Empty bin shelving

 

One of the biggest—and most consistent—headaches for any warehouse designer is the placement of their shelves.

Warehouse shelves are a crucial part of any given warehouse design or layout, and knowing where to put them can be a challenge all on its own. Working new shelves into an existing warehouse layout can require a lot of foresight and planning, and steel shelves are no exception.

Steel shelves are a convenient way to store goods and supplies of any size, but if your warehouse is already packed to the brim with larger storage solutions (like pallet racks) it can be a challenge trying to incorporate these into your current warehouse layout. The added storage and secure shelving they offer will be more than worth it in the end, but there’s a few things to keep in mind while trying to set them up.

 

The first thing is to try and understand what you’ll be using them for, and where. In a lot of cases, steel shelves are a great solution for storing employee supplies—safety gear like hardhats and safety goggles, RFID checkers and barcode scanners, and the like. Especially in the case of close steel shelving that can serve as better back-of-house storage, steel shelves can be used for internal storage of supplies and tools to keep them safe. In most cases, open steel shelves are better used for product storage—their open design (closer to something like pallet racks) are good for organizing smaller inventory items that might get lost in the shuffle.

 

Whatever you choose to use it for is going to strongly influence where it needs to go in your warehouse. If you’re using them for employee tool storage, you may want to keep it closer to the back of the warehouse near the break room, locker room, or common area to make sure your employees are aware of where everything is and easily able to access it. In the case of using them to store equipment like RFID scanners, handheld barcode scanners, or even tablets and laptops, you might want to consider a wire security cage to keep these goods safe from being misplaced or misused.

 

The front of the house is a different story. With open steel shelves, you need to factor in distance—will you have enough room to add these shelves without disrupting the aisles or the flow of traffic? Will something else need to be displaced or replaced? And if you are putting them in the front of the warehouse, do you need to move anything else in the meantime? While steel shelves may be lighter and easier to install than many larger shelf types, they can still take up a lot of horizontal floor space and may require the displacement of other shelves. In that case, try to target an area your employees don’t use as much, or one that doesn’t currently have bulkier shelves that will be difficult to relocate.

 

Aisle width is a crucial factor as well. Make sure that any steel shelves you install aren’t disrupting traffic or stopping items from being transported quickly—if you need to store more popular items on them, you’ll want to make sure they have enough space around them to be easily accessed by any route through the warehouse.

So long as these concerns are all taken into account, you’ll have no problem setting up your new steel shelves. You might just find yourself liking them better than whatever you had before.

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