Resources

November 06, 2018

The Importance Of Signage As Part of Warehouse Optimization

When most people think about warehouse optimization, they think about the way that the pallet racks are assembled in order to make the absolute most of the space. While warehouse layout optimization is a huge part of making a warehouse more efficient, it’s not the only way that you can make sure that people are moving about it effectively and safely.

Signage is a big part of any warehouse. And it’s not just about ensuring that everyone knows where each pallet is — it can sometimes be a legal requirement that you don’t want to ignore. Let’s take a look at how signage can be a big part of your warehouse design and how it can also keep your employees safe and happy.

 

Pallet Identification

Knowing where everything is in a warehouse is the only way to make sure that you can find exactly what you need at a moment’s notice. And even if you know where a particular pallet is, you still need to relay that information to someone who will actually go out and get it with a forklift.

Pallet identification signs should be large enough for anyone to see from a reasonable distance, because it’s important to remember that not everyone’s eyesight is 20/20. They should be in an easy-to-read font and readable from an angle (because that’s the way that most of them will be viewed). Rows and columns should both be easily readable, because there will always be a new employee who has no idea where even the most commonly used pallet is on their first day.

 

Directional Signage

Some types of signs won’t be on the pallets but are equally helpful in helping employees navigate a warehouse. Right-of-way signs are an important part, as are signs that let forklift operators know which direction the flow goes in order to keep them out of the way of other forklifts.

Of course, there are also basic directional signs to deal with. Everyone needs to know where the bathrooms are, as well which way the in-warehouse modular offices are. Good directional signs can simply help with warehouse efficiency.

Safety Signage

There are so many good reasons to keep your employees safe. First of all, it’s simply the right thing to do, and you don’t want to lose a friend due to the lack of workplace signs around the warehouse. But it’s also important for your business, because you don’t want to lose an experienced employee. You also don’t want to have to deal with a lawsuit, and you certainly don’t want OSHA breathing down your neck because you forgot to put up the right safety signage.

Here are some of the most important signs you need to be sure to keep around your warehouse, whether they’re on your pallet racks or not.

  • Exit Signs – These are a no-brainer and are certainly a legal requirement. Make sure you have your exit signs properly wired and batteried in order to ensure they can be seen no matter the environment.
  • Balers – OSHA is definitely going to require proper signage on your cardboard balers, as well as any other heavy machinery that has the ability to seriously hurt an employee. Always make sure to keep the safety signage on these pieces of equipment clean and easily visible.
  • Speed LimitsIt can get pretty crazy in warehouses, especially when there’s a shipping deadline or when a major shopping holiday is coming up. Forklifts have the ability to go fast, much faster than they should go in a warehouse. Keeping the safe speed limit posted is a good way to remind employees of how they should drive.
  • No Pedestrians Sometimes there are areas that should simply be off-limits to pedestrians when there are forklifts are around. While guardrails can be a good way to delineate exactly where pedestrians are welcome (and protect them from materials handling systems as well), signs can also remind warehouse employees where they shouldn’t go. These areas will be even more important as warehouses start adopting robots into the workforce.
  • Loading Dock and Mezzanine Deck Drop-offsNearly every warehouse has some sort of drop-off that has to be avoided. The most common are fall dangers at loading docks, but mezzanine levels and multi-level pick-and-pack racks can also be dangerous places if proper signage isn’t posted. (Of course, properly installed and inspected gate locking mechanisms are another important aspect of this.)
  • Industrial Conveyor SystemsConveyor systems can be an excellent way of making your business more efficient. But whenever you introduce a mechanical system near people’s hands, there will be a danger. Proper signage can be a constant reminder of pinch hazards.
  • Business-Specific RemindersSometimes you might have to have custom signs made that are specific to your particular business. Perhaps you have quality control station that shouldn’t be touched by anyone but trained personnel. A sign made specifically to address this safety concern and keep untrained people away from it is a must.

 

Make Your Warehouse As Easy To Navigate As Possible

The longer you’re in a warehouse, the more you get accustomed to where everything is. But it’s always important to remember that employee turnover means that there will often be someone new in the warehouse, someone who might not know where B13 is or even where the bathroom is! Be sure to make it easier on them and keep them safe with proper signage.

