How do you determine an optimal racking layout in a new commercial warehouse space?

June 2023

Racking is the backbone of any warehouse, and the layout for racking can significantly impact your operation’s efficiency. For example, if products are stored at an angle in deep racking, it can lead to wasted space—and that’s not good for your bottom line! On the other hand, poorly designed racks can cause problems when loading and unloading shipments due to poor ergonomics or safety concerns. So how do you determine an optimal racking layout? Here are some tips:

1. Analyze the space

The first step is to analyze the available space and determine the layout options. This involves measuring the area’s dimensions and identifying potential obstacles, such as columns or doorways. The goal is to determine if your warehouse can be raked in a straight line or better suited for a traditionally “L” shaped layout.

Once you’ve analyzed your warehouse, it’s time to decide how best to arrange your racks to optimize efficiency while minimizing costs.

2. Decide on a racking layout

Racking layout is a key part of warehouse design. The racking layout will determine how your goods are stored, how much space they take up, and how you can reach them.

The most important factor when determining an optimal racking layout is the size and shape of your space. It would be best to consider how much storage capacity you require for each product type and the height at which these products should be stored. This will vary depending on whether they’re heavy or light items (e.g., pallets vs cans), packaged or loose goods (e.g., boxes vs bottles), etcetera!

Another factor that affects optimal racking layouts is material handling equipment such as forklifts or reach trucks: what kind do you have available? Are there any restrictions on where these vehicles can go within an aisle? If so, this may affect where certain types of racks need to be installed. For example, tight corners might be tricky for larger forklifts with higher carrying capacities to navigate around them comfortably. Therefore, making those areas unsuitable locations for storing large volumes during normal operations because there would need to be more room left over after placing all those pallets onto existing shelves to make room again afterwards.

3. Determine the type of goods being stored

The type of goods being stored will also influence the racking layout. For example, if the goods are heavy or bulky, they may require specialized storage solutions, such as double-deep racking or drive-in racking. Alternatively, if the goods are small or light, they may be better suited to shelving or carton flow racks.

4. Considering the space available

Racks can take up a lot of room in a warehouse, so it’s essential to consider how much space you have available before choosing your racking system. Choose a design that minimizes height while maximizing density (number of pallets per square meter). This will help maximize the useable floor area while allowing easy access by forklifts, trucks, and other material handling equipment (MHE).

5. Consider the material handling equipment

Another consideration when designing a racking layout is the type of material handling equipment used in the warehouse. The type of equipment used in the warehouse will also impact the racking layout. For example, if the warehouse uses reach trucks or order pickers, the racking design will need to accommodate their turning radius.

6. Evaluate workflow

Once you’ve identified the optimal racking layout, evaluating workflow is essential to determine the most efficient racking design. This involves analyzing how goods flow through the warehouse, from receiving to shipping and identifying any bottlenecks or inefficiencies that can be addressed through a better racking layout.

It is generally recommended that high-density storage solutions be used to maximize storage capacity while minimizing labour costs associated with stocking and retrieving products from individual pallets or skids.

7. Optimize space utilization

Finally, the racking layout should be designed to optimize space utilization while still allowing for the safe and efficient movement of goods. This may involve high-density racking solutions, such as push-back or pallet flow racks, to maximize vertical space utilization.


In conclusion, the racking layout should be designed to optimize space utilization while still allowing for the safe and efficient movement of goods. If you’re moving to a new space, relocating, or want to improve your space’s organization and efficiency, call RACKsteel. Our team can develop drawings, propose custom and quick-ship racking options, and ensure your new racking system is professionally installed.


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Our customer service philosophy is simple: We will make sure every call and email is prioritized, and that your warehouse gets operating faster.