Pallet racking failure can be catastrophic to both products and warehouse staff. By nature, they are often holding a lot of weight at multiple heights which poses a large risk. These issues can be avoided, so what are they and what is the solution?
Top causes of pallet racking failure:
Unbalanced pallet loads
The items that are stored on the pallet and the arrangement in which they are stored is one of the most common causes of pallet racking failure. Firstly, the in balanced load will put unnecessary stress on the pallet which will cause it to break. This is a particularly devastating situation if you have no additional support as a contingency. Unbalanced loads can also cause unnecessary stress on a wire mesh deck causing deflection or breakages.
The solution: Every time a pallet is loaded, it should be uniformly distributed. This means the weight is spread evenly across the surface are of the pallet. Not only will this avoid uneven weight on the pallet put also spread the weight across more of the support bars on a mesh deck reducing the chances of deflection.
Inaccurate bay loading
Inaccurate bay loading can pose a risk to your stock and your warehouse operatives. An improperly positioned pallet can very easily come crashing down. This is one of the most common accidents that happen in a warehouse that leads to damaged and unsellable stock.
The solution: QTS have a few solutions to this. Firstly, you can add an upstand to the rear of the easySHELF™ mesh decks. This will act as a backstop for operatives when loading so they know the pallet is all the way on. Secondly, the easyDIVIDERS™ can be added to split the bay which helps to ensure the pallet isn’t too far to the left or right of the bay. Lastly, adding rackGUARDIAN™ anti-collapse mesh can also be added to the rear of the system to stop pallets falling onto the walkways behind.
Overloading pallets and racking systems with too much weight seems like an obvious thing to avoid – but it still happens.
The solution: Pallets and mesh decks have a maximum load capacity outlined very clearly. Make sure that all staff are trained and that the load capacity for each run of racking is displayed at the end of each run. At QTS, we adapt the designs of our mesh deck to suit the storage requirements. This is done by adding support bars, increasing the wire diameter, or swapping to a cradle deck.
Poor warehouse design
The design phase of a warehouse is imperative to its safety and functionality. A common mistake is not leaving enough space between the aisles. This means it is a tight squeeze for warehouse operators to squeeze pallets through. It can also make it difficult for them to load and unload the racking system. A narrow aisle increases the likelihood of an operator crashing into the racking system which can cause catastrophic damage.
The solution: Know exactly what you will be storing. This way you can design the space to accommodate for any items that would cause difficulties. It may be that you need to use a different storage solution for these items. For example, storing long posts on a normal pallet racking bay is not suitable. Instead, you can use canti-lever racking.
Lack of training and awareness
In a warehouse setting, all staff should be trained in the relevant health and safety precautions to ensure that all risks are minimised. Improper use of equipment, lack of awareness, distractions and even rushing can all lead to accidents.
The solution: Start by putting all your training plans and standard operating procedures down on paper and save them in a place that is accessible by all. Every new member of staff should go through the same training procedure. Following training, staff performance and training top-ups should be a regular occurrence. This will mitigate the risk of bad habits arising or staff forgetting things. No one other than fully qualified forklift drivers should be operating forklifts as they have been specially trained to load and unload safely.
Despite what you may think, cold storage for food items has many factors to consider when designing your storage space. QTS’ storage solutions have many customisable attributes that create a great solution for the cold storage of perishable items. This blog will cover some key factors to consider when designing your warehouse space.
Why is cold storage of food so important?
The cold storage of food is one of the most highly regulated sectors of the warehousing industry. In the UK, such warehouses are subject to checks from the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The incorrect storage of organic matter accelerates the reproduction of any bacteria that may be present as they have a source of energy to reproduce. This bacterium (a common example is e coli) can cause severe illness so any spoiled product is essentially wasted money and no business wants that.
Mesh deck design:
When storing food, it is important your racking system is properly suited to its job. Commonly, mesh decks are supplied with support bars that are either flared or c-channel. These bars have an open groove which means that food or dust could gather in these gaps which poses a potential hygiene risk. The QTS solution, the easySHELF™, to this is to invert the support bar. This massively reduces areas for food and dust to become trapped making them extra easy to keep clean.
The second element that can be changed on the QTS decks is the finish. The standard stock deck finish is pre-galvanised which is perfectly suitable for the cold environment. However, QTS also offer a hot-dipped galvanised option which is much longer lasting in cold and damp environments. You will need to consider the cost trade-off in this situation. Pre-galvanised will be cheaper initially but the hot-dipped option may work out cheaper in the long run.
When you are storing food products, the racking system needs to be cleaned down much more regularly than if you were storing non-perishable goods. Wire mesh decking is far easier to clean than using their wooden alternative. It is very easy to hose down the wire and it dries much quicker. Too much moisture on timber decks may compromise its structural integrity.
Customising decks for even more effective storage.
