We’re told that we should learn from our mistakes, but at Mallard we’d rather keep you from making them in the first place. That’s why we are sharing some of the most common mistakes that we try to avoid when working with customers to design pallet flow racking systems.
Mistake #1 – Using inferior or damaged pallets
Pallet condition is a significant concern because it must make direct contact with the pallet flow lane. Pallets that are broken or splintered will track poorly down lane and could leave debris behind damaging the lane and causing pallets to get stuck. Avoid downtime and potential inventory damage by retiring or repairing damaged pallets. Here’s a deeper look at good vs poor pallets for use in pallet flow.
Mistake #2 – Using the same pallet flow lane configuration for a wide range of pallet weights
A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t always a cost-effective solution. Pallet flow lanes are specifically configured to handle pallets of certain weights or at least weight ranges because it’s important that the rollers or wheels be responsive to the pallet to ensure smooth, safe flow. Too light or too heavy and your pallets could either get stuck in the lane or flow too quickly. Here’s more information on how and when to choose a universal or varied pallet flow lane configuration.
Mistake #3 – Using the same pallet flow lane design for a variety of different pallets
Piggy-backing on the two mistakes above… again we are talking pallets, but this time it’s pallet-type specifics. With many pallet types i.e. wooden, plastic, molded, wire, etc. and many different pallet sizes a single pallet flow lane design doesn’t necessarily make the best choice. It’s relatively easy to customize the lane for the expected pallet load and doing so can save you money in time and service. The best way to ensure you’ve got the right lane configuration is to test it out first in our Engineering Testing Lab.
Mistake #4 – Accurately planning for warehouse equipment i.e. forklift, layer picker, pallet jack
It’s most common to access your pallet flow rack with a forklift but you must know the max height and capacity of your trucks. With that information, we can accommodate for weight and height restrictions in the configuration of the lanes to make the best use of standard or specially-equipped forklifts. We also have products specifically designed for use with pallet jacks and layer pickers for areas of your warehouse that you may not have even considered pallet flow as an option.
Mistake #5 – Insufficient inventory planning
Are pallets single, double or even triple stacked? Besides skewing pallet weight calculations, double and triple stacking effects pallet stability and may require accessories such as speed controllers, ramp stops, and rails as well as specially forklift attachments. We recommend testing your pallet loads prior to ordering to make sure everything is ready to roll as soon as it’s installed.
Mistake #6 – Warehousing space constraints and obstacles
Generally, pallet flow is loaded and picked from separate aisles. So, do you have the space for standard pallet flow lane configuration? The good news is that despite the answer we may have a pallet flow solution for your warehousing challenge. We’ve installed pallet flow rack against back walls, designed push-back pallet flow lanes that use single aisle for load and pick, and many other creative configurations. If we know what we are up against, we can work out the best solution.
Mistake #7 – Not properly accounting for back pressure
Back pressure, particularly at high pick locations, can be serious a warehousing concern. The pressure of the rear pallets bearing down on the front pallet in pallet flow lanes can be easily controlled with speed controllers.
Calculate the pressure by multiplying the number of pallets by .06 (e.g. 5 x .06 = .30), then multiply that number by the pallet weight (e.g. 30 x 1200 = 360 lbs.). That will give you the additional weight that is being applied to the front pallet without help from speed controllers. Removing that added pressure provides a safer work space and protects inventory from damage. Mallard offers several speed controller products for each type of lane configuration… we can help you choose the one that’s right for your system. Take a look at our Case-Pick Separator in action.
Well, hopefully there is some food for thought for planning your inventory storage and fulfillment processes. We believe that by following these configuration tips you’re more likely to get the pallet flow solution you are seeking. Remember though, the biggest mistake you can make when designing pallet flow rack is not calling the Mallard Gravity Flow Specialists! So, give us a call and let’s solve your warehousing challenges together.
(800) 243-6694 (USA only)