Archive for March, 2018

March 10, 2018

FIFO vs. LIFO: Pros, Cons, and How They Affect Your Warehouse Equipment

There are two main inventory rotation systems utilized by warehouses: FIFO and LIFO. While there are variations on these two systems used by many warehouses, these are the primary ones, and FIFO is by far the most popular. Which one your warehouse uses will affect what kind of pallet racking system and warehouse equipment you’ll need to use. Our warehouse consultants can help you determine which system is better suited for your inventory needs as well as help you get the equipment you need to make it all work.


FIFO: First In, First Out

This inventory rotation system is better for warehouses that need to rotate their inventory in order to prevent items from perishing. It’s not just for perishables, though; if any of your stock is time sensitive, such as fashion-based products or items that are in a series, then FIFO is the way to go. If you don’t get the older stock out the door, it could go bad or go out of style and you could end up holding the bill for the inventory that can’t be sold.

What warehouse equipment is best for FIFO?

Carton flow racks and pallet flow racks are ideally suited for FIFO inventory control. You’ll be able to restock merchandise from the back of the racks while gravity moves the older stock to the front to be used in picking and packing. This allows restocking to happen without getting in the way of the pick team because each function is happening on separate sides of the racks. Gravity flow racks are a big time saver for warehouses because the items move forward independently without pickers having to dig around on the back of the shelf for anything. It can cut down on your labor expenses and get your orders out faster. Having a good pick module in a FIFO inventory system is often paramount to productivity, too, since items need to be moved out in order of their age. In that case, carton flow racks may be useful as well as conveyor belts in order to help get the product moved through the warehouse as quickly as possible. By and large, most warehouse storage systems are going to be useful in the FIFO system because of their widespread use in materials handling.

LIFO: Last In, First Out

This system of rotation is slightly rarer in distribution centers because it’s best suited for specific kinds of merchandise. It’s also beneficial if you are manufacturing your own goods; if the cost of manufacturing those goods goes up, it might be better from a cost-analysis standpoint to get the more expensive items out the door sooner. It’s also the easier option when it comes to restocking. Since you aren’t worried about using up the old inventory first, you can simply restock however it’s most convenient, even if that means just throwing the new items on top of the old.

One word of warning, though. There are tax implications when using the LIFO system, so you’ll want to be aware of them if this is the system you choose to use. If you start with LIFO, you’ll need to continue using it for the entire tax year, so be aware of the implications that could have on your company by speaking to a professional accountant.

What warehouse equipment is best for LIFO?


Push-back and drive-in pallet racking are both perfect for LIFO systems. That’s because they allow easy access to deposit and remove inventory from a single side. A forklift or other warehouse equipment can load up the racking system easily, meaning you’ll be able to restock your pallet racks quickly and with minimal fuss and push the older inventory to the back until it’s needed. When you need to remove the inventory, it comes out the same way. This is great for storage density, as you don’t have to worry about having access to the shelves from both sides like you would with a gravity flow rack. Along with your storage system, forklifts and pallet movers are often very useful in a LIFO warehouse since product will need to be moved in and out of the larger racking systems. Other warehouse storage systems that might be beneficial include double deep and triple deep racking setups.

Find the Right Warehouse Equipment for Your Inventory Control Needs

So which system is right for you? You’ll determine which one to use based primarily on the kind of inventory you are handling. If it’s at all time sensitive, then you need to set up for a FIFO rotation system. If your inventory is all the same and especially if you are manufacturing it yourself, then you’ll want to develop a warehouse setup that’s suited for LIFO. In either case and no matter what inventory rotation system you choose, you’ll want to talk to the DAK Equipment & Engineering team. We can help you develop a storage system that meets the needs of your inventory as well as your budget.

Get in touch with one of our project managers and let us provide you with a warehouse design that’s right for your business. Our team has experience with all different types of inventory rotation and setup needs, so we can find a system that works for you. You can get in touch with a project manager in your area by giving us a call or contacting us through our website today.

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March 05, 2018

Elements & Benefits of Pallet Rack Flow Systems for Chicago Warehouses

Whether you are setting up your warehouse from scratch or upgrading your current setup, it’s important to know about your warehouse equipment. The more you know about it, the better you’ll understand it, and the better you’ll be able to set-up, service, repair, and maintain it in the future. One common piece of warehouse equipment that we install for warehouses in Illinois and across the Midwest are pallet flow racks. Let’s look at the elements that make up the pallet flow rack and how you’ll likely use them in your warehouse setup.

Parts of the Pallet Flow Rack

There are two main parts of the pallet flow rack: the rack structure and the flow rails. These work together to create a great system that’s easy to load and unload and provides a number of time and money-saving benefits.

Static Rack Structure

This is the workhorse of the pallet flow rack because it’s the main structure of the system. The rack structure is built from (usually) steel beams and cross bars that provide stability and strength to the structure. It bears the brunt of the load, taking the weight of the pallets and keeping everything in place until you need it. The size of the static rack portion of your system is really only limited by the space you have in your warehouse, and it’s easily expandable if you need more room.

Dynamic Flow Rails

This is the important part of the pallet flow rack. The flow rails are a system of tracks or rollers that decline along the length of the rack which allows the pallets to flow by force of gravity. There are rollers or brakes on the system to help ease the next pallet down the incline into the unloading position, keeping the product (and the workers on the other end of the line) safe. In essence, you load your materials on the high part of the rack and unload at the low point. As you remove your materials from the system, the following load simply rolls into the unloading position. This allows the system to work perfectly for first in, first out (FIFO) inventory rotations.


