A Simple Guide to Pallet Racking Options

Large warehouse with various types of pallet racking storage.

In the world of warehouse management, pallet racking plays a pivotal role. It’s the backbone of industrial storage, optimizing space and efficiency.

But with a myriad of options available, how do you choose the right one? This guide aims to simplify that decision. We are also always available to answer questions or to help you decide what’s right for you. Contact a SJF Solutions Specialist at (320) 485-4974 or email support@sjf.com, or fill out our simple online form. Our advice is always free.

We’ll delve into the different types of pallet racking systems, from selective to teardrop, and drive-in to cantilever. Each type has its unique benefits and considerations.

We’ll also explore factors to consider when selecting a system. These include load capacity, warehouse layout, and inventory accessibility.

Finally, we’ll touch on the future of pallet racking in warehouse storage. As technology evolves, so do the possibilities for more efficient and effective storage solutions.

So, whether you’re a warehouse manager, a logistics professional, or a business owner, this guide is for you. Let’s dive in and explore the world of pallet racking options.

Understanding Pallet Racking and Its Importance

Pallet racking is a storage system designed to hold materials on pallets or skids. It’s a crucial component of warehouse storage, enabling businesses to store more in less space.

The importance of pallet racking extends beyond space optimization. It also enhances efficiency, allowing for quicker access to stored items. This can significantly improve inventory management and order fulfillment processes.

Types of Pallet Racking Systems

Teardrop Pallet Rack for Putco

There are several types of pallet racking systems, each with its unique features and benefits. The choice of system depends on the specific needs of a warehouse, including the type of goods stored, space availability, and inventory management requirements.

Selective Pallet Racking

Selective pallet racking is the most common type of racking system. It allows for the direct access to all pallets, making it a versatile choice for a wide range of industries.

This system is ideal for warehouses with a high variety of SKUs and lower volumes of each. It’s also suitable for both FIFO (First In, First Out) and LIFO (Last In, First Out) inventory management.

Teardrop Pallet Racking

Teardrop pallet racking is named for the teardrop-shaped holes on the upright frames. This design allows for easy assembly and reconfiguration, making it a flexible option for dynamic warehouse environments.

The system is compatible with various brands, offering a cost-effective solution for businesses looking to expand or modify their existing racking.

Drive-In and Drive-Through Racking

Drive-in and drive-through racking systems are designed for high-density storage. They allow forklifts to drive directly into the racking, enabling more efficient use of space.

Drive-in racking is ideal for LIFO inventory management, while drive-through racking supports FIFO management. These systems are best suited for warehouses with large quantities of similar products.

Push-Back Racking Systems

Push-back racking systems allow pallets to be stored in depth, increasing storage density. When a new pallet is added, the existing ones are pushed back.

This system is a form of high-density storage that allows for both selectivity and efficient use of space. It’s ideal for LIFO inventory management.

Pallet Flow Racking

Pallet flow racking, also known as gravity flow racking, uses a first-in, first-out storage system. Pallets are loaded onto one end of the rack and move towards the other end due to gravity.

This system is ideal for high-volume, high-turnover businesses that require efficient stock rotation. It’s particularly useful for perishable goods that need to be moved out quickly.

Cantilever Racking

Cantilever racking is designed for long or bulky items that don’t fit on regular pallets. The system features arms extending from a single column, allowing for easy loading and unloading.

This type of racking is commonly used in industries dealing with timber, pipes, or other long materials. It offers a flexible storage solution that can be adjusted to accommodate different load lengths.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Pallet Racking

Choosing the right pallet racking system is crucial for efficient warehouse operations. Several factors come into play when making this decision. These include load capacity, warehouse layout, and inventory management needs.

empty warehouse

Load Capacity and Material Handling

The load capacity of a racking system is a key factor to consider. It’s important to choose a system that can safely support the weight of your goods. The type of material handling equipment used also influences the choice of racking. For instance, some systems are designed to accommodate forklift access.

Warehouse Layout and Space Utilization

The layout and available space in your warehouse significantly impact the type of racking system you can install. Some systems, like VNA (Very Narrow Aisle) and drive-in racking, are ideal for warehouses with limited space. Others, like selective racking, require more aisle space for easy access to pallets.

Inventory Accessibility and Management

Your inventory management strategy also influences the choice of racking. For instance, if you operate on a FIFO basis, a pallet flow racking system would be suitable. On the other hand, if you use a LIFO system, push-back or drive-in racking might be a better choice.

