Lead Forensics

What types of warehouse storage systems are there?

There are a number of different options available to the owners of warehouses when it comes to storage systems. Each of these has its affordances and limitations, and the one that will be best for you can come down to several issues.

These include the size of your warehouse space and the sort of items that you need to store. Safety and efficiency should be the two watchwords when it comes to deciding what storage system you will adopt.

In this piece, we will look at what the main systems are in a bit more detail so that you can determine which will be the best for your warehouse.

Pallet racking

This tends to be a popular system for large and extremely busy warehouse operations. Usually, the racks utilised for it are constructed from one of the following materials: plastic, steel or wood. They are typically deployed to hold stock that the warehouse takes receipt of in boxes.

Pallet racking can be a cost-effective and efficient system for busy warehouses, since the racks support a lot of pallets at any given time and make it easy to locate one when needed. Either forklifts or human beings on ladders are usually deployed to get the pallets on and off the racks.

Safety will be an issue when determining how high to stack the pallets, but most racks will be designed with that in mind.

Mechanical system

This means that any items that are to be stored on racks and shelves, or removed ready for packing and dispatch, are located and picked by an automated mechanical device similar to an arm, which is controlled by computer.

It is not the quickest way of picking large quantities of goods, but it can be an effective supplemental system. It works well when smaller items need to be located that employees can have difficulty finding, saving your operation time. Potential mechanical breakdown is a downside.

Block stacking

This simple system involves either the goods or the pallets being stacked in blocks on the floor of your warehouse. They are generally placed in outside lanes, minimising obstruction for workers trying to get from one part of the warehouse to another.

It is an extremely cheap storage system, but also has several drawbacks. Firstly, it takes up a lot of floor space; secondly, it can make getting items that are at the bottom of piles awkward; and finally, it is not always a very efficient use of your storage capacity.

Multi-tier racking

This system is almost the opposite as it seeks to maximise the vertical storage space available within a warehouse. Multi-tier racking sees several tiers of racks set up for holding goods and is an excellent method to use if you frequently store large quantities of fairly small-sized items.

Of course, every warehouse has different amounts of space, but some companies that provide the durable steel racks used can create them in customised sizes to suit your operation.

Static shelving

This is another very commonly used type of storage system in warehouses. Static shelves remain in the same place within the warehouse, and they are usually deployed for comparatively lightweight items that have to be replenished on a frequent basis.

A downside to static shelving is that it does not allow for the use of forklifts in putting items on the shelves or removing them for packing and dispatch. Therefore, it should only be deployed for inventory that can be picked by hand.

Mobile shelving

Mobile shelving sees the storage shelves fitted with anything from rail or carriage systems to castors so that they can be shifted easily from one area to another. It is intended to allow greater amounts of goods to be stored in the minimum amount of space.

It is also about maximising efficiency and productivity by making it simple for employees to pick inventory for dispatch. A downside is that, just as with static shelving, forklifts are not suitable for use with it.


This involves building an additional floor above the main one for use in storage. On the plus side, it can greatly increase storage capacity. However, it is also a very expensive system that requires the right sort of warehouse shape to begin with.

Drive in racking

Drive-in racking sees pallets placed back-to-back on large steel racks with enough space between them for forklift trucks to be deployed in picking items. It is a very good system if your warehouse deals with sizeable amounts of the exact same stock and can really make efficient use of the available space.

A potential negative is that manoeuvring forklifts between the aisles can be time consuming.

At Steely Products, we manufacture high-quality steel racks for warehouse storage. Use the contact form below to get in touch with us.

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