When you’re thinking about outsourcing your warehousing needs, it’s a good idea to understand the different type of shelving (known as racking systems) that warehouses might use. While this might seem like a superfluous detail, the racking systems on which your goods are stored can affect how easily and quickly they can be delivered to their final destination.

The Point of Racking Systems
Racking systems allow for a nice compromise between efficient use of space and quick access to what is needed. The most important distinction between racking systems is whether they are last in first out (LIFO) or first in first out (FIFO). Below are three approaches that are often used.

Drive-In/Drive-Through
Many warehouses use either drive-in or drive-through shelving. This lets the warehouse operator position pallets on a series of rails to maximize storage capacity.

  • Drive-in storage uses LIFO, while drive-through storage is FIFO.
  • One drawback to either approach is that, since forklifts are used, there is an increased chance of damage to stored items.
  • For items that are not date sensitive, drive-in shelving usually works best.

Flow-Through
In flow-through shelving, goods are loaded at one end and are removed at the other.

  • This type of shelving uses the FIFO approach.
  • Gravity pushes the items along on a series of wheels.
  • When one item is unloaded, the next item will slide to the front to be unloaded.

Push-Back
Push-Back shelving is basically the reverse of flow-through shelving.

  • Since it uses the LIFO system, new items push older items to the back.
  • Once the item at the front is removed, all of the pallets behind this item slide forward.

If you’d like to know more about warehousing options and how First Call Trucking & Courier may be able to help you with your inventory overflow and/or storage needs, please feel free to contact us.