When you go with DAK Equipment and Engineering, we’ll make sure that the industrial pallet racks are properly installed — and labeled — in order to make your warehouse as efficient as possible. Contact us today to get the most out of your warehouse.

 

 

 

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November 01, 2018

4 Reasons To Move Pallet Racks

When the average person walks into a warehouse and sees pallet racks, they often think that there’s no way those things could move. To most people, pallet rack systems are like a furnace, in that they’re a part of the house. But if you’ve ever dealt with industrial pallet racks, you know that they’re really more like a refrigerator: difficult to move, yes, but meant to be moved if necessary.

Pallet racks are moveable, but that brings up a good question: why would you? While they’re certainly sturdy, all pallets racks are designed to come down if necessary. Let’s take a look at a few of the reason why they might need to be moved.

 

A More Efficient Design

Warehouse layout optimization can dramatically increase the amount of inventory a warehouse can hold. But many industrial shelves are put in too haphazardly and without the help of a warehouse layout expert.

If you want to make the most of every square foot of your warehouse, we can redesign the layout to make use of your current space. You might be surprised how moving your pallet racks can give you more space so that you can have even more pallet racks installed.

 

Replacement

There are many reasons to replace pallet racking (see out blog “5 Reasons You Might Need To Replace Your Pallet Racking” right here. Sometimes it’s due to damage or wear, but other times pallet racks are replaced even though they’re still very usable. A company’s sales strategy might pivot and need a different type of rack, such as if they start selling to the public and need an industrial conveyor system installed. Other times a warehouse might change their material handling systems and forklifts and be able to get new pallet racks that are much taller than the previous ones.

What happens to the old racks? There a good market for them, and we can sell them here.

New Floor

Many old warehouses have the simplest of concrete floors. But after a while, that simplicity can start to cause problems. Floors cracked, stain, and sometimes even let moisture in. They can also be much more slick than new types of flooring and could lead to employee injury. Be sure to read this blog for seven reasons a warehouse might get floor sealants applied.

If a new floor is being installed in the warehouse — even if it’s a simple epoxy coating — the pallet racking will have to be removed, or, at the very least, temporarily moved.

 

Cleaning

We admit it, there aren’t many times when cleaning a warehouse is going to necessitate the removal of an entire pallet rack system. Most racks have space so that they can be cleaned out underneath, especially if the lowest wire decking is removable. But it can be done, and might be done if a warehouse is about to be sold.

 

Do You Need Pallets Moved?

Having pallets moved can actually be a very good thing. When they’re moved, you can have them reassembled and inspected at the same time, ensuring that they’re safe and not about to collapse. Check out our racking inspection services right here!

 

 

 

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October 07, 2018

4 Myths About Warehouse Racking and Pallet Rack Systems

Before you worked in a warehouse, how often did you think about them? Probably not much. But with tens of thousands of warehouses across the country in both urban and rural environments, you can imagine just how many hundreds of thousands of people are working with drive-in racking, double deep racking, gravity flow racks, and standard pallet racking systems every day.

With so many people working in warehouses, there are bound to be some myths that get around about them. No, we’re not talking about urban legends like warehouse that kept discovering dead workers, only to find out that the killer was actually living in the top pallet of Row 3 (“The call is coming from inside the warehouse!”) We’re talking about misinformation that gets around, whether it’s from the loaders or pickers or the warehouse managers themselves. Let’s take a look at some of these myths and replace them with the truth.

 

MYTH: They’re Prohibitively Expensive

Now we’re not going to tell you that pallet racks are cheap. Yes, they represent a considerable outlay of money at first (even more so with the recent steel tariffs), but they’re certainly worth it as an investment in your company.

At first they might even seem too expensive, but considering what they do for you they’re more than worth it. They increase efficiency in a warehouse, allowing you to not only keep more inventory on hand, but also keeping everything in better order so that you can find it faster. Like replacing all of your incandescent bulbs or installing low flow toilets, new racking systems eventually pay for themselves. Of course, new pallet racks also increase safety, which means that your employees are in less danger and OSHA is less likely to come knocking.

