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What is Warehouse Racking?

Posted by On 29-05-2024
What is Warehouse Racking?

What is Warehouse Racking?

Warehouse racking systems are storage methods that most warehousing operations use to hold and organize inventory. These racking systems typically consist of several industrial shelving units made of materials like metal. They are used for storing boxes or pallets in multiple levels of rows that stack up horizontally.

The racks and the set-up determine how easy (or difficult) it will be to store and retrieve inventory items. Ultimately, this will affect the warehouse’s overall operational efficiency. 

With the right approach to warehouse racking, a business can optimize storage and double or even triple its inventory-holding capacity.

In addition to providing a cost-effective solution to limited space, warehouse racking systems contribute significantly to enhance warehouse organization. They provide dedicated space for each SKU (stock-keeping unit), thus making it much simpler to find and pick units.

The Different Types of Racking Used in a Warehouse 

While a warehouse racking system is critical to storing inventory in a limited space, several different types of warehouse racking systems are available. 

The best system for your warehouse will depend on your needs.  The following are some of the most common types of racking methods used in warehouses:

Selective Warehouse Racking

Selective racking is a system in which the aisles are very narrow.  It only allows enough space for a single pallet to move through them.

The benefits are, employees or robotic picking systems can retrieve the pallet easily despite the narrow aisle.  

Drive-In Racking

Drive-in racking is one of the simplest and most affordable options for high-density storage within a warehouse. Unlike selective racking that have pallets accessible from all sides of the rack, drive-in racking involves forklifts driving into a rack’s bays to retrieve stored products.

This system is optimal for the last-in-first-out (LIFO) inventory process that has low turnover times.

Drive-Through Racking

On the other hand, if your warehouse prioritizes a first-in-first-out (FIFO) inventory, a drive-through racking system is more optimal. 

A drive-through racking system has one end of the aisle accessed for loading, while the other is for unloading. This system is vital when storing perishable products.

Push-Back Warehouse Racking

Another approach to racking that suits the LIFO inventory process well is push-back racking. With push-back racking pallets are stored two to five deep. Plus, the system has rails and carts that move forward or backward depending on inventory volume.

The Best Way to Set up a Reliable Warehouse Racking System

In addition to deciding on the right racking for your business, it is necessary to arrange them to best maximize efficiency and prevent bottlenecks while ensuring warehouse safety. Consider the following when setting up a warehouse racking system:

Spacing Between Racks

To maintain good material accessibility, it is necessary to ensure sufficient spacing between racks (placing racks too close together could compromise picking efficiency). Next, confirm no pallet loading or picking points will blocked.

Aisle Width

Aisle width will depend on the style of racking system you choose. Aisles need to be wide enough for material-handling equipment to move around with ease. 

This is crucial for maintaining both efficiency and safety within the warehouse. 


Rather than ordering inventory alphabetically or by SKU number, sometimes it makes more sense to arrange the inventory based on picking practicality. 

For instance, it helps to store items commonly purchased together. Group seasonal products, and place items that sell with higher frequency in easily accessible locations. Consider all of this when setting up a racking system.

After the system is developed and installed, label each storage position with a location and maximum weight allowance. These will serve to simplify the picking process even more for warehouse workers.

How You Can Benefit From Top-Notch Warehouse Racking With Wills Transfer Limited

If you want to leverage the warehousing services of a 3PL provider with a racking system and a proven track record, Wills Transfer Limited will provide you with exactly that. 

Serving Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec with top-quality warehousing storage, order fulfillment, and logistics services since 1945. 

Our efficient racking systems have allowed our customers to maintain optimal Pick and Pack so that their products can always be delivered to clients in an organized and timely fashion.

We offer comprehensive warehousing solutions that can grow and change along with your business’s evolving needs. We do this through a full spectrum of services, including picking and packing, kitting, asset tagging, container de-stuffing, cross-docking, inventory management, and more. 

Someone from our team of warehousing experts would be happy to work closely with you to assess your requirements. We will put together an assortment of warehousing solutions that will serve as a recipe for your success. Interested in decreasing operational costs, reducing stock outs, and improving fulfillment levels? We will you get there in no time. 

​​For more information about our wide range of warehousing services, or to learn more about the types of racking systems employed in our warehouses, call Wills Transfer Limited at 613-704-7549 or contact us here.