Resources

February 07, 2019

Your Pallet Racks Are In…Now What?

Whether you’re putting new pallet racks into an old warehouse, used pallet racks into a  new house, or any combination thereof, getting them professionally installed is an exciting day. It’s probably the only time they’ll be completely empty for years, and they hold so much potential in making your warehouse a more efficient place to work. Now it’s time to fill them up and get down to business!

But once they’re in, you can’t just think that they’re never going to need some maintenance. Yes, they might be huge pieces of metal that can handle tens of thousands of pounds, but they’re also susceptible to damage. Forklift damage, imperceptible earthquakes, and overloading can all take a toll on your pallet rack system, so it’s vitally important that you keep and eye on them for the sake of your employees and your inventory.

Know (and Follow) The Weight Capacity

When you have your pallet rack system installed, you don’t want to ignore all of the information you’ll be given on it. The installation experts will give you paperwork that tells you, among other things, how much weight you should put on it and how you should load each rack.

One of the most common ways that pallet racks are damaged is that they become overloaded. They might be made of incredibly strong steel, but even steel has its breaking point. Be aware of the weight limits, and make sure to pass that information to anyone who might be putting a load on them.

Check the Braces

When you do a visual inspection of you industrial pallet racks, be sure to check the braces for signs of warping. If a pallet rack is overloaded or if isn’t loaded evenly, it might start to buckle and shift to one side. That’s why you should always…

Have a Bubble Level On Hand

As a warehouse manager, it’s your responsibility to keep your pallet racks in the best possible condition. It’s also up to you to make sure that they’re not in any danger of collapse anytime soon. And eyeballing it isn’t enough.

A $10 level is all you need to put your mind at ease that the rack that looks like it might be leaning is actually okay. Inventory on the racking can cause optical illusions, making plumb pallet racks look unlevel and unlevel pallet racks look plumb. Just doing a periodic check with a bubble level can let you know if your eyes are playing tricks on you.

Look For Upright Damage

Yes, we know that you have a policy saying that absolutely every contact between forklifts and the pallet rack system has to be reported. You might have told forklift operators that they won’t get in trouble if they report it happening, or you might have threatened them with firing if they don’t. Maybe you have a no-questions-asked, completely-confidential policy.

They’re still not going to tell you every time.

No employee wants to admit they messed up, so while they might tell you about the first and second time they hit the pallet racks with the forklift this year, they’re not going to tell you about the third and fourth times they did so. They don’t want to be the one to get fired when review time comes around, so they’ll just drive away and hope no one finds out.

So, whether you hear about hits or not, you’ve got to go looking for them, especially on upright columns. While damage to horizontal shelving might not cause the whole thing to come down, damage to uprights might.

Be Aware Of Rust and Discoloration

If you’ve purchased new pallet racks, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to worry about rust for a very long time. But it’s still important to look for rust, because that means that something might be wrong with the warehouse itself. If you find rust, it’s likely that the warehouse has a leak and that you should do something about it. Not only will you be protecting the warehouse itself, but also the pallet rack and your inventory.

Make Sure Others Look For Damage

Once you know what you’re looking for, take a bit of time and have some training with your employees. No matter the size of your warehouse, you probably don’t want to be the only one to have their eyes looking for damage. The more people you have looking for damage to a pallet rack system, the greater chance a problem will be found.

You might even want to consider putting some reward system in place to encourage employees to report damage. A $50 gift card here and there could prevent tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

Get Regular Pallet Rack Inspection

A homeowner should keep an eye on the condition of their roof, but it’s always a good idea for them to have a professional get up there and inspect it up close every so often.

It’s the same with pallet racks. While you might do a good job at giving them a visual inspection, it’s very important for you to use a pallet rack inspection service in the Chicago area to come in and do a much more thorough inspection. Doing so protects your employees, and if something goes wrong then you can at least show OSHA that you had them inspected recently.

DAK Can Help!

At DAK Equipment and Engineering, we can handle it all. We’ll be your warehouse layout optimization experts, sell you the pallet racks, be your pallet rack installers, and perform the inspection on them for years to come. Just click here to learn more about our pallet rack preventive maintenance program. We’ll help keep you pallet racks in the best condition possible.

