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You have a need for high density storage – your options are drive-in and push-back… or so you think, but what about Pallet Flow?  Yes, both drive-in and push-back  are excellent warehousing and storage options in certain circumstances and the upfront expense is less than pallet flow, but pallet flow racking has its own benefits and some of those may surprise you.  Let’s check them all out:

A quick overview leads us to see that while all are powerhouse dense storage options for all three major interior climate conditions, drive-In is an economical choice for deep-lane storage of like SKUs using last-in/first-out (LIFO) inventory rotation. Push-back is another efficient LIFO solution but with greater lane selectivity, but it’s pallet flow racking that is your best choice for first-in/first-out (FIFO) inventory rotation especially for dated goods, food items or perishables.

Now, when you’re talking large volume storage of low-rotation, long-shelf life products, drive-in comes to mind. Because of the dense configuration, this system can store more pallets in less space than other rack options.  The biggest challenge however is one to be seriously considered and that is the need for the fork truck to drive in and out of the system to deposit or pick up each load.

Drive-In Pros:Rack-Master-Drive-In-Rack-4

  • High-density storage, low footprint
  • Low relative cost per sq. footage
  • Up to 10 pallets deep

Drive-In Limitations:

  • Limited to LIFO product rotation
  • Not fit for storage of dated goods
  • Added time and labor to drive in and out of the system
  • Rack is vulnerable to fork truck damage
  • “Honeycombing effect” inventory management challenge

Next let’s check out push-back rack.  Push-back is a common warehouse storage solution and for good reason… the nested carts of this system provide an ease of storage and retrieval all within a deep-lane configuration. Push-pack systems are much faster to load and unload than a drive-in system and rack damage is significantly reduced because the fork truck does not have to enter the system.  Each level can store a different product providing access to several SKUs, again, as opposed to drive-in.

Push-Back Pros:pushback1

  • Save space with single aisle access for load and unloading
  • Save travel time for load and unloading
  • Faster to load & unload than drive-in
  • Full SKU selectivity for every pallet position

Push-Back Limitations:

  • Limited to LIFO product rotation
  • Limited to 5 or 6 pallets deep per lane

Digging a little deeper, however, we find an even greater versatility that comes from pallet flow racking. Pallet flow offers dense storage yes, but also ease of load/unloading and the same SKU selectivity as in push-back.  Where pallet flow starts to run away from the pack is with ease of reconfiguration and the ability to store palletted and non-palletted items.  If you’re in a situation or are planning for the possibility of handling a fluctuating inventory, than pallet flow will work for you. Check out this list of some of the benefits of pallet flow:

Pallet Flow Pros:Magnum High Denisty Pallet Flow

  • Cost effective in either deep or shallow-lane configurations
  • Efficient storage of high volume/low SKU products
  • Accommodates pallet and non-palletted materials
  • Easily reconfigured for shifting inventory specs
  • Orderly & efficient separate aisle loading and unloading

Pallet Flow Limitations:

  • Requires warehouse personnel to load & pick
  • Requires front and back aisle
  • Higher initial expense than drive-in or push-back

Mallard pallet flow goes even several steps further than traditional pallet flow in offering features and accessories to enhance your pallet flow system and help you realize the benefits of your initial investment.  Here are just some features available with the Mallard pallet flow systems:

  • Light, medium and heavy-duty wheel options
  • Steel roller track options handle up to 5000 lbs. of load
  • Standard in-line or staggered designs to accommodate varying pallet configurations
  • Built in speed controllers for added inventory and worker safety
  • Variety of speed controller capacities unique to pallet weight
  • Pallet separator accessories relieve pallet back-pressure for heavy and high loads

There are lots of choices in our industry because there are a lot of unique needs.  Give us a call to discuss your product rotation needs and fulfillment goals and we will work together to find the best solution for you!

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