Benefits of a Pallet Flow Racking System

Excellent for Product Rotation

This is the ideal system for warehouses that stock perishable or other time-sensitive goods. With this type of rack system, the first load on will always be the first load to be taken out. It basically rotates its own stock, meaning products used in this racking system are unlikely to go bad or expire. Because product rotation is automatic, you won’t have to depend on human labor to change out your stock or ensure that it’s being rotated through properly, meaning you are saving on labor costs as well.

Requires Fewer Forklifts

By utilizing a pallet rack flow system, your warehouse will require fewer forklifts. That can mean cost savings in your budget, as that means you’ll be paying for less fuel, fewer repairs, and dealing with fewer forklift-related accidents. The forklifts are used primarily for loading and unloading and little else, saving money as well as time. Fewer forklifts also mean less traffic and a more orderly and productive warehouse and fewer repairs to your pallet racking.

Storage Can Easily Be Increased

One of the best things about a rack flow system is that it can double your storage density. That means your busy warehouse will be able to expand operations and inventory numbers without having to undergo the expense of moving your site or expanding your facility. It also means your business won’t be paying to operate within a bigger facility. A lot of warehouses switch to pallet flow racks because of the storage capabilities alone; the other benefits are just a welcome side effect. If your warehouse has been struggling to find space for your pallets, then this is something worth looking into.

Think Pallet Flow Racks are Right for Your Warehouse?

If you’ve been searching for a storage system that’s right for your warehouse, the pallet flow rack might be it. It offers a lot of benefits and can be easily installed in your Illinois warehouse by our team or your own. If you aren’t sure it’s the right setup for you, though, there are plenty of other options out there. Our warehouse consultants specialize in finding the right solutions for our customers. We carefully evaluate your warehouse, inventory needs, and the systems you have in place in order to determine what warehouse equipment you need to operate faster, safer, and more efficiently.

Ready to find the storage system that’s right for your warehouse or distribution center? Then get in touch with our team. You can give us a call or contact us through our website and start working with a project manager in your area right away.

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March 01, 2018

How Training Can Prevent the Need for Warehouse Equipment Repair

DAK Equipment provides rack repair to warehouses in the Chicago area. Some warehouses end up calling us time and again for repair services, having experienced costly damage to uprights, shelves, and other elements of their racking set up. While we’re always happy to help a company get the repairs they need to be done on their racks at a fair price and with the best final results, if you find yourself calling us a lot, it may be a training issue that’s causing the problems. Address these issues and you shouldn’t require repairs nearly as often, freeing up money in your budget for other areas of your warehouse.

Is Your Warehouse Spending Too Much on Repairs?

Repair costs can add up quickly in your warehouse. While it’s always going to be a line item on your budget, it shouldn’t be one that continues to grow over time. It’s a drain on your budget and your resources and something that can end up doing a lot of long-term damage to the health of your business. When you can keep those repair costs in check, it’s a sign that your warehouse is thriving.

The cost of repairs adds up, and not just in the physical repairs. So how do these accidents end up costing your warehouse so much money?

  • Repair costs. Even minor accidents can end up requiring repair work on your pallet racking. Avoid these repairs can end up compromising the structural integrity of your equipment and putting your warehouse at risk.
  • Replacement costs. If the damage is severe enough or has happened too many times, then you’ll have to replace the equipment. Some of this is expected, but the costs are more frequent and higher when it’s happening more often.
  • Damaged merchandise. Damaged racking often equals damaged inventory, as well. That means you’ll be losing money not only on equipment costs but inventory.
  • Lost productivity. When equipment is damaged, it usually leads to a disruption in the workflow of the warehouse. That means fewer orders being fulfilled and sent out the door.
  • Worker injuries. Damaged pallet racking is at risk of collapse, putting workers in serious danger. The costs from a worker who is injured or worse cannot be calculated.

The longer repairs take to make, the more they are going to cost you over the long term. It’s best to address repairs right away.

Is It Time for Retaining?

If you’ve seen your repair costs creeping up over the last several weeks or months, then it might be time to retrain your team. Accidents happen. It’s inevitable that the occasional bump between a forklift and your pallet racking is going to occur. You just have to anticipate that some amount of damage will occur over the lifetime of your pallet racking; a simple human error is tough to avoid. While human error is inevitable, it’s even tougher when those humans don’t know what or how to avoid it. Training can help refresh best practices in the minds of your team and help them avoid costly mistakes. Retaining should include:

  • Best practices for material handling. This includes lifting and moving inventory within the warehouse, working to avoid damage to warehouse equipment as well as avoiding injury.
  • Retraining on forklift safety. This will need to be done by a professional trainer, but there are many who can come provide the training on-site and go over best practices with your team.
  • Reporting accidents within the warehouse. Reporting accidents should be an automatic response. The sooner accidents are reported, the sooner the damage can be repaired. That prevents issues from becoming worse within the warehouse.
  • Working with teammates to make the warehouse safer. Teamwork is vital in the warehouse. Training as a group can help reinforce that it’s everyone’s job to keep the warehouse safe!


Training shouldn’t be something that happens once. It should be happening on a regular basis, especially with your forklift drivers. Don’t assume that employees who have been with the company for a long time have received “enough” training, either. They are often at the highest risk of making a mistake due to complacency. Training should be on-going, consistent, and include every member of your team. When you do this, you’ll see the rate of damage happening in your warehouse plummet.

DAK Can Help With Your Rack Repair Needs

In the meantime, if you need rack repair call DAK Equipment. We’ll send our team out to fix the damage and get your shelving in perfect working order again. There is no amount of damage we can’t handle! We also provide inspection, replacement, and installation services so you have high-quality racking in place when and where you need it. Get in touch with us at 855-863-0340 and we’ll set up an appointment with you to send a DAK rack repair team right away.

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