4 Pillars of Warehouse
Operations You
Can’t Overlook

The Responsibility of Warehouse Operations

Do you own, manage, or work in a warehouse? Warehouses can serve as the perfect way to store and utilize equipment and products, but it’s important that they’re well organized and follow proper safety and security procedures!

For those of you who have a lot of inventory and rely on your warehouses to serve as storage units, there’s the added difficulty of limited space.

Below you’ll find key warehouse storage techniques that can increase space, efficiency, security, and safety in your warehouse. Follow these tips to save money, increase your warehouse storage capabilities and operational efficiency while protecting your personnel from injury.

1. Warehouse Safety Practices for Your Employees

It’s important to note when considering warehouse safety practices, that the fatal injury rate for the warehousing industry is higher than the national average for all other industries.

For this reason, it’s important to study and understand warehouse safety best practices.

Use Proper Protective Equipment

Using proper protective equipment is critical to any warehouse safety process.

Emphasizing the importance of using personal protective equipment, like gloves, safety glasses, hard hats, steel-toe boots, etc., can prevent serious workplace injuries and illnesses!

Your safety process should explain:

  • When it’s necessary to use proper protective equipment
  • Why it’s necessary to use proper protective equipment
  • How to properly put it on, adjust, wear, remove, etc.
  • What limitation the equipment might have
  • How to maintain, care for, and dispose of it

Lastly, it’s important to note that one of the primary reasons proper protective equipment is not used is because the equipment doesn’t fit properly! If the equipment isn’t comfortable, your employees are less likely to use it. In short, to best ensure the use of proper protective equipment, make sure your team understands the importance, value, and use of the equipment and see that it fits properly!

Ensure Products Are Stacked Properly

One of the greatest safety measures to follow is falling product safety. As your employees grow comfortable on your shop floor, they can become less aware of their surroundings, zone out, and assume their own safety. This is when a severe injury can occur. 

As products are stored or moved, they can be pushed back - oftentimes too far - and fall from their perch onto your unsuspecting employee. This is primarily caused by improperly stacked materials, but can happen regardless of proper stacking methods.

Be Mindful of Repetitive Motion Injuries

Another important warehouse safety topic is repetitive motion injuries! These injuries are caused primarily by poor ergonomics, like improper manual lifting and handling. In fact, repetitive motion can cause severe, even crippling, injuries.

Back injuries are most common, but many musculoskeletal injuries can occur as a result of improper motions/ergonomics.

The warehouse safety tips below in regards to this warehouse safety topic come directly from OSHA. These tips should be disseminated throughout your organization:

  • If possible, use powered equipment instead of requiring a manual lift for heavy materials
  • Reduce lifts from shoulder height and from floor height by repositioning the shelf or bin
  • Ensure overhead lighting is adequate for the task at hand
  • Provide employees with task-oriented ergonomic training
  • Use your legs and keep your back in a natural position while lifting
  • Test the load to be lifted to estimate its weight, size, and bulk and to determine the proper lifting method
  • Get help if the load exceeds the maximum weight a person can lift safely without assistance
  • Don’t twist while carrying a load, but shift your feet and take small steps in the direction you want to turn
  • Keep floors clean and free of slip and trip hazards

Prevent the Unsafe Use of Forklifts

This is a critical issue in warehouses. Forklifts don’t just cause injuries when improperly used – they can cause severe injuries and even death when a human is involved in any forklift incident. They are powerful machines.

To keep your warehouse and employees safe from forklift damage and injury, it’s important to follow every forklift safety protocol.

Make sure anyone who operates a forklift is trained, certified, and (at least) 18 years old. In addition, you’ll want to keep them properly maintained and avoid driving over 5 mph. And for the best measure, yellow tape floor markings and guardrails along walkways help to make everyone more aware of their surroundings in the shop or warehouse.

Provide Proper Fire Safety and Emergency Procedures

If you don’t have a detailed and public emergency plan, make this your top priority!

If you want to provide a safe work environment for your employees, it’s so important that you not only have an emergency plan, but your employees know exactly what it is and what is expected of them if or when an emergency occurs.

Clearly marked exits, exit strategies/procedures, location and use of fire extinguishers and other equipment are all important aspects of an emergency plan that you should have, share, and test in your warehouse.

Talk to our Team about your Unique Safety Needs!

2. Warehouse Best Practices & Equipment for Product Safety

No matter what industry you're in, efficient safe storage can offer three major benefits: It provides necessary protection for your employees (as discussed previously), it prevents product injury, and it contains your products better than other storage methods, which can prevent product shrinkage!

Falling Product Safety

Falling product safety is a critical issue for any warehouse storage strategy. It’s a major money-saving technique and prevents product shrinkage!

