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Distributor's Link Magazine Spring 2019 / Vol 42 No2

58 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

58 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK STEEL KING INDUSTRIES INC. 2700 Chamber Street, Stevens Point, WI 54481 TEL 1-800-826-0203 EMAIL info@steelking.com WEB www.steelking.com PALLET FLOW RACK CAN BE A WAREHOUSE MANAGER’S BEST FRIEND by Ryan Wachsmuth When properly designed to meet the specific inventory and storage requirements, pallet flow racks maximize storage space and improve shipping logistics. Any warehouse or distribution center with limited floor space that needs high density storage or automatic rotation of inventory on a first-in, first-out (FIFO) basis can benefit by implementing pallet flow storage racks. However, achieving the full performance capabilities of this type of rack system requires careful planning and implementation. When this is done properly, pallet flow systems can be the warehouse manager’s best friend; without it, the system may underperform expectations. Simply defined, this type of racking system is designed so that when the pallet in front is removed by a forklift, the pallets behind gently “flow” forward to replace it. Inclined tracks, rollers, and brakes – with an assist from gravity – are used to accomplish this task. New inventory is then loaded at the back end of the rack, facilitating FIFO product rotation, which is particularly valuable for items with expiration dates. In this type of “dynamic” racking approach, goods can be stored 3, 10, even 20 pallets deep and on multiple levels. This eliminates the need for wide aisles between every row of traditional “static” rack required for forklift access and maneuverability. By storing more palletized goods in less space, facility managers can dramatically increase the amount of inventory in a specific warehouse footprint or, on the flip side, reduce the amount of space required for new warehouse construction. Compared to traditional fixed racking, a high density INCLINED TRACKS, ROLLERS, AND BRAKES – WITH AN ASSIST FROM GRAVITY – ARE USED IN THE STEEL KING RACKING DESIGN pallet flow system can essentially cut the required square footage for a warehouse in half. The savings can be significant in terms of reduced property and building costs. There are substantial logistical benefits to using a dynamic rack system as well. Pallet flow rack can drastically reduce the labor required to pick pallets, because a forklift is only needed for initial loading of the pallets as well as final unloading. With static racks, forklifts must travel further down aisles and often must spend time rearranging inventory to access the correct items. When a large number of pallets with a single product SKU are routinely loaded into trucks, locating the pallet flow rack near the loading dock can also minimize the distance that forklifts travel to as little as 20 feet each way, which speeds material handling. Even pallets with varied SKUs that are being shipped to the same location can be located near each other to further speed truck loading. BUSINESS FOCUS ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 130

THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK 59

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