Starting a Warehouse? Here’s the Equipment You May Need
Starting a warehouse can be an overwhelming undertaking. There are buildings to inspect, layouts to plan and equipment to be bought before you can begin your enterprise.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with common warehouse equipment, as well as tips for planning your warehouse layout. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be.
East Coast Storage Equipment is here to help. Here’s everything you’ll need to know when starting a warehouse, including a basic warehouse equipment list.
Planning and Designing a Warehouse Facility
If you have never owned a warehouse before, the planning and design phase can be frustrating. There are a few things you should consider when planning your warehouse:
- Utilizing vertical space to maximize square footage
- The size of the equipment you plan to use
- How employees will move through the space
- Physical features that can affect product and worker flow, such as columns, fire sprinklers, docks and office spaces
- Layout of storage, picking and loading spaces
You may look at your empty warehouse and have no idea where to start. That’s OK — you’re far from the first person to feel this way. The good news is that there are plenty of solutions to be found. You just have to do a little research and planning and reach out to a professional if you need one.
Warehouse Equipment List
Perhaps the most important part of starting a warehouse is the equipment you select. You will need equipment for storing and moving materials around the warehouse.
What’s great about choosing equipment for your warehouse is that there is already plenty of high-quality used equipment to choose from. However, you may be unsure as to exactly what kind of equipment you need. Here are some essential pieces of warehouse equipment to consider:
Most warehouses are used for storing inventory, and many rely on steel shelving to store inventory in an organized manner. Steel warehouse shelving can conserve precious square footage for important equipment and workers. In addition to inventory, here are more things you can store on warehouse shelving:
- Shipping supplies
- Small, handheld equipment
- Personal protective equipment
Shelving is essential for organizing your inventory, supplies and equipment. It’s important to remember, though, that one size does not fit all when it comes to shelving. Learn about the types of shelving before you make a purchase. Thoroughly measure your space and address your needs for durability and ease of installation.
Storage Rack Systems
Storage racks are an essential part of any warehouse. This versatile equipment type is used in a variety of ways, including static racking for commercial use. Storage racks are especially useful for storing heavy items and specialty storage needs. Here are the different kinds of storage racks you may use:
- Cantilever racking
- Drive-in racking
- Carton flow racking
- Selective racking
- Pallet flow racking
- Pushback racking
Commercial storage racking is a great choice for any business that has to store inventory of any kind. No matter what industry you are in, you’ll almost certainly find a need for some kind of storage rack system in your warehouse.
The cost of starting a warehouse can really start to add up when you begin factoring equipment in. However, this doesn’t mean that you should cut corners on critical equipment like pallet racking. Avoiding cheap warehouse racking will ensure your equipment is durable and long-lasting, even after years of use.
Conveyors are not necessary for every warehouse. But if yours will be specializing in inventory picking, then you may want to consider purchasing a conveyor system. There are two different categories of conveyors: gravity and power.
A gravity conveyor moves materials without requiring a powered source. These are best for moving items short distances, but they can be used for long distances with human assistance and the right incline.
On the other hand, power conveyor systems require a power source. This kind of conveyor will not need human assistance and is excellent for bringing materials across long distances.
Be sure to consider the differences between gravity and power conveyors before you purchase a system.
Carousel systems are an excellent way to increase efficiency in your warehouse. These systems are made up of both vertical and horizontal shelving units. Horizontal carousel systems usually consist of stacked, open-faced bins on a circular track. These are perfect for batching items for an order.
Vertical carousels are automated, closed-shelf storage. Using the main control panel, workers can access the items they need without climbing or lifting. Both types of carousels are especially useful for picking inventory so employees don’t have to wander down rows and rows of shelves.
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This useful storage solution frees up a lot of space on the warehouse floor. Mezzanines are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can use. A mezzanine essentially acts as a second floor in your warehouse, usually including a set of stairs so that workers can easily access the additional floor space on the mezzanine.
There are a few different types of mezzanines:
- Catwalk mezzanine. This creates pathways throughout your vertical shelving so that workers don’t have to use dangerous ladders or lifts to access materials.
- Shelf-supported mezzanine. This solution uses existing shelving as the base support for the mezzanine.
- Free-standing mezzanine. Using bolted down columns that are installed with the system, this type of mezzanine does not use existing supports.
While mezzanines provide much needed additional space in smaller warehouses, they aren’t always cost effective solutions. Be sure to take a close look at your storage needs and equipment costs before you settle on a smaller warehouse. The money you save on the initial purchase may have to go towards additional storage solutions to make up for the lack of space.
If you happen to get a great deal on a smaller warehouse, then mezzanines provide the perfect space optimization solution.
Even if your warehouse will deal in relatively lightweight inventory, you’re likely going to need some lift equipment to get pallets and other items into and out of the high places in your racking configuration. That’s where lift equipment comes in handy in a big way.
Forklifts are probably the most common and well-known type of lift equipment. Forklifts are borderline essential in warehouse environments, but they are not the only kind of lift equipment. Depending on your space, racking setup and business needs, you may need one or more other types of lift equipment:
- Freight lifts and vertical conveyors
- Boom lifts
- Scissor lifts
- Aerial conveyors
Installing Warehouse Equipment
Once you have planned the layout of your warehouse and the equipment you’ll need, you’ll have to install all of that equipment. This is a time-consuming and often stressful process. You’ll have to follow specific instructions to ensure that everything is installed safely.
If you go the DIY route, be sure to check that all equipment was installed safely to avoid any accidents. When you are sure that you have correctly installed everything you need, your warehouse will be ready for inventory.
Your Partner in Warehouse Design and Equipment
East Coast Storage Equipment is ready to address all of your warehouse planning and equipment needs. We sell both used and new material handling equipment to help you check every item off of your warehouse equipment list. We know how stressful starting a warehouse can be. But our experts are here to slash your stress. And we do that by providing the professional guidance you are looking for. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you jumpstart your warehouse.