January 05, 2018

Wide, Narrow, or Very Narrow: Picking Your Aisle Size

When you are working on warehouse planning, it can feel like every inch matters. That’s because it does. When it comes to the warehousing and materials handling industry, maximizing every inch of your space can help you maximize your profits. It means being able to handle more inventory, fulfill more orders, process everything faster, and prevent you from incurring the expense of moving your warehouse or paying to expand your facility. One of the most important factors in maximizing every inch of your space is your aisle size.

The Importance of Your Aisle Size

Aisle configuration is a major factor in maximizing the capacity of your warehouse space. Many of our customers ask us about the best aisle size for their warehouse when they are purchasing their pallet racking. They understand the importance of this one decision and the impact that it can have for years going forward, so getting it right the first time can help prevent additional reconfiguration expenses in the future.

Your Aisle Size Options

Your three main options are:

  • Standard. These are best for counterbalanced forklifts, as it gives them a clear twelve-foot radius in which to maneuver. That way the driver can back up with a load and not hit the racks behind him (which will damage the racks and put them at risk of failure).
  • Narrow. A good option if you have stand-up reach trucks or a double-deep reach operating method. This is specialized equipment that is made to operate in a narrower area of space.
  • Very Narrow. These aisles are considered a specialized set-up, in that they are only going to work under very particular circumstances. They are ideal for wire, rail, or optical picking guidance systems as well as in warehouses that don’t need forklifts or machinery for picking, sorting, and packing.

Which one is right for you is going to depend on your business, your goals, and the kind of equipment that you use.

How to Choose the Right Aisle Size

Consider your inventory.

Obviously, if you are handling large items or a lot of palletized product, then you are going to need standard or even wide aisles. It’s rarely that straightforward, though. A lot of warehouses who believe they need standard aisles may find a workaround that allows them to utilize narrow aisles and thus gain more storage space. Talking to a warehouse consultant may help you identify new possibilities.

Consider your equipment.

If you use a standard counterbalanced forklift, then you’ll probably want to stick with standard aisles for most, if not all, of your warehouse. But an investment in alternative equipment like a stand-up reach truck could allow you to reconfigure and gain more space. You’ll want to weigh the cost of the equipment against the potential gains in space.

Consider your space needs.

If you are doing alright in terms of space, then stick with standard aisles. They will allow the most versatility in terms of the equipment that you can purchase and use in your facility. If you are starting to run out or anticipate that the day is coming when you’ll need to move, then consider whether or not narrowing your aisles could help you stay in your current facility longer.

Find the right balance.

Be sure to balance your desire to maximize space with productivity and safety. Don’t get so carried away with maximizing your storage capacity that you start spending too much on new equipment or put the safety of your team in jeopardy. It may be helpful to have a warehouse consultant create a couple warehouse planning diagrams for you to examine so you can see exactly how much space you’ll create and whether or not it’s really going to benefit your warehouse.

Ditch your aisles altogether.

There is a very good chance you have more aisles than you actually need. Reconfiguring your pallets to a double-deep system can eliminate a lot of that wasted space and help you get more storage into your current facility. Whether or not this is a viable option will depend on the product that you store and how often you need to access it. But for a majority of warehouses, if you aren’t already using this system, you should be. It can quickly add a third to your storage capacity and all you’ll need to do is buy some additional racking after the reconfiguration work is done.

Wondering if You Should Change Your Aisle Size? We Can Help!

Remember, don’t just do what you’ve always done. Take a fresh look at your warehouse space before installing wholesale pallet rack. We recommend bringing in a DAK Equipment project manager to work with you on your warehouse layout because their expertise in the field can help bring a new perspective to aisle width and warehouse layout that you perhaps had not thought of yet. Wide, narrow and very narrow aren’t your only options, either; our Project Managers can help you find creative solutions customized to the needs of your warehouse. We even have solutions that can eliminate some of your aisles altogether!

Get in touch with our warehouse consultants today to learn more. You can reach us by giving us a call or contacting us through our website. We’ll talk to you about our warehouse planning services and how they can help you make the most out of the space that you have. Get your consultation with our team today!

Read more


December 30, 2017

Find a Qualified Team for Your Racking Inspections

Regular racking inspections aren’t just a good idea; they are mandated by Federal regulations. Skip your annual pallet racking inspection and you could end up facing huge fines from OSHA, not to mention putting your company in jeopardy of major litigation battles for negligence. Annual inspections are required, but doing inspections more often can benefit your warehouse in a lot of ways. Besides, regular racking inspections are just good common sense. They help:

  • Lower the risk of injury within the warehouse. Damage racking is in danger of failing, meaning it could end up bowing, bending, or even completely collapsing. Any product or employees who happen to be in the way when that happens are at risk of a major injury.
  • Decrease damaged product rates. When racking is damaged, it can result in damaged product if the racking fails. You’ll have to damage out those goods, losing money in the process and potentially slowing down the fulfillment of customer orders.
  • Prolong the life of your equipment. Just like all of your warehouse equipment, the better you take care of it, the longer it’s going to last. Regular inspections and repairs to your racking are part of taking care of it!

Most warehouse managers understand the importance of regular inspections. What they might not know is how to find a qualified inspector. Here are a few tips about what to look for in a racking inspector to help make your search an easier one.

