Warehouse Consultants

December 15, 2017

The Best Pallet Racks When You Don’t Need Access 100% of the Time

We recently wrote about the pallet racks you’ll want to use if you want the densest storage capacity in your warehouse. While dense storage is good, it’s not right for every warehouse and should only be used when it can actually benefit your operation. To find the right pallet racking, you need to take into consideration a number of factors such as what you are storing and how often you need to access it. For most warehouses, the answer to their storage needs is the standard selective pallet rack. This is the most common storage solution in warehouses in Illinois as well as the rest of the world. These pallet racks are great for warehouses that handle a high number of SKUs and need nearly constant access to all of their inventory, most likely to fulfill orders rapidly. But that’s not the only kind of warehouse that exists, and a lot of warehouses store inventory that they don’t need access to 100% of the time. If that’s the case for your facility, then you might want to consider installing double deep pallet racks.

Discover the Advantages of Double Deep Pallet Racks

What are double deep pallet racks?

Double deep pallet racks place two pallet racks together. This increases your storage capacity by eliminating an aisle space, giving you more storage density in the same square footage. It’s an easy way to increase your storage capacity without the expense of expanding your facility; most warehouses can move to a double deep pallet racking system by simply rearranging their facility, doubling up pallet racks, and ordering a few pieces of additional racking. Double deep pallet racks can be built in virtually any size to meet almost any storage demands, so a facility can get the customized storage that they need. Plus, as your inventory changes, it’s easy to convert your double deep pallet racks back to single row pallet racks, giving you some flexibility when it comes to your storage needs.

How do they work in a warehouse?

The idea behind double deep pallet racks is that you’ll be able to store seldom needed items at the back of the rack with high-demand items in the front. When your pickers need to access the items in the back, they’ll be able to access them by moving the front product out of the way (most likely with a pallet jack or forklift) and getting the items out of the back. This is also a useful way to manage duplicate inventory without taking up too much of your storage space. Keep in mind that when you use double deep pallet racks, you’ll only have access to about 50% of your inventory at any given time because have of it is stored behind the other half. That’s why this system is ideal for warehouses that have a large amount of inventory that they don’t need to access all of the time.

Use Double Deep Racking With Your Current Racking System

You can use the double deep racking method with a number of pallet racking systems. Make your drive-thru pallet racks double deep or eliminate aisles by making your selective pallet racking double deep. You’ll be able to increase the density of your storage and keep seldom-needed items out of the way. Just make sure it’s the method that’s going to work for your warehouse; if you need constant access to all of your inventory, moving to a double deep system could actually slow down your productivity because your team will need to move items out of the way more often. It may be ideal to add to an aisle or two of your warehouse, though, especially when you need to store a large number of items long term.

The Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It can increase your pallet storage capacity by 10% or more
  • Makes 50% of your SKUs easily available for pick and pack
  • Uses more of your floor space for efficient storage instead of aisle space
  • You can convert between single row and double deep as needed

Cons

  • 50% of your inventory will be harder to access
  • You may need specialized equipment to reach pallets that are further back
  • Can slow productivity when you need to access back pallets
  • It can be difficult to see pallets in the back

Looking For the Ultimate Warehouse Storage Solutions?

We have them. There is an infinite number of ways that you can set up your warehouse, but our warehouse design experts and warehouse consultants can help you find the setup that’s optimized to the needs of your warehouse operation. Our team can help you find the right configuration of equipment to improve warehouse productivity and lower your costs. Get in touch with us today to purchase your double deep, selective pallet racks or other warehouse equipment. Call us at 855-863-0340 or use the form on our website and one of our project managers will be in touch with you right away!

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November 15, 2017

Add Floor Mats to the Area Around Your Pallet Rack for More Comfort

We’ve worked with warehouses and material handling facilities all across the United States. And while many of these places are known for their productivity and efficient use of space, very few of them are known for their comfort. It might seem like a little thing that doesn’t matter in the bigger picture of operations within your facility, but comfort is actually something that you shouldn’t overlook or ignore.

  • Comfort can actually help increase worker productivity. When workers are happy, they get more done. They take fewer sick days and experience fewer injuries on the job. That means more orders going out the door and happier customers on the other end.
  • More comfort can help lower your expenses. Providing workers with additional comfort means fewer worker’s compensation claims from repetitive work injuries or back problems. That can help boost your bottom line in a big way with a small investment.