 

 

 

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January 21, 2019

What Should Your Aisle Size Be Between Your Pallet Racks?

When you have a new pallet rack system installed, it can be tempting to just eyeball it or directly place the new pallet racks exactly where your old ones were. Unfortunately, eyeballing it can be completely useless. And just putting the new ones where the old ones were? You’re squandering an excellent opportunity to improve your warehouse’s efficiency.

When it’s time to get new pallet racks, we always suggest you make use of a professional warehouse designer in order to get the most space from your warehouse and the industrial pallet racks inside. An expert in warehouse optimization can use software to calculate the absolute best way to make use of every square inch of your warehouse, which could solve you a lot of problems in the future. When you speak with them, you’ll probably discuss the various options regarding how wide to make your aisles. Let’s take a look at the aisle options and what a more efficient space can mean for your warehouse.

 

What Are The Size Options?

In general, there are three basic widths of aisles between pallet racks. The first is called standard and is the most common, which is the aisle width for your basic forklift. This width gives a twelve-foot space so that a forklift can turn around.

The other two size options are narrow and very narrow. As you might expect, these types of aisle widths require specialized equipment to make them work. Narrow aisles often require a stand-up reach truck (standing forklift), while very narrow aisles will most likely need wire or rail picking.

 

How Do You Choose?

There are many aspects that you and your warehouse space optimization expert should look at when it comes to deciding which aisle width to go with:

  • Get Rid of Some Aisles – It might sound strange, but getting rid of aisles is an option. If you have inventory you don’t have to access that often, double deep pallet racks might allow you to compress your pallet racks and do away with some aisles altogether.
  • Think About Your Inventory – If your average pallet rack is full of large items, or if the weight necessitates standard counterbalanced forklifts, you’ll probably need to stick with standard aisle sizes. But if you often deal with smaller or lighter items on your storage racking, you might be able to squeeze things together a bit more.
  • Your Equipment Might Decide – The cost of your current equipment always has to be considered when it comes to switching from standard aisles to something more narrow. Will you save enough money switching to narrow aisles to offset the cost of selling your counterbalanced forklift and purchasing stand-ups? We can help you figure out the cost savings of changing aisle widths versus replacing your equipment.
  • Go Half and Half – Depending on the kind of inventory you have, you might be able to reduce the aisle space between some of your pallet racks and leave the rest of the inventory space as is.

 

What Can More Space Do For You?

What can reducing your aisle size — and warehouse optimization — do for your bottom line? Let’s take a look.

  • Keep More Inventory – The primary reason that most warehouse managers contact us for a warehouse audit is that they’re running out of space and want to keep more inventory in the same space. Reducing aisle widths can certainly help with that.
  • Make Customers Happier – Having the item on hand and being able to get to it quickly will make your customers that much happier
  • New Inventory System – If you’re doing a complete redesign of your warehouse, it might be time to implement a new warehouse management software (WMS). Doing so could make you more efficient across the board.
  • Keep The Same Warehouse – Too many warehouse managers think that their only option when they want more space is to expand the current warehouse or build a new one. While there are situations in which that makes the most sense, many times simply hiring warehouse layout optimization experts can prevent the need for such a huge expense.

 

Contact DAK Today!

The fact is, making the most of your warehouse space can save you lots of money, so it’s always a good idea to bring in a warehouse optimization expert. When you make use of every inch possible, you can hold more inventory and satisfy more customers. You’ll make better use of your employee’s time, and you might even be able to prevent building a second warehouse altogether. Remember, the decisions you make now could affect your warehouse capacity for years to come.

If you’re unsure about the width you’ll need — and honestly, it can be difficult to tell without the right warehouse layout software — it might be time to contact a professional. Call DAK Equipment and Engineering to get the process started!

 

 

 

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January 03, 2019

4 New Year’s Resolutions To Make Regarding Your Warehouse and Pallet Racks

While there’s nothing technically special about New Year’s Day— it simply means that we’ve gone around the sun one more time — it does give us a chance to reflect on the previous year and what we might want to change in the new year. Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for your warehouse? Is anything going to change with your pallet racks in the coming year, or will everything look the same when 2020 rolls around? Here are some suggestions about what resolutions you might want to consider now that it’s January.

