Warehouse and Racking Glossary
Every industry has its domain specific language, racking and warehousing is not alone in having some strange terminology, here we present a few of the terms and acronyms to help you understand the products a little better.
- Bay – A term used to describe a section of racking or shelving, as in a bay of racking, or a bay of shelving.
- Beams – horizontal beam determines the size of the bay and the weight that can be carried.
- Block Stacking – The storage of pallets by simply storing one stacked on top of another on the floor. This fully utilises floor space without using racking but has inherent dangers such as toppling due to load instability and damage to stock from movement and crushing. Stock control and rotation are harder but turnover is normally high as conventional gas or diesel powered trucks are used in this kind of operation which is ideal for large white goods.
- Cantilever Racking – is a specialised form of racking primarily used for the storage of long items likes steel stock, bar pipe and timber . Cantilever racking comprises of uprights with arms that are anchored on to one end of the racking column and protrude outwards at an angle to prevent items falling off.
- Carton Live Storage – Is a system designed for depth space whereby cartons, boxes or other un-palletised goods are supported on inclined rollers or gravity wheel tracks so that the goods travel automatically from the loading side to the unloading side of the installation. Also known as Gravity Flow or Dynamic Flow racking systems. Sometimes has complex motion and braking systems to control the speed of the moving pallets.
- Double Deep – utilising the LIFO queuing of pallets providing double the storage space per SKU to accommodate the fast turnaround of stock. A cheaper alternative to purchasing swing reach trucks and utilising a VNA single selective design. Increased storage capacity and saves floor space.
- Drive In Racking – Provides high density storage of palletised goods with up to 80% floor space utilised with conventional forklift trucks. Pallets are supported by their edges in lanes up to 10 pallets deep, allowing trucks to load and unload pallets by driving into the racking.
- FIFO– an acronym for First In, First Out. The principle of a queue processing technique for products SKU’s. Products enter from the rear and are retrieved from the front.
- LIFO – an acronym for Last In, First Out. Found in Double Deep Pallet racking.
- Frames – In pallet racking the ends are known as frames and they are joined together with the addition of beams. Also known as Uprights.
- Longspan Shelving – For the storage of larger cartons, boxes and drums which are manually handled. Shelves are often up to 2.4 metres wide and are usually made of timber or chipboard.
- Mezzanine Floors – An intermediate floor or floors between the ground and roof level in your building, utilising the available space to its full potential. Available in a range of load bearing capacities they can provide space for offices, storage or production and can be served by staircases or lifts.
- Narrow Aisle Pallet Racking and Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) – As conventional pallet racking but serviced by more expensive specialised trucks. Floor space utilisation can reach 50% or better and racking to 15 metres high or more is possible.
- Pallet Live Storage – see Carton Live storage above.
- Pallet Racking – Is a system comprising of upright frames and horizontal beams that is designed to allow the easy storage and retrieval of individual palletised loads. Usually operated by conventional reach trucks it offers individual selection of every pallet stored and rapid throughput with floor space utilisation around 30%.
- Push Back Racking – A high density pallet storage system, which utilises the LIFO sequence as described above. Pallets are stored between 2 and 5 deep on carriers fitted on slightly inclined rails. The loaded pallets are pushed into the rack by the fork lift truck, and as loads are withdrawn the following loads move down behind them allowing them to be picked from the front in sequence. This system gives rapid throughput as it is operated using conventional trucks with floor space utilisation up to 70%. However, pallets in each location can only be selected on a “last in, first out” (LIFO) basis which limits stock rotation.
- Shelving – Any system where loading and picking of stock is done manually whereas racking is loaded with a forklift truck or other mechanical vehicle.
- SKU – an acronym for Stock Keeping Unit.