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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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February 25, 2018

Should You Buy New or Used Warehouse Equipment?

When your company is looking at purchasing pallet racking or other equipment for your warehouse, you’ll have one big question to answer: new or used? There are pros and cons to both options, and you’ll need to carefully weight each side in order to determine which one is best for your material handling needs.

Struggling to decide which option is right for you? Our project managers can help. We have access to both new and used warehouse equipment inventory so we can help you find exactly what you need at a great price. Read through the pros and cons and then get in touch with a member of our team to find the equipment you need.

Should You Buy New or Used Warehouse Equipment?

The Pros and Cons of Used Equipment

When it comes to used equipment, it’s important to know where your used warehouse equipment is coming from. Many warehouses choose to sell their old pallet racking systems and other equipment to distributors like DAK Equipment and Engineering. They do this primarily as a way to free up space for their new equipment and recover the costs of the initial investment. The reasons it’s important to know where your equipment comes from is because this can have a big impact on the safety and quality of the used equipment that you are purchasing. A reputable distributor will take that used equipment and inspect it thoroughly before selling it on; if it’s in need of any repairs, they will be done before the equipment is sold. Some distributors also offer warranties on the used equipment that they sell, giving you peace of mind that if something does go wrong you’ll have options to recover your costs. Make sure that you carefully look at any warranties, terms, and conditions that come with the used equipment before you make a purchase. That will help you make a smarter buying decision.

Pros:

  • Less expensive than new equipment
  • Allows you to expand your warehouse more rapidly without spending more capital

Cons:

  • Could need repairs that could put safety in jeopardy
  • May not come with a warranty that protects your investment

The Pros and Cons of New Equipment

There are a lot of benefits to buying new warehouse equipment. You know it’s coming to you undamaged from previous ownership and can get exactly what you need, usually with a great warranty. It’s sometimes easier to purchase new equipment that’s compatible with your old equipment, versus trying to find the same items in the second-hand market. But all of that convenience comes at a higher price tag, as the up-front costs of new warehouse equipment are going to be significantly higher than buying used. This can limit how quickly you can expand your warehouse and may leave you lacking the equipment that could help your productivity. This could be an especially big concern when it comes to automation; you might not be able to automate as quickly and that could leave your warehouse dangerously out-of-date and unable to compete in a growing market.

Pros:

  • Easier to find equipment that’s compatible with existing equipment
  • You can get exactly the equipment you need without searching the second-hand market

Cons:

  • More significant upfront investment
  • May have to buy in smaller quantities to stay in budget

So Which Is Right for Your Warehouse?

So is new or used warehouse equipment the right choice? It’s not always clear and may depend on a number of factors, such as what you need to purchase, your budget, and how you are going to be using the equipment. A warehouse consultant can help you sort out your options and find the one that’s best. If you do decide to purchase used equipment, make sure that it has been thoroughly inspected for damage first; this is something that DAK Equipment & Engineering does to ensure that we’re passing on only the best pallet racking and other used equipment to our customers. If you decide that buying new is the right choice, then you’ll want to get quotes from several companies to ensure you are getting the best deal. If you follow these guidelines, you should end up with equipment that works well for you over the long term no matter whether you choose new or used.

Want to learn more about new and used warehouse equipment and which one is right for your business? Talk to one of our project managers today. They’ll help you find the right equipment, whether that’s from our huge selection of in-stock new pallet racks or saving money on used equipment. DAK is stocked with the equipment that you need and will ensure you get a great deal on quality gear. Give us a call today or contact us through our website to start working with a project manager in your area.

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