Your Guide to Warehouse Pallet Racking

Do you know the difference from wide aisle to push-back? Confused about whether you need a multi-tier to drive-through racking? Let our guide to warehouse pallet racking help you find the right system for your business.

When it comes to the subject of creating a highly efficient space in your warehouse, it is your storage equipment that will deliver maximum impact. Yet, with so many different types of warehouse pallet racking on the market, choosing the best one for your operations can be overwhelming.

Established in 1987 and having a proven track record within the logistics industry, at Teepee we understand how getting the correct warehouse racking system in place will help you achieve optimum productivity. Here, we explain the different types of systems that we provide, covering what each system is for, how it works, and key advantages for your business.


Do I need racking or shelving? 

This is one of the most common questions we’re asked at Teepee. There is no right or wrong answer to this one and it is possible to have both in your warehouse. In most situations, making a choice over racking or shelving largely depends on your space and the type of products you store.

Pallet racking – although not always the case, you normally choose pallet racking if you store items that are larger and heavier. The increased depths of the shelves make them ideal for holding pallets which you access by fork-lift trucks or automated processes. You can adjust beam to accommodate changing stock levels and utilise the full height of your warehouse.

Shelving – with shelving, you will usually store smaller and lighter items which are loaded by hand. Shelving is smaller than racking providing a more efficient space-saving solution. Goods are much easier to store and access, and due to its design, it tends to be a more cost-effective option.


What warehouse pallet racking do I need?

In its simplest form, warehouse pallet racking consists of metal frames and beams which are designed to safely hold up tonnes of stock. Yet, the way you configure the structure can have a huge impact on how well your warehouse performs. There are several different solutions and, with the correct design, your warehouse pallet racking will maximise your storage and streamline how stock moves through your warehouse. Here are your options.


Wide Aisle Pallet Racking

warehouse pallet racking - wide aisle

This type of warehouse pallet racking is suitable for:

  • Warehouses with space
  • Warehouses that need lots of flexibility and adjustments

How does it work?

As the name suggests this system consists of single or double runs which are separated by wide aisles (normally 2500 – 4000mm in width). It is a very versatile storage option that gives forklift trucks direct access to the pallets. The flexibility of this system allows you to store an array of palletised goods, perfect for handling a variety of product ranges.

Wide aisle racking has the flexibility to support a mix of stock profiles at the same time, yet with the flexibility to easily adapt when needed. It also provides you with better control and management of your inventory.

You can fit wide aisle racking with an array of accessories such as pallet support bars, skids, weld mesh and timber shelves, enabling you to store a vast range of none palletised goods.


  • A very common and simple system to install and use
  • Quick access to stock
  • Immediate and unrestricted access to each pallet
  • High throughput speed
  • Adapted and utilised to suit your requirements and space e.g., adapt the height of the rack, the number of rows and much more
  • Standard forklift trucks


Very Narrow Aisle Pallet Racking (VNA)

warehouse pallet racking - VNA

This type of warehouse pallet racking is suitable for warehouses with:

  • Limited floor space
  • High and increasing stock

How does it work?

If warehouse space is a problem, this is the ideal solution for you. As with the wide aisle racking, the system consists of single or double runs, but the true benefit is in the aisle space. The clue is in the name because this racking has aisles that range from only 1.5m up to 2.0m in width.

With VNA racking the sky really is the limit (almost) and you can take advantage of the full height of your warehouse. This makes it an ideal option if your business is growing. The racking can be put in place and additional storage space released as and when you need without having to relocate to a bigger warehouse.

Safety is key with this type of racking. The aisle width is too narrow for a standard truck to operate and instead requires a specialist VNA forklift truck. A wired guidance system fits to the floor which guides the trucks down the centre of the aisle. Stability is key. To avoid the chance of the racks being knocked by trucks, the racking must sit on an even, preferably concrete, floor.


  • Efficient use of warehouse space
  • Minimises need to relocate
  • Immediate and unrestricted access to pallets
  • High speed

See an example > A. Perry & Co (Hinges) Ltd | Teepee Warehouse Solutions


Double Deep Pallet Racking

warehouse pallet racking - double deep

This type of warehouse pallet racking is suitable for warehouses with:

  • Long shelf life / non-perishable stock
  • More than one pallet per storage unit

How does it work?

This is essentially a standard pallet racking system. However, the main difference is that this system allows you to create a depth of two pallets that sit back-to-back.

Double deep racking solutions require a specialised truck having telescopic forks, which enables the operator to place the back pallet onto the system first, and then place another pallet in front.


  • Efficient stock control system
  • Maximises use of space
  • High density


Multi-tier Pallet Racking

warehouse pallet racking - multi tier

This type of warehouse pallet racking is suitable for warehouses with:

  • Limited floor space
  • Manual picking systems
  • Quantities of small products such as online retailers

How does it work?

