Whether you call them pallet flow, gravity, supermarket, or FIFO, racks used in lean manufacturing processes are meant to improve material flow. Flow racks can be an inventory management game changer if your company must restructure its manufacturing processes to reach optimization goals. Whether you’re trying to free up more floor space for your products or just boost productivity, industrial flow racks come with a host of features and benefits.
In this blog, we’ll examine gravity flow racks, how they work, and some of the many reasons why manufacturers use them in their warehouses.
As its name implies, gravity is at the center of this flow racking system and is leveraged to help direct inventory to the front of the rack, giving workers quick access to the products they need. Gravity flow racks work by placing your inventory on the loading side of the racking system. When a worker grabs the first-most item, gravity moves the next items into the pole position. As you can see, gravity is responsible for the sequential order in which items glide, usually in a first-in, first-out (FIFO) order.
Manufacturers that use rack systems often use different types of racks throughout their warehouses. That’s because many flow rack systems are designed to fulfill a wide range of specific picking needs. The modular configuration of gravity flow racks helps support those systems. Modular gravity flow racks also help reduce crowding on shop floors and support just-in-time inventory initiatives, which helps reduce operational costs and boost efficiency.
Some racks, like pallet shuttles, are powered by electricity to move items through a system. As we all know, electricity isn’t free. But gravity is, and relying on it for flow racking can drastically reduce the costs associated with inventory management in your warehouse. Gravity flow racks also require much less maintenance than their electrical counterparts, making them a more efficient choice than alternatives.
Gravity flow racks help maximize the space on your warehouse floor because they don’t take up as many aisles as other handling systems. This increased density is achieved because gravity or pallet flow racks can incorporate twelve pallets, which can be spread across two aisles.
Because gravity flow racks don’t need any electricity or complicated wiring to work, configuring a gravity flow rack on-location is easier. Plus, the modular design of gravity flow racking means you can modify your rack so that it’s part of a more diverse flow rack system.
Keeping up with the inventory you have available is critical for monitoring product availability and managing stock-outs. With gravity flow racks, lean manufacturers can track inventory from the warehouse floor and can adjust when needed to ensure resources flow adequately.
At FlexMation, we aim to be a trusted partner and ally to companies looking to advance their lean manufacturing performance. We have a variety of industrial racks to help boost productivity, including the following:
Whatever your goal, we’ll help you get there. Ready? Let’s build.