It could be argued that the single most important part of a warehouse isn’t its loading dock or its inventory management system but the shelving. The shelves are what hold and organize everything in the warehouse, and without them, the building would be much more limited in what it could store.
So, why don’t some warehouse managers pay more attention to their warehouse shelving?
While it may be an incredibly simple piece of equipment, a shelf won’t last forever. How often a warehouse goes about replacing its shelving does depend on different factors, of course.
Here are different ways your warehouse could go about replacing its shelving, each of which has a different time frame.
Replace As Needed
This is the route many warehouse managers take. They inspect the shelving on a regular basis and replace the ones that are showing signs of heavy wear and tear. They don’t have a set schedule of how often they replace shelving.
Shelves that haven’t been used for heavy pallets may not get replaced for years, while those that are constantly under a lot of pressure for large containers and heavy products may need to get switched out much more regularly.
Switch Them Out Regularly
Warehouses that see their shelving systems regularly start to warp or show other signs of heavy use may have a set time for replacing each shelf. A high-use shelf may only last a few years in some environments, so they’ll decide that every shelf has to be replaced when it’s been in use for a specific amount of time.
This way, there’s rarely in danger of a shelf collapsing due to missing something in the inspection, nor is there a real need to spend time inspecting the shelves regularly. Warehouses that manage to set up a revolving system of shelving may always be replacing a few each month, but they won’t ever have to deal with replacing the entire warehouse shelving system barring a major disaster.
Switch Out Some Shelves Quarterly
This is a variation on rotating out older shelves every month, since that can be a hassle. Instead, tag shelves with the quarter they first went into use, and then swap out shelving on the first of every quarter as needed.
The cost and work is concentrated in one month instead of three, but it means you don’t have to worry about shuffling inventory around every month as shelves come down and get replaced. It doesn’t have to be quarterly, either—do it every four months, every six, or even once a year.
Change the Entire Warehouse at Once
This one can be difficult to pull off because very few warehouses are ever completely empty. It can be done, though, especially if the warehouse knows it’s going to have a time when it’s operating at a very low capacity.
Some do—for example, some warehouses may be at low capacity towards the end of the year once the holiday season is over. Of course, replacing every shelf in the building is going to take a good amount of time and will be more costly than replacing one or two a month or when needed.
As you can see, there’s no set timeline for when warehouse shelving should be replaced, as it’s very dependent on each business and the types of inventory they’re carrying. But, when your warehouse shelves have seen better days, give us a call and we can get you set-up with your shelving needs.