The Basics of Designing Pallet Racking

October 25, 2021

Efficient pallet racking systems are essential to cost-effective material handling. Since there are various types of pallet racking, it is vital you choose the best styles for your business. Whether you want to increase your warehouse storage density, or improve access to your goods, there is a storage solution that meets your requirements.

When designing a pallet racking system for your warehouse, one should keep in mind a few things to ensure that these racking systems can last you for a very long time, all the while optimising your operations and making them efficient.

Here are somethings to keep in mind:

  1. Pallet Size and Type:

Pallet weight and dimensions (length, height, width) are essential measurements to be aware of when designing the layout of a pallet racking system. The industry standard pallet size (40” x 48”) is a universal fit for the majority of systems. Pallet size information will help to determine system dimensions such as rack depth or upright height.

The type of palletized items may influence the type of pallet racking system needed if the items:

  • Require specific environmental conditions
  • Are fragile and cannot be stacked
  • Are date-sensitive / have expiration dates
  1. Order of Inventory Retrieval: LIFO vs. FIFO

Whether your system requires LIFO (last-in-first out) or FIFO (first-in-first-out) inventory retrieval is critical to determining the type of warehouse and pallet rack solutions needed. If your products are date-sensitive, you will likely require a system that allows for products that have been in stock the longest to be shipped first – FIFO. If the shelf life of your products is not date-sensitive, a LIFO system can be applied to optimize warehouse space.

    Order Of Retrieval
Type of Pallet Racking System LIFO FIFO
Selective             X
Drive-in              X  
Pallet Flow         X


  1. SKU / Pallet Count

The number of SKUs and the number of pallets per SKU in a facility play a large part in determining the type of pallet racking system you may need. Facilities where there is only one pallet per SKU can utilize selective pallet racking, as it allows for variability in SKUs while leaving them readily accessible.

Facilities that have several pallets per SKU may want to utilize a higher-density storage system, such as drive-in or push back pallet racking. Facilities with a high number of pallets per SKU that also require FIFO inventory retrieval may consider investing in a pallet flow racking system.

  1. Plan for Your Equipment

One essential item when planning racking is to allow enough aisle width for the particular piece of material handling equipment used. Whether you need to fit a reach truck, swing reach or counterbalance forklift, you’ll need a plan that accommodates the equipment you have.

A reasonable aisle width for your truck type results in better forklift operation and efficiency, reduced rack damage, and higher productivity.

  1. Warehouse Environment

The pricing of your racking system will fluctuate depending on the type of environment your products require. Products can be stored in a variety of different environments, including:

  1. Cold (freezer or cooler) temperature
  2. Controlled temperature
  3.  Ambient temperature (products do not require a particular temperature)

Ambient environments are where warehouse temperature is not a critical factor in maintaining product integrity. Cold warehouse environments typically store food or other perishable items at a low temperature, while controlled temperature warehouses often store items such as medications, cigars, etc. where the temperature is kept within an acceptable range for maintaining product integrity.

Unsurprisingly, environments where temperature is not critical will have less associated costs. Typically, pallet racking systems in a cold environment have the most additional cost because they require:

  • Lengthy installation – workers cannot be in a freezer for long periods of time
  • Strategic set up – because refrigerator / freezer storage space costs more, strategic planning is necessary to ensure storage space is optimized
  • Food grade conditions – since cold warehousing environments typically store food items, there are other requirements necessary for health and safety guidelines compliance.
  1. Building Structure:

Whether a pallet racking system is designed as a retrofit to an existing building or installed into a newly constructed building may affect the project budget, timeline, available warehouse space, and more. Other important considerations regarding the structure of the building include:

  • Column spacing – you need to be aware of where your buildings’ support columns are and their spacing from one another in order to “bury” them in the space between back-to-back rows of racking
  • Interior ceiling height – this will tell us how tall your uprights and beam levels can be
  • Size and location of dock doors
  • Available warehouse space


Not only can we quickly provide a pallet racking design for your facility, we have the necessary resources to make sure our design is correctly engineered and abides by industry standards and regulations. Knowing how each of these considerations apply to your facility will help you to be prepared, educated, and confident going into your first pallet racking system design consultation.

Racking systems go far beyond simply stacking products. At Gujrat Steel Pvt. Ltd. we believe that space is an indispensable commodity. Keeping this philosophy in mind, we introduced the Pallet Racking Systems in Pakistan. This enables you to maximise storage space while using a minimum amount of floor space.

Trust us, we’re experts in this field!