Have you recently taken on a new warehouse? Maybe you’re looking to give your racking a boost because your current equipment isn’t working for your business. Whatever your plans, there will definitely be a wish list of requirements for your racking to deliver. But, getting there isn’t as easy as you think. When making such a big investment, it’s crucial to choose a pallet racking supplier who can deliver a precise mix. This includes choosing the correct equipment for the job and a design that maximises safety and works for your business.
However, search for a pallet racking supplier and you quickly find it is a saturated market. Choosing one can be incredibly difficult. How do you know if they are qualified for the job? Will their design and racking choice deliver the most for your business? How do you know if they’ll maximise Return On Investment (ROI)?
In these days of ‘buyer beware’ it’s right to be cautious with your buying decisions. After all, racking may look simple, but the complexity of your system’s design, manufacture, and installation cannot be ignored. Especially when you consider the critical job it does to safely hold tonnes of product above your employees’ heads. In our blog, we look at the key areas to consider when choosing a pallet racking supplier.
How can pallet racking help your business?
Let’s start with the basics, why does getting the correct pallet racking for your business matter so much? As the growth in online shopping continues, the need for a workable warehouse is more important than ever.
Your racking plays a central role in delivering on expectations and should deliver on the following four areas:
- Maximise productivity: As a business owner, you want to your warehouse to run efficiently to maximise productivity and increase revenue. With the correct layout, your racking should maximise storage capacity, improve inventory management and make the journey from initial order to leaving the warehouse as seamlessly as possible.
- Meet industry regulations: Within the warehouse and racking industry there are numerous regulations that every business owner must be aware of. Your racking installation, depending on the size of the project, might fall under Construction Design & Management Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) requirements. Guidance has also been provided by the HSE in HSG76 Warehousing and Storage: A Guide to Health and Safety. Although it is not a legal requirement to follow their advice, doing so can help you meet expected Health & Safety standards. Lastly, your racking is classed as work equipment and falls under the requirements of PUWER.
- Create a future-proof warehouse: Your racking is a big outlay, and you want to protect these costs as much as possible. To future-proof your warehouse and your investment, you need to consider whether the design of your racking has accommodated potential growth or adaptability in changing stock profiles.
- Increase safety: Last, but not least, there is the element of safety. Your racking should put safety at the forefront and aim to protect your employees at all costs. Does the design of your racking incorporate features such as safe zones, reducing the risk of falling loads or designated processing areas? These can all help to protect your employees while they work around the racking.
What to expect from a pallet racking supplier?
So, with an abundance of suppliers on the market, what should you expect when you get in touch with a racking company?
After the initial consultation to establish your requirements and understand if your distributor can meet your requirements, the pallet racking supplier should visit your warehouse. This enables them to fully examine your warehouse processes and space before on the best system for your business.
They should be looking at the available space in your warehouse which includes the floor capacity and height of the ceiling. They will look at how often you need to access pallets and if you need zones for different processing tasks. The review should also consider the shelf life of the items you are going to palletise and their storage requirements. Answering questions like these will lead towards choosing the most suitable racking and design for your business.
Apart from the basic requirements of product system knowledge and correct design, you also need to work with a pallet racking supplier who can give your warehouse a boost. Warehouses have become multi-functional spaces and must work harder than ever. To meet these demands, you will probably need multiple systems for your project. Work with a supplier, like Teepee, who can deliver a turnkey solution which uses a range of products from different manufacturers. This affords us the flexibility to pick and choose the very best solution that meets the characteristics and needs of your business.
Using Teepee as a central contact point will save you a lot of time and energy. Gone is the need to negotiate with different companies and arrange delivery timescales and installation schedules! Working with our experienced project management team will minimise disruption to your business and ensure the installation complies with statutory requirements, building control, and CDM 2015 regulations.
Do their racking installers work safely?
Once you and your supplier have worked through the most appropriate design for your warehouse, it’s on to the installation stage. Ensuring ongoing safety through the quality of the racking installation is an area that is often overlooked. Yet, making even one small mistake at this stage can increase unnecessary damage to the structure or, at worst, render the racking dangerous.
Always check that your supplier is working with installers who have gained industry qualifications. Never assume they are correctly trained. In reality, most installers learn on the job, and it is very easy for them to pick up bad habits. One recognised, industry qualification is SEIRS. Run by SEMA, SEIRS instructs on correct racking installation methods, industry-specific requirements for the job and practical skills when installing racking.
SEIRS is also a recognised qualification by the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). So, if your racking project does fall under the remit of a construction project, you can be sure that your SEIRS CSCS installer has the qualifications to meet H&S requirements to work on site.
What after-sales care does your pallet racking supplier offer?
Once your racking is in place, the support from your pallet racking supplier shouldn’t stop! Do they have an after-sales team who can answer any queries? Will they come to the site if any problems do occur? Can they also advise on the best way to protect your racking from damage?
To protect your investment and enhance safety in the warehouse, your pallet racking supplier should provide training for your employees. This provides them with the knowledge required to work safely around the racking and identify when damage occurs. The training should also guide you on how to perform weekly inspections that confirm with HSG76.
As the owner, you must also get an approved racking inspector to inspect your equipment at least once a year. Their detailed inspection report will cover the suitability and compatibility of your equipment, and rack configuration type and classify any damage using a traffic light system to indicate actions required and the recommended timescale to address them.
How to find a pallet racking supplier?
Now you know why you need correctly designed racking and what to expect from your supplier, it’s time to find the best company to work with. Of course, we’ve all done it, jumped on Google to search for a business before clicking on a few to check their company website. They all look impressive, demonstrate their experience and have plenty of testimonials and case studies. But is this enough? Does this make them reliable enough to put such a big investment into their hands?
Some words of warning. Experience is not always a measure of quality and safety. There are also very few barriers to entering the pallet racking market which means not every company has gained an accreditation to start supplying.
One of the best places to start is by heading over to the SEMA website. The Storage Equipment Manufacturer’s Association (SEMA) are a leading voice on safety and quality within the racking industry. They offer guidance on everything from meeting industry regulations to safety in racking installations all the way through to implementing the correct inspection procedure.
Companies, like Teepee, can apply to become one of their members as a SEMA Distributor Company. To successfully gain our badge, we have to demonstrate via an independent audit, that we adhere to over 40 key measures. These include regulations, industry standards, SEMA Codes of Practice and legislative requirements. On top of that, every three years we must submit to another independent audit to ensure we retain the expected quality and safety standards.
Racking Solutions From Teepee
Now you know what to look for from your racking supplier, are you ready to get started? If you’ve got a warehouse storage project planned in the near future, why not get in contact with Teepee? We will provide you with a free, no-obligation quote for the job. Plus with our long-standing relationship with suppliers, we have the skills and knowledge to deliver a full turnkey project.
Why not get in touch today?