Multi-tier racking essentially creates a series of usable walkways at different heights throughout the racking. This has the advantage of maximising your floor space by creating multiple hand-loaded picking zones throughout the racking. Walkways are fitted between the shelves with access via a staircase.


  • Optimises height
  • High speed
  • Accessible and adaptable
  • Removes the need to install mezzanine floors
  • Improves picking and packing process


Push Back / Pallet Live Racking

warehouse pallet racking - push back

This type of warehouse pallet racking is suitable for warehouses with:

  • High-density storage in a limited area
  • FIFO or FILO operations

How does it work?

There are two systems available:

  • Push back racking uses a First In Last Out (FILO) system. Pallets load onto a specially designed gravity roll track that pushes previously loaded pallets deep to the back. This system can store up to 10 pallets deep allowing efficient use of warehouse space. When you pick a pallet, the next one behind will move forward. Pallets load and unload from the same aisle picking space. You can store several SKUs without the need for moving large quantities of pallets to gain access.
  • Pallet live racking work on a First In First Out (FIFO) method. It is ideal for fast-paced environments such as food manufacturing. Pallets roll down specially designed lanes that are controlled by a series of inbuilt brake rollers. Each lane is loaded with pallets at the replenishment side and collected at the picking face on the opposite side to control stock rotation and levels.


  • 85% space utilisation
  • 4m – 4m aisle widths
  • Quick and easy access to pallets located at the picking face
  • High speed
  • Boost productivity
  • No need for specialist equipment


Drive-in, Drive-through Racking

warehouse pallet racking - drive in

This type of warehouse pallet racking is suitable for warehouses with:

  • High-density storage
  • Bulk storage systems
  • Limited stock rotation
  • Cold storage environments (e.g., refrigerated and frozen warehouses).
  • Seasonal products
  • Low turnover products

How does it work?

Drive in racking is a high-density storage system which is ideal for warehouses that stock a large number of pallets per SKU. The design of your drive-in racking will maximise your storage space by minimising the number of aisles needed for trucks. Multiple racks sit alongside each other with pallets loaded onto designated lanes and accessed by forklift trucks. Each pallet is supported by pallet rails which are attached to the uprights of the system. Pallets to be placed back-to-back within a compact structure to optimise both the vertical and horizontal space.

There are two ways the forklift truck can access the pallets:

Drive-in – this is designed on a last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory management basis. The forklift truck loads and picks each pallet using the same aisle.

Drive-through – this is designed on a first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory management basis. The forklift truck has access to both ends and therefore can load from one side and unload from the other.


  • 85% space optimisation
  • Low risk of damage
  • Maximum flexibility – expandable

See an example > Minor Weir & Willis (MWW) | Teepee Warehouse Solutions


Need help with your warehouse pallet racking?

We hope that this page has helped you to find the right system for you. If you’re looking to increase your storage space, why not get in touch and see how we at Teepee can help. We work closely with our customers to design bespoke storage systems that get to the heart of their business to maximise their storage and boost productivity.

If you have any questions, get in touch with one of our team who are on hand to help you out.

Contact us today.



How Often Should You Inspect Racking?

One of the most critical components in your warehouse is your racking system. If designed and installed correctly it should support your business, improve processes and speed up orders. Above all else, keep everyone safe. It would be nice to think that once up, you take racking off your list of jobs. However, this is not the case. To keep your equipment in good working order you also need to continuously inspect racking. A process that extends over the lifetime of your structure. Follow the correct inspection steps and it will uphold safety levels, reduce maintenance costs and help warehouse owners to meet their responsibilities.

With over 35 years of experience in the storage industry, Teepee knows a thing or two about helping businesses keep their racking safe. In our blog, we look at what you need to consider and how often you should inspect your warehouse racking.


Finding the Right Guidance

Navigating the process can be challenging to get your head around. However, there is plenty of guidance available which, together with support from Teepee, will help you stay on top of your racking responsibilities.

The first place to look is the Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA). They are a leading voice within the storage industry and are proactive in the development of standards in racking systems. They develop and influence both National and European Codes of Practice and guidelines for all types of storage equipment and in particular cover the inspection process.

Guidance is also available in HSG 76 Warehousing and Storage: A Guide to Health and Safety from the HSE. Although it is not a legal requirement to follow the advice, adhering to the guidance is usually enough to comply with legislation. Their advice aligns with guidance produced by SEMA and follows the lifetime of your racking from the design, supply and installation right through to maintenance and inspection processes.


Meet Your Racking Responsibilities 

inspect racking - know your requirements

Owners of racking equipment need to be aware that storage equipment falls under the classification of work equipment. It is your responsibility to assess and maintain your racking in accordance with PUWER (Provisions and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998).