Food items are often stored in boxes or smaller packages which all look very similar and could cause confusion for warehouse operatives. Firstly, it is imperative that everything is labelled correctly. This will make it easy to identify boxes and ensure food is not stored in the wrong place. For example, it is standard practise to store meat on the lower levels of the racking system so not to contaminate other foods. Another way QTS can help keep your warehouse organised is by adding dividers (easyDIVIDERS™) to your mesh decks. These will compartmentalise the bay creating a form of picking location that will stop accidental cross contamination of foods.
Standard mesh decks come in a 55mmx100mm mesh aperture, but this can be changed to 55mmx50mm. This will reduce the possibility of items that fall out of their storage containers ending up on the floor and becoming waste.
How to organise a warehouse should always be at the front of one’s mind when managing or setting up a warehouse. You could be a newly emerging e-commerce company or a well-established operation, organisation should always be at the front of your mind.
The biggest benefit of organisation is efficiency. An efficient warehouse will maximise its profits and grow much faster than an unorganised one. Along with that, you will be able to maximise the storage space available to you. Warehouse space is at a premium following the e-commerce boom that has followed the covid pandemic so making the most of the space available to you is pivotal. An increase in organisation will also help to keep your stock and your operatives safe, the latter being one of the most important things about running any business.
Where to start with how to organise your warehouse?
If you have a blank canvas this will be a little simpler than a pre-existing warehouse with a large stock holding and pre-existing infrastructure.
Firstly, to maximise the space available, you are going to want a racking system. This is usually characterised by a succession of uprights connected with beams that the pallets can be placed on top of. Whilst this is the cheapest option, it does leave room for error:
1. If the pallet isn’t placed on the beams properly, the pallet could fall and cause damages to products.
2. Usually, the depth of the racking is between 900mm and 1100mm. If the items, you are storing are not palletised then it has nothing to sit on.
3. If the pallet the goods are on is damaged it could break at any time and cause damage to the products on the lower levels or warehouse operators.
The solution is to use a form of decking across the beams to ensure that the above situations don’t happen. Fortunately, this is our speciality. We design and manufacture a wide range of mesh decks, known as the easySHELF™, to suit nearly all eventualities. There are 2 main types of deck available, wooden and wire mesh. Read our previous blog on why you should choose wire mesh decking over wooden decks.
The next best step would be to clearly label each level and run of the racking system. This means that when the operators walk down the aisle, they will be able to tell what is where. Although this seems obvious, a lot of old warehouses don’t keep up with relabelling racking as products and positions change which causes confusion and is inefficient. This could also be accompanied with a map of some description for operatives; this is especially important for large sites.
Another good way to improve organisation is to compartmentalise the bays using dividers. This creates dedicated picking bays and ensures the different products remain separate. This is also more suited to lose items which makes it easy for operatives to pick multiple items for an order. An example of this might be clothing for an online retailer. We design and manufacture our own dividers, known as easyDIVIDER™, out of our Nottinghamshire based manufacturing facility,
At QTS, we offer a variety of storage solutions that suit nearly every situation. Our stock products that are the most common solutions can be purchased from our online shop. If what you require is more bespoke in nature, contact one of our sales team today.
Finally our silent auction for Rainbows children’s hospice is now live! We have an amazing opportunity for you to win a round for 4 at the exclusive JCB Golf & Country Club.
About Rainbows Children’s hospice:
“Sadly, some children simply don’t live long enough. Since 1994 we’ve opened our doors and hearts to those children and the people who love them most. And now more than ever, we need your help to keep on bringing care and happiness to our children and families.
As the East Midlands’ only hospice for children and young people, we provide vital care and support to families impacted by life-limiting conditions
Your support means we can provide end of life care, symptom management, short breaks and respite care. We can also be there to support parents and siblings through their bereavements.
Our team are there for families when they need us the most, but we couldn’t do our work without the help of people like you. We know that together we can bring more love, smiles and laughter to our children, young people and families.”
To win the silent auction for Rainbows, email your highest bid along with your full name and contact details to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Competition opens at 9am on the 1st September and will close at midnight on the 15th September 2021.
The reserve price is set at £300 (£75 per person). Bids below this will not be counted. Your donation must be made by the winner to our JustGiving page (link below) within 72 hours of notification. Failure to do so will result in the prize going to the second highest bidder.
We have continued to build upon our successes from Q1 of 2021 throughout Q2 with lots more new and exciting developments that will take QTS’ products and services to the next level.
Exclusive: Craig De-Lara discusses the exciting vision for QTS’ future
As we reflect on one of the most challenging periods in QTS history, I’ve been extremely proud of the many examples of grit, resilience and determination shown by the shinning stars within our team.
Despite these challenges, QTS and our teams have remained committed to providing our customers with the best service, driving improvements at every opportunity and as such, have navigated our way through some truly unprecedented conditions.