Carton flow racks are a powerful piece of warehouse equipment to be using on your pick line. Many warehouses who discover their speed and efficiency end up using more than one of these racks on their line. If you aren’t familiar with them, though, you could be missing out on a key piece of equipment that could help speed up your team while reducing errors. RMH Systems has carton flow and gravity racks in stock and ready to ship, so take some time to learn more about these racks and why they might be the right solution for your warehouse.

Carton Flow Racks: Discovering the Basics

What is a carton flow rack?

Gravity flow racks are simply racks that are slightly tilted forward and have rollers on the shelf. These rollers push cartons and products forward as items in front of them are removed. It’s a simple concept, but it’s one that materials handling facilities should put in place on their lines because of the huge difference it can make in productivity. The way that these shelves function is a sharp departure from the way the other materials storage occurs in your warehouse; the majority of your storage surfaces are going to be flat horizontal places, made to keep items stationary until they are accessed. Carton flow racks are made for movement and to keep items going through to their next stop on their journey to the customer.

What are the advantages of carton flow racks?

Carton flow racks might not be the answer for every warehouse, but it’s important to learn about the potential advantages in order to determine whether or not they could be right for your Illinois business. Some of the advantages include:

  • The ability to quickly manage multiple SKUs. Because you’ll be able to have a visual on a number of SKUs at once, it’s much easier to manage those items with less travel time and effort.
  • Take up less space than other picking systems. These shelves can be quite compact, and because you don’t need access for restocking on both sides, may take up less space than your other picking systems.
  • Great for organizing smaller items that are frequently accessed. The carton flow racks allow smaller items to move forward, keeping the shelves organized and all items within reach.
  • No need to reach to the back of the shelf to access products. On stationary shelving, pickers will have to reach to the back of a shelf to get to the last item. That takes up a lot of additional time and effort and slows down ordering picking while increasing the chance of strain injuries.
  • Great for first-in-first-out stocking systems. Because the shelves can be restocked from the back, there will be a constant flow of product moving towards the front. This is ideal for SKUs that require the first-in-first-out system.
  • Stock can be placed on either side of the rack. While ideally the racks should be restocked from the back to allow picking teams to work at the front, they can be restocked from either side. This opens up opportunities for faster restocking.
  • No interruption of the pick line worker’s flow. Pausing to allow for restocking can really interrupt the picker’s workflow and slow them down on order fulfillment. When restocking happens from the back, there is no need to interrupt their work.
  • Easy to check inventory levels. Because you can see exactly how many items are left on the shelves, it’s easy to determine what needs to be restocked and reordered and when.
  • Reduces the amount of travel required to pick items. Items are all there at the picker’s fingertips, meaning they won’t have to travel as far to pick the items that they need. That’s great news for your productivity numbers.

Are there disadvantages?

In some instances, carton flow racks might increase the amount of handling required to get items out the door. Your team will need to put them on a traditional storage shelf until those cartons are needed for stocking purposes on the carton flow racks, meaning there will be at least two instances of those cartons being handled. That could, potentially, increase your risk of damage.

However, the only disadvantages that you are likely going to experience with carton flow racks are using them when they might not be the best option for your warehouse. For instance, if you are primarily dealing with palletized items, then you may not have a need for carton flow racks. But if you fulfill orders with smaller, carton or individually packages items, then you are unlikely to experience any disadvantages from this addition to your warehouse equipment.

Speaking to a warehouse equipment expert can help you determine whether or not these are the right solution for your warehouse.  There may be other opportunities for improvement that you are missing out on for your pick line, and the RMH Systems team can help with that, too.

Looking for Warehouse Equipment to Speed Up Your Pick Line?

RMH Systems can help. While most warehouses rely on selective pallet racks for the bulk of their storage, this certainly isn’t the only storage option out there. There are a number of options that could help increase the productivity of your warehouse, and in particular, increase the efficiency of your pick line. It’s a matter of working with a knowledgeable partner who can help you find the right equipment for your needs while staying within your warehouse’s budget. That’s where the RMH team can help!

We’ve been working with warehouses in Illinois and across the warehouse to find the solutions that are right for them. We’d love to start working with you, too. Give our project managers a call and let’s talk about how we can help you increase production in your warehouse with a customized system that incorporates carton flow racks and other warehouse equipment options. Call us or contact us through our website today and ask to speak with one of our project managers to get started.