From the very start, you are responsible for ensuring the equipment is suitable for its intended use. It means checking the design of the racking works for intended loads and correct installation processes have been followed. In a market with very few barriers to entry, it is always advisable to work with a SEMA Distributor Company like Teepee. The accreditation provides reassurance the racking supplier has been through an independent assessment to prove their safety and quality credentials.

PUWER also expects you to provide adequate training for your employees and instruction on how to use the equipment. Moving forward you must then check it is safe to use, maintained in a safe condition and regularly inspected.


Inspect Racking – Step-By-Step Guide

When it comes to the inspection of your racking, SEMA advises adopting a three-tiered approach.

  • Daily – as soon as your racking is in place, you need to keep an eye on it. Every day it will be receive numerous knocks and bumps which, if you don’t address, can quickly turn into big problems.The people best placed to regularly keep an eye on your racking are your employees After all, they are working around the equipment every day and can quickly spot if there is an issue. However, they can only do this with correct training and knowledge to know what a problem looks like. That’s why at Teepee we hold our Racking Inspection Training which instructs your staff on the safe operation of your racking system.
  • Weekly –every week a nominated and trained member of your team must perform a more detailed inspection. This is a Person Responsible for Racking Safety otherwise known as PRRS. Their role is to check everyone is following correct usage, record damage levels and implement action on any points. A formal record of their inspection will be written for your records. Again, our Racking Inspection Training can prepare a member of your staff to take on this role.
  • Expert – the final stage is the Expert inspection which you must undertake at least once a year. In accordance with HSE requirements, only a professional with the correct qualifications can undertake this type of inspection. They will conduct racking and storage assessments while also reporting and making recommendations to maintain the safety of your racking.


What to Expect from Your Inspection Report

Ideally, you want an approved racking inspector who uses a traffic light reporting system. Their report will indicate what damage is present and action requirements over what timescale.

inspect racking - traffic light approachA Red risk indicates serious damage which requires immediate offloading of the rack. At this stage, you must isolate the racking and not use it until the repair work is complete.

Amber shows where the damage is severe enough to require remedial work but does not require ‘immediate unloading of the rack’. However, as you empty pallet positions do not refill the area. If the repairs are not complete within a four-week timeframe the area automatically becomes a red risk,

Green areas indicate where damage falls within SEMA limits and is considered safe, serviceable and suitable for use. The area will be recorded for further consideration at the next inspection.


If you need an expert inspection, get in touch with Teepee and we can arrange for one of our fully qualified and insured racking inspectors to visit your site. They will produce an electronic report that adheres to SEMA inspection guidelines. The report will detail specifications, conditions, damage list by location and photographic evidence for remedial works by your approved supplier.

Need Racking Training for Your Employees?

how often should you inspect racking?

When looking for a racking safety course, it’s worthwhile getting your training from experts who work within the industry. After all, the course should be worth paying for the time and money you are putting in. That’s why at Teepee, we make sure we put our experienced inspectors at the front of the class! Giving you and your employees the chance to draw on both their knowledge and experience.

We will deliver our interactive Racking Awareness, Safety & Inspection Course at your premises and prepare your employees for both the daily and the PRRS weekly inspections. The classroom-based element of the course will equip candidates with a level of competence that meets guidelines and legislation.

Once the classroom element is over, we move out onto the warehouse floor. This practical section gives your employees the chance to inspect your racking in familiar surroundings. They will work alongside the qualified inspector to ensure continuity of findings between the in-house and expert inspections.

Upon completion of the rack safety course, we issue a certificate. This details the date achieved, the expiry date and the name of the facility’s competent PRRS. The certification lasts for THREE years after which they will need to go on one of our refresher racking inspection courses.


Need to Inspect Racking? Teepee Can Help!

At Teepee, we’re more than just creating and delivering the perfect storage solution. Keeping on top of your inspections may seem like a complicated task, but work with us and we’ll make sure it’s something to take off your ‘to-do’ list.

Book an inspection with Teepee and we’ll make sure you never forget your next expert inspection and ensure you meet SEMA and HSE recommendations. Two to three months prior to your next inspection we’ll get in touch to discuss your equipment, help with any problems you may have and book one of our Approved Inspectors to pay a visit to your site. Tick all the boxes and get your employees booked onto our Rack Safety course.



Warehouse Racking Layout


When it comes to designing your warehouse, you can never plan enough. Do you know what layout you will have? What will your inventory management be like? What stock are you storing? How will it be handled? 

There are many different aspects and principles to consider. Yet get the planning right, choose the correct racking and it can provide numerous benefits for your business. It is all about making the most out of your warehouse to increase efficiencies, improve productivity and meet customer needs. 