Pallet Racking Accessories and Customization

Pallet racking systems can be enhanced with various accessories to improve functionality and safety. These accessories can also help customize the system to better suit your specific needs.

Some common pallet racking accessories include:

Safety First graphic

Safety and Compliance in Pallet Racking

Safety is a paramount concern in any warehouse setting. Pallet racking systems should be designed and installed with safety in mind, adhering to industry standards and regulations.

Regular inspections and safety audits are crucial to ensure the integrity of the racking system. Training staff on safe racking practices can also help prevent accidents and maintain a safe working environment.

The Future of Pallet Racking in Warehouse Storage

The future of pallet racking is likely to be influenced by advancements in technology. Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) and software for managing pallet racking systems are already making an impact.

Sustainability is another key trend, with more businesses considering the environmental impact of their racking materials and seeking out sustainable solutions.

Conclusion: Optimizing Your Warehouse with the Right Pallet Racking

Choosing the right pallet racking system is crucial for optimizing your warehouse. It can enhance storage capacity, improve inventory management, and boost operational efficiency. Always consider your specific needs, safety standards, and future growth plans when selecting a pallet racking solution.

Guest Post: Effects of Robotics and AI on Business

Today’s post is courtesy of John Hamlin

Artificial Intelligence –

The capacity of robots to mimic or improve human intelligence, reasoning, and experience-based learning is known as artificial intelligence (AI). Although it has long been employed in computer programs, artificial intelligence is now used in various goods and services. For instance, some digital cameras use artificial intelligence algorithms to identify the objects in an image. Experts also anticipate that artificial intelligence will be used in smart energy grids and many more novel applications.

“AI” in the context of business refers to computer-based systems that carry out, improve upon, or revolutionize business operations by emulating human behavior to increase corporate effectiveness or efficiency. AI is a burgeoning technology that has gained acceptance around the world. It is a comprehensive technology used in practically every sector of the economy. It has long been transforming the market in several different ways.

Entirely autonomous vehicles are already a reality. Several other sectors are also using AI. AI, for instance, improves hedge fund investment decisions and assists with forecasting in the financial industry. Predictive analytics (also known as forecasting) utilizes artificial intelligence by employing machine learning and statistical approaches to anticipate future occurrences based on historical data and forecast product sales, client demand, or stock values.

Robotics –

Robots are more accurate and productive than people. Robotics can nearly eliminate mistakes in the medical and industrial fields. As a result, businesses may make significant cost savings and cost-effective adjustments to tasks that could take humans days to accomplish. In addition, robots can produce high-quality items.
Healthcare, agriculture, food preparation, military, and manufacturing are the five significant industries that have vastly implemented robotics.

Developments by Technology for Ecommerce –

Technology continues to push the boundaries of what e-commerce is capable of, from virtual reality and software-as-a-service to artificial intelligence and digital transformation.

Technology is advancing exponentially, so online shops face constant competition from new offerings. You’ll never run out of new and exciting things to do; the hard part is figuring out which chances are ideal for your e-commerce firm. Amazon’s product suggestion engine, popularly known as “Customers who purchased this item also bought,” is a well-known illustration of AI in e-commerce. It suggests items based on the users’ tastes using millions of consumers’ historical purchase information.

How Artificial Intelligence has brought change to the Ecommerce industry –

AI implementation can influence a wide range of organizational business operations. Knowing the elements of artificial intelligence will help you comprehend how AI can affect your company. Data mining, natural language processing, and machine learning are all in the broad definition of artificial intelligence.

  • To develop forecasts, data mining gathers both recent and historical data.
  • The study of natural language processing focuses on how people and computers communicate with one another.
  • Machine learning uses several algorithms to apply prior knowledge or offer examples to address a challenge. Layering algorithms is a critical component of deep learning, which aims to interpret data better.

The development of AI technology has made it a potent tool for increasing sales and streamlining processes. Even a large number of small e-commerce companies are utilizing AI-capable technologies.

How to implement the use of AI in business –

It’s always enticing to adopt cutting-edge technology. However, to avoid wasting a lot of time and money on failed attempts, you should have a plan before introducing a new program.

  1. Develop a plan: You must start somewhere, and your strategy will outline the steps you must follow to get to your AI objective from there.
  2. Use outside expertise: Engage AI specialists on a project- or part-time basis to delve deep and assist you in developing a comprehensive AI roadmap. These other parties may also help establish your minimal viable product.
  3. Create a complete solution: Once satisfied with your team’s creation, it’s time to make the whole solution. Before it behaves as you anticipate, some iterations must still occur.