One small item that can make a big difference in worker comfort are floor mats. These are also often referred to as anti-fatigue mats, for reasons that we’ll explore later in this article. We have a huge selection of them available in the DAK Equipment & Engineering online catalog.

Why Mats Matter

There is a good chance that the floor in your facility is made out of cement. There are a lot of good reasons to use the material, including the fact that’s it is inexpensive and it’s easy to clean. Despite the advantages, though, the major drawback of cement is that it’s not great to stand on for eight, nine, or ten-hour shifts. But floor matting can provide the much-needed comfort underfoot. Not only that, but it can help workers feel less tired during their shift. The mats decrease the impact of the work they are doing, helping them continue their shifts with increased productivity and less fatigue; thus, why these mats are referred to as “anti-fatigue mats.”

The mats work by cushioning the impact of the worker’s feet on the cement floor. Because cement is so hard, there isn’t a lot of forgiveness for the impact of each step. Cushioning in the mats acts like shock absorbers on your car. It reduces the impact on the bones and joints. Many mats will also reduce the risk of slipping, which is another major concern in the warehouse environment and a culprit of many thousands of worker’s compensation claims every year. Cushioning isn’t just good for your worker’s feet, either. The benefits of good floor mats extend to knees, hips, and backs, too. Your team will notice the difference when you start using high-quality mats because they won’t be as sore and tired at the end of a long shift.

Some warehouse managers feel that workers can get the same benefits of mats by simply wearing padded footwear. While wearing the right shoes on the job is important, it’s not the ultimate solution. Workers who stand in place for long periods of time will experience soreness and fatigue in their legs, hips, knees, and feet no matter what kind of footwear they have on; but matting can help relieve those symptoms. Of course, the combination of great footwear and great floor matting is the ultimate comfort combination!

While these mats are great at increasing worker comfort, they are also great at keeping dropped items from breaking, reducing your damaged merchandise. Don’t forget that floor matting can actually be good for your cement floors, too. The concrete of your floor might be hard but it’s not invincible. Dropped and dragged objects can damage the surface of the floor, creating cracks and divots that can spread. Those can create dangerous hazards in your warehouse, putting worker safety at risk. It also means more repair costs coming out of your profits. The right mats can prevent drops and drags from damaging the concrete floor and keep it clean at the same time.

Good mats are easy to clean, as well. Simple sweep off the debris and use a standard mop and cleaner and they’ll look like new again. With regular cleaning, you should be able to use mats for years under normal, everyday usage. That makes them a great investment for your money!

Which Mats Are Right for You?

  • Look for mats that are made for your purpose. If you need to reduce slips, buy an anti-slip mat. If reducing worker fatigue is the goal, look for anti-fatigue mats.
  • Thicker isn’t always better. Some mats can be so thick that they can make your workers unsteady on their feet. Look for something that provides cushioning and support without being too soft.
  • Mats that are made for your busy environment. Many anti-fatigue mats have a sloped edging, which makes them safer to walk on without tripping on the edges. It’s also easier for machinery and carts to get over them.
  • Consider their placement. Some mats have drainage slots which are ideal for areas that might get wet and slippery. Other mats are better suited for entrances or in areas that need to be easily cleaned. Think about the environment your mats are going to be in and purchase accordingly.
  • Consider your budget. There are mats in every price range on the market. While you might be tempted to save a few pennies when purchasing your floor matting, the cheapest option is rarely the best one. It could end up costing you more in the future with an increase of worker injuries or repeated replacement costs.

DAK Has The Matting You Need

DAK Equipment carries a variety of floor matting you can use around your pallet rack. Check out Diamond Foot, Tru-Tread, Armorstep, bubble mats, and more. All of our floor matting is priced competitively and is easy to install yourself. Simply lay it down in front of your pallet rack and experience the difference great floor matting can make! Place an order in our online store and we’ll send it to you in no time. You can also get in touch with our project manager for additional information on making your warehouse a safer, more comfortable place to work.

