There are a lot of different types of warehouses and each of them has unique needs when it comes to warehouse equipment. As a warehouse manager, it’s important to know what kind of equipment your warehouse needs in order to run most efficiently. There are no one-size-fits-all warehouse equipment solutions, and tailoring your equipment to your needs can result in greater efficientcy and lower costs. Make sure you understand the different types of warehouses and the common storage solutions that work best.
Types of Warehouses
Manufacturing Warehouses deal with raw materials, work-in-progress, or finished goods. They store materials needed to create products, though the product may not actually be made on site at the warehouse. These warehouses may include storage of damaged or returned goods. They are owned by suppliers, distributors, and some retailers. The biggest challenge these warehouses face when it comes to storage is that they may have a significant number of SKUs, little rotation of inventory, and the items they are storing can be quite small.
Distribution centers are primarily used as very temporary storage for goods. Once the items have been through the manufacturing process and before they hit the store shelves, they may spend some time at a local distribution center. These warehouses usually work to supply local stores with the items they need for their shelves. Large companies like Wal-Mart have distribution centers across the United States which feed into a number of local stores.
Automated warehouses are ones that are largely run and managed through an automated process. This is a relatively new type of warehouse, but one that you’ll see more and more in the coming years. That’s because they are less expensive to run (fewer labor costs) and are more efficient with lower error rates. Companies like Amazon are known for their innovations with automated warehouses.
These warehouses are specialty types that are used for storage of items such as food, plants, and some medicines. Climate controlled warehouses face the challenge of keeping their climate at the required levels while balancing efficient storage. Most climate-controlled warehouses are relatively small, as larger spaces cost more to run.
What Warehouse Equipment Do They Need?
Even within these warehouses categories, it’s tough to give a universal answer as to their storage needs. That’s because every warehouse is unique and deserves a unique solution to their storage challenges. However, there are some general guidelines we can provide about which storage type works best for which warehouse.
- Automated Storage Systems. Obviously, this is going to be the solution for an automated warehouse. They’ll depend on mechanical arms to pick orders, conveyors to send the boxes through packaging, and may even load the trucks automatically.
- Pallet Racking. This is a storage solution that can work for almost any kind of warehouse. That’s why it’s the most popular form of warehouse storage in the world. If you aren’t sure which type of storage solution is right for you, this is a good place to start.
- Block Stacking. This is going to be the easiest method of storage since it requires no warehouse equipment at all, but it’s also the least efficient. The best use for this kind of storage is for very temporary storage or for something like cargo containers, which are all the same size and don’t need to be rotated through frequently.
- Drive in Storage. This is ideal for climate-controlled warehouses, especially for food storage. Drive-in storage allows an operator to drive a forklift into the racking to retrieve items.
- Pallet Flow. These are great for warehouses that need high-density storage but also need access to all of their products at all times. That might include distribution centers, but manufacturing warehouses for sure.
- Push Back Storage. This is the standard for cold storage. They are more versatile than drive-in pallet racking because they can accommodate cartons of different sizes.
So what kind of warehouse are you running? And do you have the right warehouse equipment for the job? If you aren’t sure or know it’s time for a change, get in touch with the DAK Equipent & Engineering team. We’ll make sure you have everything you need for a more efficient warehouse!