Benefits of using AI in Ecommerce –

  • More focused marketing and advertising: Deep customization techniques are now possible because of AI and machine learning advances, which analyze vast data from past purchases and other customer interactions to create unique content for each user.
  • Improved client retention: Targeted marketing and advertising communications tailored to the target audience can improve retention.
  • Seamless automation: With automation, a task is completed with the least amount of human involvement. That might entail anything from automating processes or using cutting-edge technology to assist in scheduling hiring emails in a CRM or marketing tool.
  • Effective sales process: By gathering information about your consumers, automating follow-up questions regarding abandoned carts, and more, AI may help you make your sales process more effective.
  • Improved customer service: By using chatbots and virtual assistants, you may appear to offer higher touch customer care.

Fork Entry Bars – What they are and Why they’re used

Fork entry bars example
Justin Erkenbrack, Solutions Specialist
Justin Erkenbrack, SJF Solutions Specialist

By Justin Erkenbrack
SJF Material Handling Solutions Specialist

Forklift entry bars are used to keep product supported off the pallet racking itself. They allow the picker to get underneath a pallet, tote or product stored with lift equipment safely and clear of racking obstacles.

An Example of when fork entry bars are useful

A customer is storing metal totes/bins full of couplings. The tote/bin has feet/legs on it and you will be unable to store tote/bin effectively on pallet racking without point loading (not the proper way to utilize pallet racking).

The Fork Entry bar will allow the tote to be stored on the bottom base of the tote/bin rather than the feet/legs of the tote. This offers an evenly distributed load on the fork entry bars that are connected properly to the load beams to ensure all weight is being distributed on the load beams.

Close up of forklift entry bars

Questions about forklift entry bars and their uses

Q: Can I secure the Fork Entry bars to the pallet rack?

A: Yes, we fabricate a tek screw hole for end users to fasten the fork entry bar to the load beam to secure placement.

Q: Can I get different heights? What if I need the fork entry bar to support my product higher than normal?

A: Yes, the most common bar heights are 3”, 4-5/8”, and 6” heights on Fork Entry Bars.

Q: What if I have an uncommon depth of racking or use box beams?

A: Not a problem, we can custom fabricate the fork entry bars to fit your exact needs.

For more information on Fork Entry Bars, contact Justin Erkenbrack at SJF at (320) 485-4962 or email him at jerkenbrack@sjf.com. He’ll be able to answer any questions you may have on Fork Entry Bars and more!

Guest Post: The Basics of Roll Forming Processing

Today’s post is courtesy of John Hamlin

The roll forming process uses a set of rollers placed strategically to perform incremental bending by feeding long strips of metal continuously. It is a process used to convert long strips of metal into various cross-sections or shapes. The process is performed by sets of mated rollers that change the form until the desired cross-section or shape is attained. This forming process is primarily focused on the cross-section of the metal or material. In some cases, the thickness of the material is being reduced.

Roll formed products do not only have a a high demand on material handling industries, they are also all around us, and below are some of the industries that also use these products:

  • Energy and power industries
  • Construction
  • Industrial
  • Agricultural
  • Transportation/Automotive
  • Other fabricated metal manufacturers

Roll Forming Process Fundamental Steps

  1. Decoiling – This is a process of unwinding and cutting metal from its primary coil. Typically, after the decoiling process, the metal is directly fed to a flattener or a machine that flexes/flattens the metal before proceeding to the next procedure.
  2. Pre-press treatment – This is an intermediate process prior to roll forming proper. It involves a flattened metal piece that undergoes press treatment to add slots, holes, or slits, depending on the product desired.
  3. Roll forming – This is a process by which a roll forming machine progressively shapes the material. The roll forming machine bends the metal using a set of mated rollers to guide the long strip of metal to make the desired bends.
  4. Cut off and discharge process – Subsequent to the roll forming process, the material will undergo a cut-off process, where the material is cut to the desired length while it is in motion. After the cutting process, the material will be discharged to a run-out table to be placed for shipment or undergo another process.

Roll Forming Secondary processes

The whole roll forming process can be either completed as the part comes off the discharge process or completed in other stations.

