What’s the Difference Between Warehouse Racking and Warehouse Shelving?
Warehouse shelving is usually meant for smaller items, while racking is designed to accommodate pallets of goods. Shelving is also usually loaded and unloaded by hand, whereas racking gets loaded and unloaded by forklift.
You might see both racking and shelving in the same warehouse, but they’re usually used in different ways. For example, a warehouse might have one area to store open inventory that gets picked and packed into small parcel shipments. That same warehouse may have a racking system for storing pallets.
What Is the Purpose of Racking in Warehousing?
Warehouse racking has a number of benefits, the most obvious being a more efficient use of space. By stacking pallets vertically, a warehouse operator can fit much more inventory in their existing space. Additionally, if you position your racks efficiently—or stack your pallets two, three, four or more deep—you can maximize your horizontal square footage. (More on that in the next section!)
A solid pallet racking system that’s been thoughtfully conceived can also create efficiencies in a warehousing operation. It can make all of your stock easier to access—especially the more popular items that move in and out frequently—reducing the workload on your team.
With a strong inventory management system, pallet racking can also minimize the amount of reshuffling of stock that your team will have to do. This means more efficient operations, and it also reduces the possibility of damage by reducing handling.
Finally, pallet racking also keeps your goods safe from damage by placing them largely out of reach until needed.