How to Know if Selective Pallet Rack is Right for Your Warehouse

Selective pallet rack is a type of racking that’s typically known as single-deep pallet rack, meaning it’s possible to select any given pallet in the rack system without having to move another pallet. It’s often considered to be the most basic form of pallet racking, and was the first type of racking originally developed in the mid 20th Century. Today, it’s still the most widely used form of pallet rack throughout much of the world.

There are a variety of other types of racking on the market that are becoming increasingly popular, such as push-back rack, pallet flow rack, and drive-in racking. However, our focus in this article is going to be on selective rack and why it may or may not be the best choice for your warehouse.

How to know if selective pallet rack is right for you warehouse

Factors to Consider When Choosing Racking

One of the most important considerations when deciding whether or not selective rack is right for you is the number of SKUs (stock-keeping units) in comparison to the number of actual pallets being stored. The greater the number of stock-keeping units, the more important the role of selectivity and accessibility will be. The lower the number of stock-keeping units in relation to the number of pallets being stored, the less selectivity will likely be emphasized.

Hands hold down a blueprint of a warehouse

It’s important to have a professional design and installation team to help tailor your warehouse racking setup to your specific needs.

Advantages of Selective Racking

Selective pallet rack offers several important advantages over other types of pallet rack. As its name suggests, one of these advantages is selectivity. In warehouses that are storing a lot of different products that each need to access regularly, selectivity is a paramount feature of the storage system. With single-deep selective racking, any pallet in the warehouse can be accessed at any time without having to move anything else to get to it. When time is of the essence and a warehouse team is aiming to eliminate unnecessary “touches,” it makes sense to have as many pallets as possible be accessible without the need to move anything else.

Selective racking offers another feature that will likely be appealing to any business keeping an eye on its bottom line: cost-effectiveness. In terms of what an end-user pays in relation to the additional storage space obtained by implementing racking, selective pallet rack is generally the least expensive type of racking available.

Potential Drawbacks of Selective Pallet Rack

Of course, selective pallet rack isn’t always perfect, and is not without its potential downsides, depending on the application. The most common fault found with selective pallet rack is the number of aisles necessary in a selective system. In a true selective rack setup, there’s one aisle for every row of pallet rack. When compared to a higher density system such as drive-in racking, this makes for significantly lower storage density. Generally speaking, the lower the storage density, the less efficiently a storage space is being used. However, the convenience and time efficiency offered by selective pallet rack often offsets the lack of storage density.

There are also ways to minimize the amount of space used up by aisles, such as using lift trucks with smaller profiles. A 9 foot, or even 6 foot lift truck can be used in place of larger lift trucks, mitigating the amount of aisle space needed for them to function safely and effectively. The narrower the aisle, the more space is left for storing product.

Three forklifts and a mobile platform parked next to each other in front of selective racking in a warehouse

The size of lift truck being used can significantly impact the amount of aisle space needed in a warehouse

Is Selective Pallet Rack the Right Fit for Me?

Unfortunately, knowing whether or not selective racking is the best option for you isn’t quite as cut-and-dry as it may sound. While we’ve addressed a few of the most important factors here, each warehouse faces its own unique set of challenges and each business has its own unique goals. Because of that, we almost always recommend consulting a warehouse layout and design specialist for a professional opinion.

Want to learn more about selective pallet rack? Take a look at some of our other articles featuring selective racking, or give us a call at 800-722-5908 and one of our helpful Pallet Rack Specialists will work with you to help you determine your needs!

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About AK Material Handling Systems

We deliver value to our customers by providing the absolute best combination of quality products, helpful customer service and competitive pricing. We specialize in warehouse layout & design, pallet rack systems, engineered sales, mezzaninesmodular offices and completed turn-key warehouse systems. For more information email us or call (800) 722-5908