Secondary processing may include:

  • Punching
  • Tight tolerance forming and straightening
  • Adding other components
  • Minor assembly of parts

Metals Used in Roll Forming

Roll forming is capable of shaping any ferrous or non-ferrous metals. There are variations in the adjustment on the roll forming process’s bending stage, since there are different characteristics of metals, such as ductility and strength. These properties will indicate the amount of force needed to shape the metal.

Another characteristic of metal that should be considered in the roll forming process is the yield point, wherein every metal has its own critical value. A material’s yield point is where the material begins to change its shape permanently.

list of metals commonly used in the roll forming process

Ferrous metals:

Ferrous metals are mainly composed of iron. Ferrous metal can be easily recycled and are rust-resistant.

  • Steel – This material is an alloy of iron and a relatively small percentage of carbon. It contains less than 2% of carbon to improve its strength and fracture resistance. It also contains small amounts of silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, and manganese. Steel can be easily recycled, which is why it is one of the most commonly used types of metal.
  • Stainless Steel – This roll forming material is an alloy of iron with a high percentage of chromium. Stainless steel typically consists of 10-20% chromium. This type of material is very useful because of its high malleability and its corrosion resistance.
  • Galvanized Steel – This material is a heat-treated metal coated with zinc. It has high corrosion resistance due to its zinc coating.

Non-ferrous metals:

Non-ferrous metals have no iron content and have higher corrosion resistance compared to ferrous materials.

  • Aluminum – Aluminum is a very suitable material in the roll forming process because it is malleable, lightweight, and easily formed.
  • Brass – Brass is a copper and zinc alloy and has high machinability, high malleability, and is wear-resistance.
  • Copper – Copper has high electrical conductivity and has a low chemical reactivity.
  • Lead – Lead is very soft, with high malleability, high ductility, and has very poor electrical conductivity. Because of its high density, lead is capable of absorbing vibrations.

Key Takeaways

Roll forming is indeed one of the fastest and most cost effective methods of producing sheet metal products of any length with accurate tolerances and dimensions. It is used by many industries due to its versatility where complex and intricate cross sections can easily be produced using ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Crank-Out Cantilever Rack Project for Arrow Gear

Crankout Cantilever RackingOn this project, SJF’s Solutions Specialist Jason Deiter worked closely with customer Arrow Gear and Rack Engineering to provide a crank-out solution that would free up floor space, utilize vertical space with the ability to retrieve from individual compartments, and organize inventory.

Units have four crank out levels with 5,600 lb. capacity per arm, plus a 20,000 lb. capacity fixed top for additional storage. Compartments are 14″ in height and use 24″ length arms.

For more information on crank out cantilever racking, contact Jason Deiter at SJF at (320) 485-4961 or email him at jdeiter@sjf.com. He’ll be able to answer any questions you may have and help plan for your needs!

Guest Post: Top 5 Steps to any Equipment Maintenance Program

Top 5 Steps to Any Equipment Maintenance Program

Today’s post is courtesy of Megan R. Nichols

Material handling equipment is an investment. Industrial companies purchase more than 150,000 forklifts each year, but the upfront price is only part of their overall cost. Ongoing maintenance to extend the life and increase the efficiency of your production is also an essential investment.

The longevity of your material handling equipment depends on how well you execute your maintenance plan. Breakdowns and unexpected expenses lower your productivity and decrease return on investment. To help keep your operations running smoothly, here five ways to extend the life of your material handling equipment.

1. Invest in Workforce Training

By hiring a top-quality workforce and training your employees adequately, you’ll be better prepared to maintain and extend your equipment’s useful life.

This process starts by verifying and recording any training and certifications. Improper use will lead to unnecessary wear and tear and a quicker end-of-life for the equipment. Further, as 42% of forklift-related fatalities are the result of tipping vehicles, workplace training is essential to proper use and employee safety. Even if inadequate training or maintenance doesn’t result in injury, it will lead to unnecessary equipment wear. Ensure your employees are vetted and trained by supervisors when working with heavy equipment.

To train your employees on your machinery and any changes to operation protocol, you should provide simple, regular updates concerning operations and safety. Plan to talk to your workers about equipment operations on a schedule, such as every month or every quarter.

Then, managers should supervise equipment operators daily to ensure they follow best practices as defined during training. Address any improper use immediately and provide easily accessible manuals for all equipment operators. Well-trained and managed employees are less likely to abuse the equipment.

2. Conduct Equipment Inspections

The more you know about the many forms of wear on your equipment, the sooner you can respond to issues and establish a smart maintenance schedule. Ensure your employees and supervisors are familiar with manufacturer specifications, and report anything out of the ordinary during a regular equipment inspection.

