There’s an awful lot of warehouse storage options out there these days, but when you boil it down, most of them can be placed into one of two categories: static storage vs. flow storage.

Static storage (not to be confused with the similar computer programming term) consists of the more ‘traditional’ storage methods such as wire shelving or pallet racks; you know, storage that doesn’t let the products move around. Conversely, flow storage includes things like gravity flow racks that allow movement of products on the shelves themselves.

Which is better? Well, that depends on what you need to store and why. Each storage method has their pros and cons and may serve different needs in different warehouses – here’s a few to get you started:

Static Storage

Static storage is any kind of storage that keeps the products stationary after they’ve been loaded in. Perhaps the most commonly seen kind of storage in warehouses, static storage can be adapted for use with a wide range of products and can fulfill many common storage needs, although retrieval and product circulation tends to be more difficult due to its design.
Pros:

    • Affordable and cost-effective
    • Durable, with less moving parts to replace and easier repairs
    • Requires less training to properly operate
    • Better for long-term storage for products that need to be stored for long periods of time or get replenished more slowly
    • Saves space – doesn’t require lengthy conveyors or taller racks, which helps for cramped warehouses

Cons:

  • Increases labor – products stored on static storage take longer to put away and locate when stored
  • May hamper FIFO (first-in-first-out) operations by making certain products harder to get to or rearrange on the shelves themselves
  • Limits space and accessibility, hampering access to certain products if they need to get rotated more often

Flow Storage

Flow storage, true to its name, is any storage solution that integrates a moving component. By providing a gravity conveyor to allow fast migration of pallets and crates from one point in the warehouse to another, these storage solutions can provide faster access to products and help improve movement throughout the warehouse.
Pros:

    • Reduces labor – workers can spend more time on productive movements instead of carrying items back and forth or wandering around a shelf trying to locate items
    • Can reduce strain on workers by providing a faster, safer, and easier method of moving large pallets
    • Improves FIFO operations by giving faster access to the needed products up front
    • Perfect for shipping and receiving areas by allowing products to be transported ot their destination more quickly.

Cons:

  • Much more expensive than static options
  • Increased upkeep and repair required due to the large amount of components and moving parts
  • Large upfront cost for installation on top of increased repair costs
  • Takes up a lot of space – may not be a viable option for smaller warehouses and/or warehouses with a lot of permanent installations due to the increased need for floor space
  • Requires additional training to operate on top of more conventional safety requirements and usage

So which is better? That’s entirely up to you, your workforce, and your warehouse! There’s no right or wrong answer, you just need to see which can benefit your processes better.

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