How to Find a Qualified Racking Inspector

  • Experience counts when it comes to inspections. Sometimes damaged racking isn’t so obvious. It takes an experienced inspector to know where racking is most likely to be damaged as well as to have a keen eye for potential problems in hidden places. While new inspectors could be excellent at their job, finding an inspector with some experience in the field could be beneficial to your company. Experienced inspectors may have certifications that give them knowledge and training needed to spot problems that others might pass by.
  • Look for someone who understands your industry. Inspecting a cold food storage facility is a lot different than inspecting an automobile parts warehouse. They are going to use different equipment and have different risk factors for damage. Working with an inspector who has experience with facilities like yours can give them inside knowledge about the risks you are facing and where your racking is most likely to be damaged.
  • If they can do repairs, too, that’s a plus. With almost every inspection, you are going to be left with a list of repairs. It can be a hassle to have to then go out and find a qualified repair team to manage the repairs for your facility. Some racking inspection teams can provide repair services as well, often at the same time. This is a great resource that can help you save on the cost of your repairs; there may be a discount available for using their repair services, and they’ll be able to judge whether the piece can be repairs or needs to replaced right there on site.

Our Inspection Team is Ready to Help

DAK Equipment & Engineering offers rack inspection services in Illinois and throughout the Midwest. We can partner with your warehouse to provide you with experienced racking inspections and repair services. We’ve been a trusted name in the warehouse industry for decades, so you can count on our services to deliver the quality your warehouse needs.

Making sure you schedule regular inspections with the DAK team is vital. We’ve seen many instances where a small issue with a rack or conveyor belt turned into a costly headache. You depend on this equipment to keep your business moving, so be sure you are taking good care of it so it can take good care of you. Our inspection team will perform a thorough inspection of the wholesale racking and equipment at your facility, including interviewing employees and examining gears and bolts. If we find a problem, we’ll help you fix it, and most of the time we can offer a repair solution that will help you save on the cost of a full replacement. Our services can save you up to half on the cost of replacement and often in a third of the amount of time, meaning not only do you save money, but you get your warehouse back to work faster.

How long has it been since your last inspection? If it’s been a while, or even if you can’t remember the last time you had a thorough inspection at your facility, we’re happy to help. Call the DAK Equipment team in Chicago and let’s set up an appointment for one of our skilled, professional and experienced team members to come to your site. You’ll love how our inspection services help you save on replacement costs and prevent downtime on your production lines!

Read more


December 20, 2017

The Pros and Cons of Doing Rack Repair Yourself

When you are doing a routine inspection in your facility for damage to your pallet racks, you are likely going to find some issues on occasion. That’s just the nature of a busy material handling facility, where people and forklifts are hard at work. Forklifts accidentally run into upright supports, people drop items onto racking from high places, and a lot of the damage goes unnoticed and undocumented until you do an inspection. The important thing is that you cannot ignore damage once it’s been found; it needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible. Allowing damaged warehouse equipment to continue to be in use will put your team at risk and heightens the chance you could experience a racking collapse. Attending to the repairs as quickly as possible will help ensure safety in the warehouse and efficient processing of orders.

But when you find those issues, should you hire a rack repair professional? Or should you attempt the repairs yourself? After all, no one knows your warehouse better than you do. On the other hand, can you really repair the racks so they are structurally sound? You need to weight the pros and cons before you make this decision.

Should You Do Rack Repair Yourself or Hire a Professional?

The Pros of Doing It Yourself


  • It could save your warehouse money. By doing the work yourself, you won’t have to pay a professional. You can pull people from your own team and put them to work on the repairs without paying more money to an outside company. That means you keep more money in the warehouse and directed towards your bottom line.
  • It could be faster. Waiting for a professional rack repair team to come to your facility could take some time, and while you are waiting for them, it could result in a slow down on production within your warehouse. Doing it yourself means you can get to work on the problem right away.

The Cons of Doing It Yourself

  • Unless you have years of experience and the right training, you might not be able to get the repairs done correctly. Rack repair can’t be learned by watching online tutorials; there is a lot of engineering that goes into the repair process to ensure that the structure is sound and poses no danger of collapse.
  • If you end up using your own internal team to do the repairs, you are probably pulling them away from other tasks. You hired those team members to do those tasks, not to focus on rack repair, and distracting them from their jobs could actually be having a negative impact on your bottom line.
  • Improperly repaired racks can pose as much–or even more–danger to your materials and workers than a damaged rack. You could actually end up making the rack structurally weaker than it was before, unwittingly putting your facility at even more risk.
  • Most rack repair services are very affordable. Companies will attempt to complete the repairs without needing to replace pieces (when it’s safe to do so) so you avoid the cost of replacement. That can save you up to a third of the cost, but only a professional will be able to determine whether repair or replacement is the best choice for your facility.
  • Even expensive rack repair is cheaper in the long run. A pallet rack collapse can cost thousands of dollars in damage, not to mention the production time you’ll lose as your team attempts to clean up the mess. If a member of your team is hurt by damaged racking, then you will face the expense of worker’s compensation claims and potentially even a lawsuit.

Hiring a Professional Is Almost Always the Right Choice

Unless you have an experienced rack repair specialist on your team, it’s almost always the smarter choice to hire a professional to do the necessary rack repairs in your warehouse. The initial lure of saving time and money taking the DIY approach starts to look less appealing when you consider the long-term costs that you could accrue. Hiring a professional gives you the peace of mind of knowing the repairs have been done correctly and there is little or no danger of the problem becoming worse in the future. Professional rack repair team can often provide inspection services, too, meaning you can get both jobs done at once by a team that you can trust. Connecting with a great resource like this can make your warehouse a safer place to work.

If you’ve discovered rack damage in your facility, give the DAK Equipment & Engineering team a call. We can give you an estimate on the work you need to be done so you have a clear picture of the cost–and how affordable rack repair can be. Call us at 855-863-0340 today or contact us through our website and let’s talk about the repair or replacement services you need.

Read more


Built by Clique Studios