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October 10, 2017

FAQ About FOB

If you’ve been in the supply chain business for very long, then you’ll have seen the term “FOB” on various invoices. While some people in the supply chain and warehousing industries might feel comfortable with their knowledge about what FOB means for them and their business, there are a lot of people who are confused by it. It becomes even more complicated when there are additional terms attached to it, such as “freight collect” and “freight prepaid.” Each of these terms means something slightly different but could have huge ramifications for your business and your customers. If you are confused by FOB, our warehouse consultants have put together this simple guide to help you understand what it is and why you should care about it.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About FOB

What Does FOB Mean?

FOB stands for “freight on board” or “free on board.” The two terms are used interchangeably, so don’t let that confuse you if you see it spelled out instead of abbreviated as FOB.

International versus Shipping the United States

While the abbreviation means the same thing, there are differences in what FOB implies in international shipping and what it means for shipments within the United States. Within the United States, FOB indicates at which point the seller is no longer responsible for the cost of shipping the items. They might cover the costs up to a certain point, after which a third party shipping company will take over and deliver the items the rest of the way at the buyer’s expense. In the international shipping industry, FOB is used to indicate where the risk and costs of delivering goods change from being the seller’s responsibility to the buyer’s responsibility.

Where Did the Term Come From?

The term actually originated hundreds of years ago when sailing ships were the primary means of transporting freight around the world. The rail of the ship was used to designate when the freight left the responsibility of the shipper and became the responsibility of the recipient. It’s been in common use since 1936 and is used as a shipping term around the world.

What Do These Additional Terms Mean?

The term might stand for “free on board” but there is nothing actually free about it. Someone is still paying for the shipment of the cargo. However, what FOB does is let all the parties involved understand who is paying for it and how they are paying for it. This is typically designated by an additional term that comes after FOB.

FOB port

In international shipping, you’ll see FOB followed by the name of a port. This port is where the responsibility and risk of the shipping transfer from the seller to the buyer. For instance, if you purchase something from China and it’s shipped FOB Seattle, then the seller is assuming the responsibility of shipping the item until it reaches Seattle. After that, you’ll assume the risk and responsibility of making sure the items make it the rest of the way.

FOB origin

In North American shipping, this means the responsibility of getting the goods shipped ends once the seller gets them onto the truck. The buyers will pay the costs of shipping the item from the point of origin.

FOB destination

In North American shipping, this means the responsibility of shipping the goods remains with the seller until it reaches the final destination. The sellers will pay for the shipping of the items to the final destination.

Why You Should Care About FOB

It might seem like a little thing on your purchase order or invoice, but the terms and conditions that are implied in these simple terms can have a big impact on your business. First and foremost, it means your business could have a legal responsibility for the goods that you are shipping. Depending on how your FOB terms are worded, if something happens along the way, you could be responsible for the risk and costs associated with the shipment. So if you are responsible, you’ll likely want to take out insurance on the shipment just in case something goes wrong along the way. Otherwise, you could be eating the costs of damaged merchandise and lost sales.

Knowing what you are responsible for and being prepared can help you mitigate the damage in a worst-case scenario. Additionally, not understanding the costs associated with FOB terms could dramatically raise the cost of your goods and decrease your bottom line. So knowing what you are paying for and what the seller is paying for will help you manage those costs now and in the future, since the cost of insuring FOB origin shipments will need to be factored into your selling price.

Who Can Help You Manage FOB

There are a number of third-party shipping companies who specialize in FOB shipments. If your seller is only responsible for the merchandise up to a certain point, then you’ll need to work with a company who can help you bring those items the rest of the way. Look for companies who have handled these arrangements in the past and are used to the process.

How to Lower the Costs of FOB Shipments

If you are covering the costs of a lot of shipments, it’s going to eat away at your profits. Insuring and paying for shipping costs isn’t cheap. There are a couple of ways you can try to lower these expenses:

  • Reduce the number of shipments. Ordering larger quantities can help you avoid paying insurance and shipping costs repeatedly.
  • Renegotiate your terms. If you are ordering a lot of merchandise from a company, then they may be willing to give you a break and assume some of the shipping costs up to a certain point. It’s worth talking to them or shopping around.

Confused About a Supply Chain Term?

Our warehouse consultants are here to help! Get in touch with our team and we’ll take the mystery out of whatever term you’ve been puzzling over. Simply give us a call or contact us through our website and let us know what term you’d like to know more about. We may feature your request in a future blog!

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