Watch Proper Pallet Flow Loading & Unloading

Pallet Flow Racking is a high-density storage solution using slightly inclined wheeled or roller tracks to store multiple deep pallets. Pallets loaded on the charge side of the lane gently flow in a controlled manner toward the opposite pick aisle for fast, efficient storage and order selection. The efficiency benefits of pallet flow are many including automatically replenished pick face pallets, maximized SKU selectivity and deep-lane storage, but one of the biggest benefits is the fact that the system relies solely on gravity to flow the pallets… not automated, computerized, or electrical systems. While the system is simple to load, there are some basic instructions that must be followed to ensure that the pallet flow system performs as designed for the long-term.

First – Take a quick look at our short video showing How NOT to Load a Pallet into Pallet Flow

Improper Pallet Flow System Loading

As you can see from the video… the first forklift operator does what we call a “toss & launch” of the pallet onto the system. While it seems fine in that the pallet lands in the lane and seems to flow forward as expected, what we aren’t seeing is the damage that can be done to the flow system with the abrupt drop of the pallet. As well, it is much more likely that the pallet will not track centered down the lane if it is rather haphazardly placed. If the pallet doesn’t track evenly down the lane it can get stuck in the lane causing an expensive and potentially dangerous extraction, and it is unlikely to arrive squarely at the pick face making for a more difficult pick.

Avoid Toss & Launch:

  1. Abruptly dropping the pallet will cause damage to pallet flow lane.
  2. If the pallet isn’t squared from the start it is more likely to improperly track down lane.
  3. If the pallet is askew it is more likely to get stuck in the lane.
  4. If the pallet isn’t square at the pick face it is harder and takes longer to extract from the system at the pick aisle.

Now, here’s a short video showing how to PROPERLY Load & Unload a Pallet Flow Lane

Proper Pallet Flow Loading - Mallard Manufacturing

Pallets must be loaded and unloaded with the forklift squared up to the face of the rack. Do not approach or withdraw at an angle.


  1. When loading a flow lane, the pallet must be level and two to three inches above the wheels or rollers, a true line by more than 1/16”.
  2. Position pallet into lane and slowly lower and tilt the pallet down onto the wheels/rollers, ensuring the front of the pallet is flush with the front beam, until contact is made.
  3. Position the second pallet by following the first procedure until the lane is fully loaded.
  4. When removing pallets from a lane, lift the pallet to a level position just high enough to clear the front beam and any ramp stops, if present. Withdraw at a slow constant speed.
  5. Make sure the following pallet comes to the front of the system. If for some reason the pallet is stuck and does not roll forward during the unloading, push the pallet back in then back out again (also known as “plugging”). If the pallet is still stuck, reload the lane and do not unload until the cause of the jam has been found and removed.

For more information on proper maintenance of your pallet flow system and fixing pallet hang ups, check out our Pallet Flow Maintenance blog. Remember, your Mallard pallet flow system is uniquely designed to ensure proper flow for designated pallet loads… Just set it down and let it roll. If you are experiencing system challenges and or have changed the inventory that the lane was originally designed to support, give us a call. We can audit the system to ensure it will continue to benefit your operation for the long haul.

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