As stated previously, this is something that happens as a result of the products being stored or moved. They can be pushed back too far and fall from their perch.

Pallet rack backing is the perfect solution to this problem. They're designed specifically to provide total falling product safety and protect your products from harm. 

Pallet Rack Enclosures are another great way to prevent this. These enclosures allow you to enclose existing pallet racks with wire mesh panels and doors, so there's no longer a need for concern for those products falling on your employees!

They work similarly to pallet rack backing, but are more extensive and provide an added element of protection and safety in addition to perfect product containment, injury protection, and theft prevention.

Product Damage & Theft Prevention

There are two major pieces of equipment you can use to protect your products from damage and theft.

  1. Guardrails
  2. Pallet Rack Enclosures

Guardrails are capable of withstanding high impact situations. One significant benefit to choosing guardrails as a safety product is that they can protect your equipment from damage as well as preventing employee injury. 

Much like guardrails, pallet rack enclosures, as we already mentioned can also offer multiple benefits. They allow you to provide critical safety best measures for your employees, but also protect your own products from damage.

But how do they prevent theft? A complete Pallet Rack Enclosure will encase the top, back, and sides of your rack/products and include doors on the front for easy–but secure– access. This provides a higher level of security plus safety by surrounding your product completely, from every angle! 

Download our Safety, Security, & Separation Guide

3. Warehouse Racking Tips to Maximize Storage & Inventory

Warehouse racking is a common storage method in warehouses around the world. 

If you work in or own a warehouse, you probably use racks (or pallet racks) to store and protect your inventory. 

To help with this, there is a plethora of tips, tricks, and tools you can read, study, download, and follow when it comes to warehouse racking and storage. Below, you’ll find some of the warehouse racking tips we’ve found most helpful over the years.

Create a Pallet Racking System

The first step you need to take in order to maximize your storage and inventory potential through warehouse racking is to create a pallet racking system that’s specific to your products, employees, and warehouse. 

Consider the weight of your products. It’s typically standard to place heavier or more bulky products on lower racks, saving the lighter, easier to maneuver products for the top! This is an important safety measure, but will also protect your products, your employees, and your pallet racks... and allow for more strategic storage from top to bottom. 

Additionally, your pallet racks probably have weight limits. In this case, it’s important that you and your employees know the weight limits and follow them. If you underload a rack, you miss out on valuable storage space. If you overload a rack, you risk the potential for the rack to buckle in on itself or tip over. This is obviously an expensive oversight to make sure to emphasize the importance of this to your team!

Another aspect of any warehouse racking process should be even product distribution. This is important because an uneven rack can lead to two significant issues:

  1. Less storage space due to poor distribution
  2. The entire pallet rack tipping over

Maximize Storage Space with Pallet Rack Safety Panels

Pallet rack safety panels are the best tools for creating an efficient pallet racking system. Why?  Because pallet rack safety panels don’t just protect your inventory from harm and your employees from injury, but they also allow you to store more inventory in the pallet racks you have. This is because you’re able to stack materials higher and more strategically without any fear of falling products.  

Though, as the name communicates, these safety panels are primarily used for the purpose of safety, they also allow you to utilize every square inch of space your warehouse and/or pallet racks will allow.

See all the products we recommend for the best and safest storage

4. Warehouse Equipment You Simply Can't Ignore

Inventory "loss" is not as uncommon as we would hope, which is why it's worthwhile to take extra measures and discover newer, better ways to keep your products safe and secure. A person's entire job can be focused on security and loss prevention, whether in retail or within the operations of an industrial facility. In fact, 25% more manufacturers and retailers invested in tools for inventory management in the last few years. This is why we wanted to devote an entire section on the main recommendations and equipment solutions you can't ignore based on numerous use cases in warehouses throughout the country.

Don't Forget the Uses & Benefits of RackBack ®

Pallet racks are a handy and convenient way to store your inventory, but they can leave it vulnerable to damage and also pose safety risks to personnel. RackBack ® Pallet Rack Back Guards were created to solve these exact problems.

In addition to being able to provide a safer work environment for your employees, RackBack ® helps to ensure the safety and protection of your products by keeping them from falling. 

Providing proper stacking methods through RackBack ® Pallet Rack Back Guard accomplishes three major benefits:

  1. It prevents product injury 
  2. It protects your employees
  3. It contains your products better than other storage methods – which prevents product shrinkage

Now, you probably have a better understanding for what a RackBack ® does, but you might be wondering, what exactly RackBack ® is. 

RackBack ® is a wire mesh safety panel. These panels can be bolted directly into the back of your existing pallet rack uprights, creating a sturdy barrier between your stored inventory and the ground (or employees) below. 

