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When the working storage capacity of a warehouse exceeds the 85 percent utilization level, productivity levels tend to take a dive. This can be attributed to a variety of issues, like extra work caused by the commingling of multiple pallets or SKUs in storage locations, overly congested receiving and shipping docks, and so on. The best way to remedy these problems is to increase your warehouse’s storage capacity, but that doesn’t always have translate to a whole new shelving system. Keep reading as we explore some alternatives for increasing your facility’s storage capacity – from changing your aisle widths to reimagining your existing used pallet racking – and what your options are if you do choose to purchase a new system.


Try Changing Your Operating Aisle Width

A warehouse’s operating aisle widths are determined by a number of factors, including the type of material handling equipment that is being used, the size of the pallets, and the amount of room that is required for vehicles to pass within the aisles. Before you shell out all the cash needed to purchase an entirely new racking system, you should rethink your current aisle widths to see if you can increase your storage capacity that way. Examined below are the three different types of operating aisle widths that you can choose from.

Very Narrow Aisle (VNA)

VNA warehousing usually calls for aisles that are between 72 and 78 inches wide. They require the use of specialized equipment (like turret trucks and specialty order pickers) in order to facilitate proper pallet storage and handling. As its name suggests, very narrow aisles are extremely narrow. This means that only one vehicle can work within an aisle at any given time, which can affect your facility’s operations. VNA configurations are often seen in warehouses that require high storage density solutions or when the variety of products being stored exceeds the number of pick facings that are available at floor level.

Narrow Aisle

Narrow aisles usually clock in at about 108 to 132 inches in width. This type of racking configuration is appropriate for electric vehicles (such as reach trucks). This aisle size can be designed to comfortably accommodate two forklifts at once, allowing for more operational flexibility. The majority of North American facilities utilize narrow operating aisle configurations.

Wide Aisle

Wide aisles are usually at least 156 inches wide. This operating aisle width is most commonly seen in conjunction with sit-down counterbalance lift trucks (A.K.A. traditional forklifts) for heavy load handling, which is common in manufacturing or cross dock operations.

Consider Utilizing Your Own Used Pallet Racking First

Prior to considering any changes to your existing storage system, it is always a good idea to do a quick inspection to see if you can increase your warehouse’s storage capacity simply by altering you existing rack’s elevations. Start by walking the aisles to look for excess space between the top of the pallet and underside of the beam; a gap that measures more than 6 inches is considered lost storage capacity. To begin taking advantage of this “lost” space, you can adjust the horizontal beams within your own used pallet racking, saving you a lot of money and expanding your facility’s capacity. While this may seem like an easy task, you should never DIY your own warehouse shelving. Instead, hire a certified professional to properly alter your pallet racks and consult a company that specializes in warehouse design solutions to ensure that your new layout is up to code.

If All Else Fails, Get New Pallet Racking

If you simply cannot avoid completely replacing your current racking system to increase your warehouse’s capacity, there are some high-density storage options that you can pick from, including:

Single Deep Selective Racking

This type of pallet racking is probably one of the cheaper options when it comes to purchasing a new racking system. Single deep selective racking works well for warehouses with limited floor space, but they still enable operators to easily access the stored goods from both sides.

Double Deep Selective Racking

Double deep selective racking is a storage system that utilizes selective racking to store products two rows deep to deliver 50 percent more storage capacity than its single deep counterpart. The biggest drawback of this style of shelving is that it requires specialized pallet handling attachments for your industrial vehicles.

Push-Back Racking

Push-back racking is a racking system that allows goods to be stored up to 6 pallets deep on either side of an aisle, giving you up to 90 percent more storage space than single deep selective racking. With that said, this type of system can lead to poor pallet accessibility for your facility.

It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list of your industrial shelving options; you should always do your research to discover all of the storage options that are available to you.

Are you searching for a better way to address your lack of storage capacity? Give us a call at Darr Equipment today to see how our warehouse analysis, design, and installation solutions can help you tackle any and all of your current inventory storage challenges.

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