Early identification of problems, such as signs of wear or age, will allow you to repair or replace a part before it causes an avoidable delay. To do so, visually inspect your material handling equipment before, during and after use. Have regular operators record changes in performance. Check for vibrating belts and gears, high temperatures from poor lubrication or loose bolts. Repair or replace any parts issue that arises before it affects efficiency. Recognizing symptoms early will avoid costly emergency repairs.

3. Understand Your Equipment

By knowing the specifications of your equipment — such as model, brand and machine specifications — you can predict future maintenance needs.

Understanding how your equipment operates is vital to achieving a long service life. Each brand and model may have different instructions and maintenance requirements. Incorporate the specifics from your original equipment manufacturer (OEM). The specifications they provide will ensure you are following the appropriate schedules.

Further, consult your OEM manual or equipment expert to ensure you have the correct parts when making repairs. Depending on the specific machine and part, you may need to follow detailed instructions to avoid harming your equipment. A small inaccuracy can be the cause of a costly failure. Keeping track of parts in regular need of maintenance or replacement will also help you keep track of when maintenance or a replacement is due.

4. Keep Accurate Records

Plan for efficiency by recording data about your material handling equipment. Accurate records will give you a plethora of information so you can respond to needs immediately and effectively.

One of the most useful types of data is the data you collect from your inspection routine. Categorize what needs to be done immediately and what you can defer to the future. Information can include hours of operation, type of work being completed and details about ongoing repairs. This data will help you develop a preventative maintenance schedule.

You also have access to information from employees, supervisors, the OEM and experts in equipment maintenance. Record this information in a clear, easy-to-follow way to develop your plan of action.

5. Develop an Effective Maintenance Schedule

Create a system for your material handling equipment’s maintenance. Planning for preventative and predictive maintenance will extend your machines’ useful life.

Scheduling regular downtown for your equipment will increase the value it provides over the long term, so ongoing inspections and service is crucial. Depending on factors such as truck type, the volume of work and the work conditions, you may plan for service intervals as frequent as every 90 days. You can plan this maintenance during non-peak production times by using a preventative schedule.

It may also be beneficial to consult an expert on specific equipment, since professionals are particularly trained to handle maintenance and repairs for your machine model and parts.

Consulting experts knowledgeable on the make and model, as well as implementing any protocols recommended by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) will help you develop an effective system for planning inspections and predictive maintenance. With a predictive maintenance plan, you can calculate your equipment life and better retrofit machinery with the latest technology when most cost-effective.

Save Time and Money With Proper Equipment Care

Effective equipment management and maintenance is one of the most significant ways you can cut costs and increase your workforce’s productivity. By implementing a maintenance schedule, understanding your machines’ inner workings and following the other tips outlined above, you can stretch the usefulness of these costly machines to its fullest.

Megan R. Nichols is a technical writer who specializes in industrial and scientific topics. She regularly contributes to sites like American Machinist, Manufacturing Transformation and Industry Today. Megan also publishes weekly on her personal blog, Schooled By Science. Keep up with Megan by following her on Twitter or subscribing to her blog.

Guest Post: 4 Reasons Material Handling Needs Automation and How to Implement It

Today’s post is courtesy of Megan R. Nichols

When it comes to the supply chain, the most visible processes and events aren’t necessarily the only areas that should be modernized and improved upon. The so-called first-mile is just as important as the last, even though consumers may never see or hear what it entails. Collectively, every mile plays a role in the performance and efficiency of manufacturing and wholesale operations.

By streamlining the entire lineup, it improves the speed, quality and accuracy of all products and services. One of the best ways to make that happen is to deploy automated systems and equipment, including advanced robotics. These solutions never tire, burn out or falter — so long as they are maintained well, quite unlike human laborers.

Beyond the basics, there are several reasons why automation should be used in material handling and manufacturing environments.

Why Use Automation?

1. A Smarter, Connected Environment

Whether you’re talking about manufacturing processes directly, the handling of finished goods or distribution closer to the last mile, all these practices could benefit from more data-driven operations.

Implementing IoT and connected technologies earlier on can also help eliminate what’s known as the islands of automation within a facility. Most older machines and solutions operate in a siloed nature, separate from other components within a factory or facility. Automation and the resulting systems can help do away with this entirely, creating a more synchronous environment.