We take you step-by-step through the different design aspects you must consider when talking to a racking supplier. If it does get too overwhelming, don’t forget that at Teepee we have a team of experienced warehouse pallet racking experts of 35 years who can work with you to design your perfect solution. We can take all the planning and designing weight off your shoulders, putting put your warehouse in the best hands. 

Are you ready to start? 


The Layout 

Warehouse racking layout

The first place to start is with the layout of your storage solution.  

Storage Volume 

Every warehouse has a maximum storage capacity. One of the most common issues is running out of space.

which means you either start planning to move to a bigger warehouse or rent additional space. Yet understanding how to maximise your constraints can make the most of the space with the flexibility to adapt in the future.  


How many pallets will there be passing through the warehouse? Once you have an idea of quantity it can help determine the right choice and layout of your storage system. For example, if you have a large number of pallets per SKU then a bulk storage solution such as a drive-in/drive-through racking will be worth considering but if you have multiple SKUs, you may need more than one type of storage system. 


Of course, ease of accessibility to your stock will ensure orders get out of the door as quickly as possible. Consider who and what equipment is involved in the picking and packing process. This will not only drive productivity but will also improve safety standards. After all, if an obstruction stops a team member from accessing stock or no consideration is given to safe working zones you could run the risk of a serious accident occurring. 


Inventory Management

warehouse racking layout support

Getting your inventory management process in order is the optimum way to choose the best warehouse pallet racking system. At the same time it will also support your throughput of stock and drive ROI. 

How will you manage the inbound and outbound stock moving through the warehouse? Once the pallets arrive, what would the flow be like, where would they go and what is their journey? The team should make sure that the shipment is correct and moved to a designated racking system where it can be stored until used in the outbound process. 

This will then lead to the matter of traceability and always knowing what is inside the pallet and how it travels from point A to point B. By putting traceability as one of the priorities, you can achieve quality control and enhanced productivity. 


Storage Solution

warehouse racking layout support

Finally, on to the backbone of your warehouse – finding a racking system and design shape that works best for your business. 

Racking Systems  

With over 30 years of experience in the logistics industry, at Teepee we understand how getting the correct warehouse racking system in place will help you achieve optimum productivity. There are multiple pallet racking options and the type you need depends on your warehouse, stock and processes. If you would like more information, head over to our blog ‘Your guide on warehouse pallet racking systems’ which covers what each system is for, how it works, and key advantages. 

Once you’ve chosen the best pallet racking, it’s on to the design shape of the system. 


Design Shape 

  • U Shape is a simple design that allows inventory to move into and out of storage at different rates. As the name suggests, the warehouse pallet racking is set up in a ‘U’ shape with shipping and loading at the front the storage is at the back. From a land use perspective, it is known as the most economical design. It can also split the warehouse into three different zones – fast-moving storage and pick faces at the front, medium-moving storage in the middle, and slow-moving storage at the back.  This reduces the distances travelled to access the stock. 
  • I Shape allows inventory to move into and out of the storage at a uniform, fast rate. There is just one direction meaning the receiving area is at one end and the dispatch area at the other. If you do pick this shape, remember that the inventory will need to travel the whole length of the warehouse before being able to retrieve the stock. 
  • L Shape allows inventory to move into and out of the storage at a cross-docking operation. Loading and reception areas are on one side of the warehouse and picking and shipping are on the other. The rest of the space is then filled with storage. 


Warehouse Pallet Racking Safety

Safety and a warehouse should always go hand-in-hand. After all, the consequences of something going wrong with your racking while holding tonnes of stock is not worth considering. 

Yet, in an industry that is largely unregulated, knowing how to trust the experience of your racking supplier can be difficult to navigate. Does your supplier have the appropriate credentials to assure that your racking system is safe? Do they meet and exceed regulations required by industry standards?  

One way to get reassurance on the quality and safety of your supplier is to work with a SEMA Distributor Company (SDC). For over 50 years SEMA has led the way on providing best practice standards within the storage equipment industry. As one of their SDCs, every three years Teepee has to demonstrate their high level of commitment to industry standards by submitting ourselves to an independent assessment. During the rigorous process, we must show that we adhere to over 40 regulations, industry standards, Codes of Practice and legislative requirements to retain our membership and prove our credentials. 

We also follow industry best practice advice and use SEIRS registered installers. SEIRS is an initiative run by SEMA which trains warehouse pallet racking installers on the methods and processes to safely and correctly install pallet racking. 


Get in Touch

Looking to maximise your warehouse? Get in touch and see how one of our team can help you with the design of your racking. At Teepee we have 35 years of experience, providing services from the very beginning right through to the completion of the project. We can assure you that you will be supported through every key stage.