They’re quick and easy to install and provide the warehouse safety solution every warehouse needs. The RackBack ® Pallet Rack Backing System is made of 2" by 2" by 10 gauge steel welded wire mesh, which is welded into a 1 ¼" by 1 ¼" by 13 gauge steel angle frame. Additionally, panels have pre-drilled mounting holes on 6" centers and are provided with flush mount or offset brackets to allow for pallets that overhang the beams. 

If any of that was hard to visualize, the main thing you know is that RackBack ® Pallet Rack Back Guards are strong, safe, durable, and easily installed. Their built to fulfill that promise. But if you want to see more of it for yourself, get that here or request a quote for your custom equipment needs.

How to Utilize RackBack ® For Best Results

First of all, every warehouse that incorporates inventory stacking should utilize some form of pallet rack back guard, no matter way. They’re critical towards proper warehouse safety measures. 

In addition, RackBack ® provides a better value, strong, longer-lasting, and more efficient solution to that need. 

Utilizing RackBack ® starts and ends with installation. Once you have a RackBack ® Pallet Rack Backing System in place, you can sit back and relax. Your job is done– at least for that part of your warehouse!

Why Choose WireCrafter's RackBack ®?

Choosing RackBack ® as your solution for pallet guarding is a simple decision because of the high quality and added rigidity that they offer. In addition, they come with "above the top" mounting that allows panels to extend about the top rack beam for extended backing and product/employee safety.

In addition, the standard 3/8" assembly hardware is the heaviest in the industry – and can even be customized with heavier options! 

Consider the Extra Measure of Pallet Rack Enclosures

Let's not forget that a warehouse full of shelf after shelf of valuable commodities is always at risk of theft. When large amounts of inventory are left visible and easily accessible, the risk of inventory shrinkage grows. RackBack can effectively keep a product steady in its designated storage place but the best way to control access and prevent theft to that product is with pallet rack enclosures. We've already talked about this but if you haven't utilized them or if the ones you currently have are shoddy at best, it's time to invest in this worthwhile equipment.

Pallet rack enclosures provide a barrier between your inventory and everything else. If you have high-value inventory, then you definitely will want to consider investing time and money in choosing a custom enclosure that will work best for you, your team, and your space. But, whether your inventory is extremely lucrative or not, product loss is nothing to ignore! Even small losses can lead to big problems for our bottom dollar and your reputation.

Finding the Right Pallet Rack Enclosure for You

Pallet rack enclosures come in many shapes and sizes for better product storage, especially with our custom manufacturing. The better fit you're able to find, the easier your inventory control will be. There are two key elements to consider:

  1. Panels
  2. Doors

Pallet rack enclosure end panels can be attached to a pallet rack end with flush mount angle clips. To separate multiple bays, end panels can be manufactured with a flat frame which allows the panels to be attached to the pallet rack end with self-tapping screws. Back panels are also attached directly to the rack with angle clips.

If you're able to find enclosure panels the same size as your beam, this will give your facility optimal security for your products and inventory stored on existing pallet racks. These are details our team would be happy to talk with you about! It's our model to always ensure our enclosure panels match beam length and width.

Pallet rack enclosure doors can be used to secure existing pallet racks into a secure storage enclosure too! This is important because, if you already have pallet racks, you'll want to find enclosures that will work with your current storage system. The last thing you want to deal with is replacing all of your pallet racks or purchasing pallet rack enclosures that don't fit correctly. 

Top things to consider as you sift through door enclosure options are whether you want sliding doors or swinging doors. This will depend on your product, your storage availability, and preference.  

For most, sliding doors are a better option. This is because they can be designed to use minimal aisle space and work in areas with smaller aisle clearance. In addition to that, when multiple bays of pallet racks are side by side, sliding doors are mounted on a double-track system and allow one door to slide out of the way in front of the other door.

If you have a warehouse and are looking to prevent product damage, provide better safety measures for employees, and implement better methods for product shrinkage prevention, then our Pallet Rack Systems– RackBack ® and Rack Enclosures– are your answer. 

View our RackBack & Rack Enclosure Product Brochure!

Implementing the Best Warehouse Management Systems

Improving your warehouse operations is a process. We hope these tips and equipment recommendations are a helpful part of that. We believe they will be because it's our commitment to you. Supporting your safety, security, and the organization of your facility drives our innovation and manufacturing.

As you seek to implement the best warehouse management systems, remember that employee safety should come first, followed by prioritizing falling product safety, inventory loss prevention, then implementing effective storage and workflow techniques.

With the right solutions, you will rest easier knowing your facility, products, employees are taken care of!

We wish you the best of luck going forward and, as always, we’re here to help! Let our team at WireCrafters help provide you with solutions you're still searching for! Free design and layout assistance is available! Contact us today to get started.

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