2. On-Demand Manufacturing and Services

In today’s hyper-fast and hyper-personalized environment, most customers and clients expect a degree of convenience, which can be difficult to provide in material handling and processing fields. To achieve this, the entire system needs to be optimized from start to finish. Queue advanced automation.

The connected nature of the autonomous factor also generates the on-demand concept for internal processes. Materials can be delivered exactly where they need to be, not just on time but in advance. This is done through a series of data-driven systems that send alerts and control various operations as necessary.

3. Predictive Modeling and Decision-Making

Near the start of the supply chain, performance and support directly rely on market trends. If a particular supply or raw material is low, it can affect everyone, including the delivery times of various components and goods. With automation and advanced analytics systems, this kind of problem can be eliminated, largely through predictive modeling.

A machine learning or AI system will essentially ingest data on a company’s history, performance, market trends and consumer demands. It will then build an accurate model of what’s to come or how things will play out, allowing for more informed decisions. This can be evolved to include automation systems for a larger efficiency boost.

If a certain raw material is becoming more scarce, the automated system can order more in anticipation of a major shortage. During the shortfall, the system can calculate the length of time to receive new supplies as well as the current stock to ensure operations run smoothly. Items arrive just before old ones run out.

4. Better Workforce Management

Rather than waste human expertise on rote and tedious tasks, projects can be automated through a series of systems including IoT, AI and advanced robotics. Personnel can then be assigned to higher-value tasks that better meet their talents. This has the added effect of boosting employee happiness, as workers will certainly enjoy the more important roles and responsibilities.

Moreover, labor shortages and high turnover rates become a problem of the past, with many of the tasks and opportunities that were hard to fill now handled by automation.

How to Implement Automation and Streamline Materials Handling

1. Research

The best place to start is by doing some research. Consider the available vendors and their reputation, as well as what kind of solutions they offer. What will you need to upgrade in your existing systems and solutions? Is there anything that can be carried over?

How long will it take to implement the full scope of the automation project? Most importantly, how long will it be until you recover the initial investment and turn a profit?

Also, consider the systems that will be automated. It’s much more than just digital tools and components. Pallet inverters, for example, can be used to automate the handling of pallet-based goods and have a load capacity of about 4,400 lbs.

Another way to automate your warehouse is to invest in, and maintain, conveyor belts. Not only do conveyors keep employees safe by minimizing the amount of heavy lifting they need to do, they could be optimized in the near future. Adding sensors to conveyor rollers will allow businesses to gather important data like, product weight, amount and quality.

Is there equipment that you can use to automate more conventional procedures, similar to the pallet inverter or conveyor belt examples?

2. Vendor Selection

Once those questions are answered and you understand what’s necessary to achieve automation, it’s time to start shopping around for vendors. What solutions can they offer and what comes included? How are system updates handled? What’s the support process like? Are there real-time consulting opportunities at the ready?

You may even want to consult with a vendor’s existing clients to get a feel for how satisfied they are. Did the company meet their needs? Were there complications and have all their concerns been addressed?

The research process seems involved and can be daunting, but it’s necessary before getting involved with any automation providers or vendors.

3. Prepare Your Team

Next, you’ll need to prepare your workforce. This means training them and building awareness about the new systems, technologies and processes. Don’t forget to consult with them where applicable, as many workers have direct insight as to the inner workings of supply chain operations.

Ultimately, companywide buy-in will ensure the adoption process goes smoothly, and it will help mitigate the usual problems you might see when adopting new procedures.

4. Deployment

All that’s left is to deploy the necessary technology’s processes and solutions. Implementation can be a lot more complex than expected, however, so it’s always best to consult with support agencies and vendors. The exact approach is going to vary from business to business, which is why most of this explanation will seem broad.

The trick is to start small and slow. Choose one or two major processes that can be automated and work on perfecting those systems before moving on to other areas of the business.

With perseverance, the bulk of your materials handling operations will be automated, resulting in many cost- and time-saving benefits.

Megan R. Nichols is a technical writer who specializes in industrial and scientific topics. She regularly contributes to sites like American Machinist, Manufacturing Transformation and Industry Today. Megan also publishes weekly on her personal blog, Schooled By Science. Keep up with Megan by following her on Twitter or subscribing to her blog.

Who you buy it from is often more important than who made it

Pallet rack, like the majority of material handling equipment, is available from several quality manufacturers in the United States. The question of what to buy is normally fairly straightforward. The real question is, who you buy it from to get the best possible deal in terms of price, delivery and support. There are several options.

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