 

Keep It Clean

Warehouses tend to be busy places. Everyone always seems to be in a hurry, especially at the end of the day when inventory just has to be shipped out. Because of that, people often leave behind a mess. The most common is the cellophane wrapping that keeps boxes together on pallets, but sometimes it’s the boxes or the pallets themselves that just get left behind.

It can be easy to think “it’s not a big deal. Warehouses are pretty industrial, so a little mess isn’t a big deal.” The problem is that little messes can turn into big messes if you don’t enforce the idea of employees cleaning after themselves. One loose ball of cellophane in the corner can be joined by many others. That wrapping is then joined by broken-down boxes that people didn’t want to take to the baler, followed by un-broken down boxes in a heap. After that comes the discarded soda cups and broken box cutters. Before you know it, the trash corner has become the trash aisle, and nothing’s coming down from or going up onto your pallet rack system until it’s all cleaned up.

Of course, even small trash piles can cause problems. In most cases, a forklift driver is going to see if he can drive around it instead of getting out of their seat and moving the trash that’s in the way. As they’re trying to navigate the messy aisle, they are much more likely to get too close to the pallet rack shelving itself, and that can cause a big, big problem if there’s a collapse. Instead of inviting such a calamity, make a resolution to insist that everything is cleaned up by the end of the day.

And speaking of collapsing storage racking…

 

Consider Additional Safety Gear

Not every pallet rack has the protection it needs. The initial buyer might not have had the good sense to purchase it in the first place, or, if you bought it used, the safety gear might not have transferred with it.

This year, resolve to make sure all of your pallet racks — and the warehouse itself — have the proper safety gear. Pallet rack protection includes end-of-aisle and in-aisle protectors to help prevent collapse and to sacrifice themselves to the forklifts in order to save the industrial racking itself. If you need netting or mesh to keep tippy and precarious pallets from crashing to the floor, we can help with that too.

When it comes to the warehouse, take a look around to see if there are any areas that are under-guarded. Will you suffer a catastrophic loss if a forklift hits the sprinkler system? Consider getting sprinkler head guard cages. Are pedestrians in your warehouse almost getting hit by the forklifts? Designate walking areas with guard rails, especially outside any modular office that people might step out of before looking both ways. If you’ve had some close calls at the loading docks, keep your employees safe by installing loading dock gates.

If you’re the warehouse manager, it falls to you to make sure that the right safety equipment is in place to protect your employees and the inventory. Of course, one of the important resolutions you can make is to…

 

Get Pallet Rack Inspection Performed

Pallet racks are made from huge, heavy, strong pieces of metal that are meant to hold up to a specific load and withstand a certain amount of punishment. Unfortunately, they’re also huge, heavy, strong pieces of metal that can fall and kill a warehouse worker.

There are many reasons that industrial pallet racking might need to be inspected to make sure it’s withstanding the damage it might be subjected to. Sometimes too much weight was put on it, or an earthquake caused it to warp. But by far the most common reason that they can fail is due to hits from forklifts. Even the best forklift operators have hit industrial shelves at least once, and many of them will fail to tell you that it happened.

Since there’s probably damage you don’t know about, it’s important to get yearly racking inspection performed on your pallet racks by trained experts. This will not only protect the racking system itself but will also protect your inventory. Most important of all, it will protect your employees.

 

Rethink Your Pallet Racks

How are your pallet racks working out for you? If they’re absolutely perfect in every way, you can skip this section. But most warehouse managers aren’t happy with the way that every shelf is working. Maybe it’s all wire racking and the warehouse could really use some drive-in pallet racking. Or perhaps the focus of the company has pivoted and a few standard racks could go away in lieu of pallet flow racks and some conveyor systems.

If your pallet racks are making your warehouse more efficient, maybe 2019 is the year to get the racking solutions you really need. Remember, time is money, and if the current pallet racks are slowing you down then it could be much more cost effective to replace them with new ones.

 

Resolve To Improve Your Warehouse

Here at DAK Equipment and Engineering, our articles are all about making your warehouse a safer and more efficient place to work. There’s no better time than the New Year to make it happen, so we hope you’ll give us a call if you need new racking, pallet racking, or improved warehouse layout design. We hope to work with you soon!

 

 

 

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