Warehouse Racking Installation: Tips, Tricks & When to Call a Pro
I’ve been in the business of installing warehouse equipment for a long time. I travel to warehouses all over the country to oversee the installation of racking and other systems. Over my years doing this work, I’ve gained some insight into warehouse racking installation best practices.
While installations aren’t always easy, with the right skills, knowledge and team, they can be. If you need a warehouse installation expert, feel free to reach out to me and my team at East Coast Storage Equipment. Otherwise, keep reading to learn more about the warehouse racking installation process and some of my favorite tips and tricks.
Tips & Tricks for Installing Warehouse Racking
The installation process for warehouse racking can vary from system to system.
For example, anchoring a rack is just one part of the process and has all kinds of requirements. You need to understand which kind of rack you’re installing so you can properly anchor it. For example, a structural pallet rack utilizes a simple nut and bolt anchor system.
Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions (example) and the Rack Manufacturers Institute’s specification guide — even if you already feel like you’re a pro. I always stay on top of industry standards when it comes to installing racking systems.
Of course, the RMI guidelines aren’t going to give you inside knowledge and tricks. Here’s a little bit of what I’ve learned over the years:
Necessary Equipment for Installing Racking
Before you lift a finger, make sure you have all the tools you’re going to need. You’ll need a few key items to install warehouse racking. The number one equipment to have in the warehouse is a forklift. You’ll use the forklift to stand racks up from their position on the ground.
If you’re installing high racking, you’ll also need a scissor lift. This is an incredibly safe method of installing racking systems because most come with gates at the top where the worker stands.
In addition to forklifts and scissor lifts, you’ll need general construction tools, such as drills. Again, read the manufacturer’s installation instructions so you know exactly what you need. Gathering all of this equipment before you start your installation will make the process go smoothly.
Tips for Uneven Flooring
In most cases, warehouse racking will level itself out. However, not all warehouses have smooth, leveled concrete. Every once in a while, we encounter a warehouse with warped floors. In a situation like this, we’ll use shims to level out the racks.
Every once in a while, we encounter a warehouse with warped floors. In a situation like this, we’ll use shims to level out the racks.
Shims are small, thin metal plates that fit underneath the footplate of the rack that is on uneven flooring. We may have to use a handful of shims to get the rack leveled out. But the last thing we want is for inventory to slide off of the shelf just because we didn’t take the time to level the rack.
Installing Racking in a Big Warehouse
I’ve found that, when it comes to installing big jobs, it’s always important to take it one section at a time. Even though you may be anxious to get everything set up so you can start moving inventory in, taking your time is best to ensure proper installation.
This is where project managers come into the picture. As a project manager, I understand the design and layout of the racking in the warehouse I’m working in. I make sure the racking is being put up correctly and exactly where it’s supposed to be, piece by piece.
Big installation jobs can quickly become hectic. Taking the installation one section at a time and hiring a project manager will keep things safe and on track.
Hiring a Professional for Warehouse Racking Installation
Truthfully, no matter your experience, I think it’s always a good idea to hire a professional for warehouse racking installation. There is too much at risk to attempt to install racking without the right experience. You could possibly damage equipment or risk personnel safety if you don’t know what you’re doing.
That isn’t to say that you always have to hire a professional. If you happen to have lots of experience installing racking in different warehouses, then you’re probably equipped to handle installations on your own.
When you hire professionals for warehouse equipment installation, you can feel confident that the job will get done efficiently, safely and correctly. Not only will a professional understand the warehouse layout and keep things running smoothly, they can also reduce liability for your company.
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Safety Considerations for Racking Installation
Safety should be the biggest concern when installing warehouse racking. I’ve heard stories about some pretty bad accidents that have occured during installations. And it’s not just stories — the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 4.8 recorded injuries for every 100 warehouse workers in 2020.
This statistic alone should be enough to convince you to take your time and do what it takes to install the rack safely, even if that means calling in a professional. For example, when I’m working at warehouse installation sites, my team and I always wear personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hard hats, and use proper warehouse safety equipment to reduce risk. You should, too.
If you hire professionals, be sure they practice safe installation procedures and use the right equipment. On the other hand, if you decide to attempt the installation yourself, invest in PPE and take things slowly to avoid an accident.
Proper Warehouse Racking Installation
This is a job that has to be done right. Cutting corners or being unprepared can put worker safety and your warehouse’s profitability at risk. Whether this means you need to hire a professional or simply take the time to measure and double-check your installation, I can promise you this: A proper installation results in a durable and trustworthy racking system.
If you’re ready to let the pros handle your installation, give our team a call at 888-294-5022 or contact us online.