It is common for warehouses to require more capacity within the same footprint as the business grows.
Among challenges faced by companies as the business expands are:
- Running out of space for operations
- Warehouse, freezer or cold-room storage at full capacity
- Need to improve operational efficiency i.e. speed of pallet loading and unloading and throughput
If you are at a point where you are looking for way to get better utilisation of your warehouse, what solutions are you considering? How much more space do you need? Would you need to extend your current warehouse or move to a new facility?
What is the right solution for you?
There are different types of high density storage systems that aims to compact the storage of goods into a constrained space. These solutions include racking systems like Drive In, Push Back, Pallet Flow and Pallet Shuttle.
To determine which is the best solution for your operations, consider these variables:
- What is your product selectivity like?
- Do you have low SKU count with high stock levels?
- Are you storing raw materials or finished goods?
- What is your throughput requirement?
- Do you require operational flexibility?
- What is your stock accessibility requirement? FILO or LIFO or a combination of both?
- Do you need to increase the movement of your stocks?
- What is the maximum height of your system?
- What type of materials handling equipment will be used?
- Are you looking to upgrade to a semi-automated system?
Your answer to the above questions determine the type of High Density Storage that will be the most efficient and effective for your operations.
Here, we focus on the Pallet Shuttle option – a solution that is able to increase storage capacity of a warehouse by 20 – 25%.
High Density Storage
A Pallet Shuttle maximises space by condensing the number of pallets that can be stored within an area.
Through this, a multi-channel racking storage is created within the same space which allows a higher number of pallets to be stored.
The shuttle runs on rails and is operated by a remote control. The shuttle travels below the pallets then elevates the pallet from the support rails and carries it back and forth within the system as required.
Compare a conventional Drive In storage system (left) to a shuttle system (right).
The number of storage channels increases by 3 times more within the same space.
The increased channels boost the storage capacity enabling more pallets to be stored within the same space as shown in the 2 examples below.
Pallet shuttle system- 6,600 pallet positions | Double deep storage – 5,400 pallet positions
Diagram 1 – Storage capacity increases by 21%
Selective Pallet Racking – 2,700 pallet positions | Pallet Shuttle system – 3,500 pallet positions
Diagram 2 – Storage capacity increases by 30% when a combination of selective racking & shuttle systems are used
Besides providing an increase in the number of pallets that can be stored, the Pallet shuttle system provides these benefits to the warehouse:
- Saves time by allowing 3 to 4 tasks to be completed in the time it takes for one drive-in and block stack task.
- Easily scalable according to business needs
- Comes with features and functions that provide greater warehouse efficiency
- Reduces standard MHE requirements
Contrary to the notion that the whole warehouse needs to be upgraded, a combined solution is a possibility that could make the most of your situation and optimise operational efficiency. It is not a mutually-exclusive solution that requires a warehouse to be fully with, or without a Pallet Shuttle.
A shuttle application can be implemented from as low as 1,000 pallet positions, and not only large-scale projects. The investment put into the new system may bring greater and quicker returns that any other options that are being considered.
Our next piece will look at customer-centric features that should be on your checklist when shopping for a Pallet Shuttle for your warehouse.