to ensure that drivers can report them without fear of retaliation. You want to know as soon as possible if a column has been damaged.
Publish your capacity: Labeling systems are inexpensive and easy to apply. If you change your storage mix, be sure to get help because pallet racking capacity depends on beam spacing. Establish processes to ensure that shelves are not loaded with new items without first checking their size/capacity.
Place difficult items in "prime areas". Retailers store the most profitable, high-volume purchases on medium-range, line-of-sight, easy-to-reach shelves. Putting what you need most on shelves that are easier to reach means your pickers won't be reaching or stretching as often.
Mezzanines present a special challenge: Pickers can easily push a stored item to the other side where it can fall to the floor, which can lead to product damage and pose some danger to workers on the other side. To mitigate this, use an enclosed rear shelving unit or install safety nets on the outside of the shelves.
Please contact MAXRAC to find more warehouse solutions.