Storing standard sized pallets will become second nature to most forklift drivers and warehouse crew. These pallets can easily be removed from trucks using a normal forklift, moved through the warehouse to their destination, and quickly placed on the pallet rack without any difficulty. However, most warehouses will occasionally get in cargo that’s larger than standard size. When that happens, you may have to get creative with your storing solutions.
Moving Oversized Cargo
One issue many warehouses have with large cargo is moving it. Most warehouses have standard size forklifts that are only rated for certain sizes and weights. If you have never stored or moved any large items before, you may simply not have the equipment to do so. If it appears that you’ll be called upon to handle oversized products more often in the future, it may be worth investing in a forklift or other vehicle that can move these large items. You may quickly make back the money spent with the extra work you can now take on.
However, if this seems to be a one-time or infrequent thing, you have two options: turn the client away (no one wants to see that happen) or rent a heavy-duty forklift. Renting these vehicles isn’t a horrible idea if you’ll only need them every now and then, but it does introduce a new logistics issue to your life. You’ll have to know when the oversized items are coming in, and you’ll have to have a reliable rental company lined up. In fact, you’ll want to have several rental companies on your list just in case the first one is out of the equipment you need.
Storing Oversized Cargo
The warehousing of oversized cargo is another issue, of course. If the item is extra wide but not taller than your standard pallets, you can store it on the floor under the pallet racks if it will fit. This is the preferred storage area—trying to raise oversized cargo up onto the racks themselves is usually not a good idea because it’s easy for a large load to become unbalanced on the forklift. There’s also the fact that oversized cargo may stick out over the edge of the shelving unit.
You may not be able to fit this cargo under your pallet racks because of where the rack supports are. In that case, your only option may be to move it to an empty section of your warehouse. The availability of this space will probably depend on whether or not you frequently have these oversized loads. If you don’t, your entire warehouse may be taken up by shelving. You might have to move shelves temporarily to create a space.
Another option is to store larger items outdoors if that’s possible. Some cargo simply can’t be left outside, especially if it’s really warm, really cold, or may rain or snow. Even putting tarps up may not work for some items. In this case, you may have to look at renting temporary storage space. As with renting equipment, weigh the pros and cons before agreeing to the project. You don’t want to spend more than you make.