If getting new warehouse racking for the entire warehouse is out of the question, consider buying them in stages. First replace the units that have seen the most use or are the most damaged, then schedule the replacements out every year after that. Before long you’ll have your entire warehouse decked out with new warehouse racking.

BONUS POINT! When you look at the price of a new racking system, industrial conveyor system, or other type of materials handling system, remember that they are capital equipment and can therefore be written off as such on your taxes. Investing in your business doesn’t look so bad when you realize the tax savings.

 

MYTH: Once Warehouse Storage Is In, It’s Permanent

When DAK Equipment and Engineering performs a warehouse design layout for you, we’re going to custom-design your space so that it’s as efficient as possible. But it’s not all delivered in one big block, is it? It comes in thousands of pieces and requires professional racking installers to put it together. Putting it together means that it can also be taken apart.

The fact is, your warehouse layout design was designed with your current work methods in mind. But the focus of a business can change over time. If a business pivots from consumer-facing to B2B, then their need for conveyor systems might go away. Companies can change focus over the years, which means that their needs in warehouse storage solutions do as well.

Yes, pallet shelving is heavy and certainly looks like a permanent structure. Yes, some companies put them in place and never move them again. But warehouse racking can be disassembled and reassembled to meet your new needs. It can be bought, sold, added on to, taken away from, and changed to meet your needs. All you need is a professional to help with your warehouse strategy plan.

BONUS POINT! If you no longer need a particular piece of your material handling system or pallet rack shelving, don’t worry. There’s a great market for used warehouse hardware, including used industrial shelving and used modular drawer cabinets. We will make sure that you get a fair price for it.

 

MYTH: OSHA Will Overlook It

All too often, warehouse managers get lulled into the idea that it’s the moving equipment that’s going to get them into the most trouble should OSHA come around. But when OSHA stops by, they’re just as interested in the “Danger: Compactor” safety sign as they are in the cardboard compactor itself.

While it’s certainly important to make sure your compactors and industrial conveyor systems are up-to-snuff, you can’t ignore your racking system. OSHA will be checking to make sure that it’s still safe, and they’re not going to hesitate to give you a fine if they find that warehouse racking is in danger of collapse. Their reach doesn’t end with the pallet racks, though, but extends to everything in the warehouse that could affect an employee. This could include materials handling systems, conveyor systems, mezzanine decks, racking ladders and landings, and modular offices.

BONUS POINT! When it comes to warehouse storage safety, the best way to stay ahead of OSHA is to contact a pallet rack inspection company. They’ll be able to address small problems before they become bigger problems, and make sure that your warehouse remains a safe place. It certainly beats the fines that OSHA can levy.

 

MYTH: Pallet Racks Just Fall Down

We’ve all seen YouTube videos of forklift accidents and pallet racks collapsing, and, as long as no one gets hurt, they’re kind of fun in that “at-least-that’s-not-me” sort of way. Unfortunately, these types of videos have helped perpetuate the myth that warehouse racking is unstable.

If you take a look at that video, the warehouse racking doesn’t just fall down. In every instance, it was an outside force that made them fall, and nearly every time it’s a forklift or other type of loader. But when used properly, warehouse racking is incredibly sturdy and won’t fall down on its own. What does used properly mean? It means that any weight restrictions and loading instructions are adhered to, and all employees are properly trained to work with them.

BONUS POINT!: Can racking systems “just fall down”? If you purchased used warehouse racking that’s been mistreated or hire a bargain-basement installer, there is a chance that time and weight will eventually tear the molecules in the metal apart. But if you go with reputable warehouse consultants, seller, and installers, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

 

Let Us Bust The Myths!

When you work with DAK Equipment and Engineering, you’re working with people who do this all day, every day and have a passion for efficiency. We can help you get the perfect pallet racks and dispel any other misinformation you might have heard about racking systems. If you’re ready to make the most of your warehouse space, contact us today!

 

 

 

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