The different types of warehouse storage systems

Warehouse storage systems can mean the difference between a good warehouse and a bad warehouse. Having the correct storage systems in place will not only keep your goods safe but also helps improve efficiency. We cover the different types of warehouse storage systems and how it affects storage.

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What are warehouse storage systems?

In warehouse storage, a storage system is a process of organising and safely storing any goods within a warehouse facility. Different storage systems exist to cater for storing a range of items, such as specially designed pallet racks.

Other storage systems will be reinforced to withstand much heavier loads. The efficient use of storage systems can help to make better use of the available space. It also helps to keep the items being stored from damage.

Using the right storage systems in an efficient layout also helps to improve the speed and efficiency of both the warehouse and any dependent supply chains. Not only can this help reduce overheads, but it also helps you to better meet demand (something your customers will thank you for!).

As storage systems exist in different sizes, space isn’t wasted storing items on a system too large. It also reduces the risk of damage caused by storing items on a system too small.

Why warehouse storage?

There are many great benefits to choosing warehouse and pallet storage for your business. Benefits include:

  • Helping you to meet supply chain and customer demands
  • Provides a safe and secure solution for storing items
  • Third-party providers may offer other courier services
  • Can help you save money in the long term
  • Pick and pack services may be available
  • Improved distribution and inventory management
  • Reduces health and safety risks

What are the different warehouse storage systems?

As already mentioned, the choice of a warehouse storage system is dependent on the items being stored. Different storage systems exist to cater for different sizes, weights, item quantities, and item characteristics. Let’s go through the different storage systems and their best uses.

Pallet racking

The first and most commonly used type of warehouse storage system is pallet racking. Pallet racking is used for stacking and storing pallet loads of any size and weight. Different pallet racks cater for different weights. This type of storage system is the most popular.

Pallets are stored on pallet racks by material handling equipment, such as a forklift, depending on the size and height. A pallet may sometimes be stored on racking by hand if on a lower ground level. Small and medium-sized warehouses will make extensive use of this racking.

Pallet racking allows for the storage of pallets either stacked on top of one another or on separate shelving spaces. Pallet racking can hold loads secured on wood, metal, or plastic pallets. There can be several types of pallet racking, including double deep, carton flow, narrow aisle, and coil racking.

Static shelving

Another type of warehouse storage system is shelving. Shelving warehouse storage involves storing items on a static shelving unit, usually consisting of multiple rows of shelves. Ideally suited for continuous replenishing cycles.

Shelving storage systems are more suited for storing small and lightweight items that can be readily picked by hand. These units are not suited for material handling equipment and are much more suited for quick picking (the same way you would pick up items at the supermarket).

Items such as machine parts or products are ideal items for storing on static shelving units. Storing heavy items can cause damage to both the shelving unit and the items.

Mobile shelving

Similar to static shelving, mobile shelving is another type of warehouse storage system. As the name suggests, mobile shelving is adjustable and can be moved. Usually fitted onto a carriage or rail system, mobile shelving can help save space by removing the aisle between every fixed shelving unit.

 Mobile shelving allows access to multiple shelves from a single working aisle. Each shelving unit automatically moves on the rail system installed into the floor so access can be made to the necessary shelving rack.

Unlike static shelving, mobile shelving can help make more efficient usage of space. Using mobile shelving allows for a warehouse to store many more items than would be possible with static shelving alone. This type of shelving is also ideally suited for cold storage of fresh produce.

Mezzanine flooring

Mezzanine flooring is another type of warehouse storage system for stacking items and provides an additional free-standing and elevated platform with which to store items. Usually made from metal, mezzanine flooring is ideal for adding multiple levels of storage.

However, mezzanine flooring can become expensive. It also requires significant space to install the additional platform levels (both height and diameter). However, it can prevent the need for investing in additional premises.

Designs have advanced in recent years too. Mezzanine flooring storage can also be customised with lift systems, conveyors, and lighting. Despite the higher price compared to other systems, it can provide a massive amount of additional space.

Multi-tier racking

The last warehouse storage system available is multi-tier racking. Warehouses that lack a wide floor space but have plenty of vertical space can benefit greatly from multi-tier racking. Multi-tier racking creates different levels of manual storage aisles, similar to flooring levels.

Using multi-tier racking helps you to maximise the available space available without overcrowding a facility. There is no limit on how tall you can create multi-tier racking (roof height permitting). The different levels can be accessed using either a stair or ladder (although scissor lifts can also be used).

Multi-tier is ideal for larger quantities of smaller items as this storage system offers very dense storage. Organising each tier strategically can help improve the efficiency of storage. This type of storage system does allow for flexibility and versatility according to the warehouse building though.

How can you optimise your warehouse storage space?

Now that we’ve covered each type of warehouse storage system, let’s look at some tips for optimising warehouse storage space. Optimising your space available helps make more space for storing items and makes it much easier for inventory management.

  • Make use of vertical space
  • Consider adding additional levels for extra space
  • Limit aisle space but still keep sufficient space for easy access
  • Make use of space not regularly used
  • Work out your space utilisation for better space usage
  • Store items in spaces that fit (avoid empty space)
  • Use the right warehouse storage system
  • Utilise cross-docking
  • Organise items by type or customer

Optimising space in a warehouse is important for efficient operations and item safety. Choosing the right warehouse storage system can make a big difference. When time is money, you won’t want to waste valuable time trying to find stored items on the wrong storage system.

Check out our guide on pallet distribution and delivery