At McGee Storage and Handling, we work with a variety of industries and we've seen that many of our clients across the board have a common challenge: to optimize the pick locations at floor level. Typically, pallets are stored above in a secondary location and then the product is let down per product or by the case to a location that can be reached at floor level, which is the primary pick location. I acknowledge that there are warehouse automation options that bring parts to the pickers, which can often be cost-justified, but the focus of this blog is to provide a variety of storage options for floor picking.
SpeedCell (now owned by Unex) has been a popular manufacturer for many years now. This product allows you to hang columns of cubbies from a track that is supported by the first pallet beam level. Each column can be slid from side to side to make way for the columns behind it, making it a highly flexible option. Most installations are two or three columns deep, though the size of the column can vary greatly, with the option to add accessories like removable dividers.
This is a great option for treating higher volume items. Though there are many different variations, the concept remains consistent. Take a single pick face and increase its depth, then allow the product to self-free via gravity to the pick face. Often, the focus on a materials movement or storage project is primarily on the cost of the materials. Where there was once a single shelf that was maybe two- or three-line items wide with little depth, there is now a feed line in the back for picking.
This option increases the picker's range. If the limit to the floor pick is 72", a ladder cart can increase the accessible height from two to five feet. Adding a ladder is not always optimal, but if you look at your current pick area and are able to add one to three additional levels of storage, these ladders suddenly become very attractive.
Sometimes there are just too many stock keeping units (SKUs), and in these cases, double decking (or triple) makes the most sense. With this option, you can take advantage of the cubic space and maximize the number of parts in a single footprint. Double decks come in many shapes and sizes, from a pick module that handles pallets and case goods to shelving which normally handles less than case pieces.
This solution allows access to the back of pallets or containers sitting on the floor or often the first level. If pickers are bending awkwardly under the first level of racking or climbing to the first level the solution of pulling the pallet out manually and picking becomes an inventory control and ergonomic wing.
By no means is the above list all-inclusive. I can almost hear some of you thinking of stack bins, order picker carts, and many others. Each client has a unique set of circumstances, and it is our job as material handling specialists to wade through them with you and uncover the best value proposition. To get in touch with us and learn more, click the button below!