If you’re in any business that has a need for pallet rack shelving and industrial conveyor systems, you’re probably familiar with the fact that June is National Safety Month. While it’s vital to keep your employees safe every day of every year, it’s good to have a month set aside so that we all can remind ourselves of some of the most important aspects of warehouse safety.
There are dozens of aspects of warehouse safety that arise, from forklift speed to safety netting to guard rails at loading docks. But there’s another aspect of safety that isn’t considered enough, and that’s regarding the pallet racks themselves. In the last 10 years, the market has seen a glut of inexpensive pallet racks and industrial shelving. While that might sound great at first, the lower priced stuff also tends to be of inferior quality. Let’s take a look at how this shakes out.
Why Should You Insist on Certified Racks?
If you were unaware that there’s an organization that certifies racks are of the highest quality, we’re happy to introduce you to the Rack Manufacturers Institute (RMI). They do research on the latest pallet racks and wire decking, as well as testing of the products and education on providing instructions on how to use them. This is the group that administers the R-Mark Certification Program that verifies the integrity of warehouse storage racks.
At DAK Equipment and Engineering, all of the racking we carry (including our own K3 Werks pallet racks) are manufactured by RMI-certified companies.
What Should You Look For?
The next question is, what should you look for in pallet racks to make sure that they’re safe and won’t suffer catastrophic collapse? Here are a few ways to ensure you’re getting the best warehouse racking possible.
Know The Brand
It doesn’t take much research to find out which pallet racks have the best reputations around. A simple search for storage racking will give you a host of information — including blogs and chat rooms — regarding which ones can be trusted most.
If you’re a member of a business organization that includes warehouse managers, talk to them about their experience with pallet racks. They’re sure to have opinions on which ones are the best, which ones are good deals for the money, and which ones to avoid.
Know Your Suppliers
Purchasing pallets racks is about so much more than just ordering them and waiting for them to be delivered. It’s very important to form a relationship with a warehouse supply company so that you can pick their brains when it comes to the right pallet rack system.
Of course, not all warehouse suppliers are equal. Make sure you investigate the company you’re working with, and discover which one you feel most comfortable working with. It’s not just about purchasing racks, but the warehouse optimization layout and the installation as well.
Is The Rack New?
Another advantage of going with a reputable supplier like DAK is that you’ll know for sure if the rack system you’re buying is new or not. Racking can be buffed out and repainted, but that doesn’t mean it’s new. While there are certainly times when buying used racking is acceptable, it might not meet RMI standards anymore even if it was certified in the past.
When you work with DAK, you’re going to know whether or not the racking system you’re buying is used or new, and if it meets current standards. It’s our promise to you.
Find Out If It’s R-Mark Certified
This is a vitally important piece of the puzzle. No matter how great a deal you’re getting on racks, make sure that it’s R-Mark Certified. When you’re investigating pallet racks, it’s unlikely that you’ll be vetting them in person, so you can’t just look for the markings on the support beams. Do a little digging on the product pages (or talk with your supply company) to determine if the pallet rack system is certified by RMI.
How difficult is it to determine if something is R-Mark Certified? As easy as clicking on this link and seeing if the particular company you’re considering is on the list. While a racking system manufacturer could claim that they’re certified and even put fake stickers on the product, they’re not going to be able to get themselves on the certification site without actually going through the testing process.
Does It Come With Capacity Charts?
Racking that doesn’t come with capacity charts might not be reliable and probably isn’t R-Mark Certified. It’s much easier for a cheap manufacturer to provide no chart at all than to provide fake charts. That way they’re never held to anything legally. If someone sues them for collapsing pallets, they can claim “well, we never provide them with charts, so it was up to the purchaser to determine how much the racks could handle.”
R-Mark Certified products are never going to leave you hanging like that. They will come with specific instructions on how much the racks are able to carry.
Don’t Buy The Cheap Stuff!
Look, there are some things in life that are okay if you buy generic. Grocery store bread is fine. Most all yellow mustards taste the same. Generic peanut butter can be really good.
But there are some items you should never skimp on. Charcoal for the grill is one, and stereo speakers are another. Add to the list pallet racking, especially since it improves the safety of your warehouse and because it costs tens of thousands of dollars. Choose the good stuff and you’ll never regret it.