Is there any rule of thumb about when you should use floor storage versus rack storage? Is there usually a “right” answer for a given operation?
This is a great question and as a premier 3PL provider, we get asked this often, as most people think that, why not just bulk (floor storage) or vice versa, everything. One answer is cost, but we will get into that in a minute.
Bulk storage is used for large pallet quantities of the same SKU, usually greater than 30 unit loads is the best density. Bulk floor storage is the most economical form of storage with a small amount of SKUs and is limited in capacity by storage area, head clearance, and the ability to stack the unit loads. This is if your product will stack 2, 3 or 4 high. Bulk floor storage is usually picked as full unit loads- full pallets- and then shipped on that pallet.
The most common type of storage found in warehousing is racking. This is ideal for storing items with more than 10 SKUs. It is an easy way to utilize your space, find your product quickly, in the eCommerce world, and keep inventory. It can be decked and configured to handle multiple pallet types and sizes while being able to be quickly adjusted to handle loads of variable height from season to season.
To sum it up, using bulk storage is best if : 1. Pallets can be stacked at least 3 high and 4 high is better. 2. There are enough pallets of the same SKU to stack 3-4 stacks deep of each item (1 SKU/several pallets). If this doesn’t apply, items will not stack 2-3 high, then racking is your best bet. More than 10-20 SKUs, racking is going to get you the most bang for your buck.
If you are still confused, give us a call. It’s easier to talk over the phone anyway. 1-877-FWDRIVE.
Shannon Nute, MBA