May 17, 2020

Taking advantage of vertical warehouse space

Supply Chain Digital
Warehouse Management
Freddie Pierce
3 min
Part two of our warehousing rack supported work platform piece goes into the specifics behind Steel King’s solution
In case you missed it, click here for Part One of this warehousing series! By Carlo Chatman To optimize warehouse performance and cost, Wisconsin Lift...

In case you missed it, click here for Part One of this warehousing series!

By Carlo Chatman

To optimize warehouse performance and cost, Wisconsin Lift Truck project manager Tim Zunker recommended and Northwest Petroleum chose SK2000 pallet rack, a boltless, closed tubular upright product by Steel King. The pallet rack forms the foundation of the rack supported platform and provides most of its storage capacity. A stair-accessible upper level with lockable enclosures provides more secure storage for high-value items such as electronics.

While a Steel King engineer designed the pallet racking to meet project load and building code requirements, a Wisconsin Lift Truck engineer helped to maximize storage capacity within the existing warehouse.


Compared to pre-project warehouse capacity, vertical storage space was increased from about 8 feet of usable rack previously to about 16 feet of usable rack with the pallet rack supported work platform. Horizontal storage space was added by maximizing long runs of rack and minimizing short runs of aisles. Four more rack bays were added, and stairs were placed near walls to maximize usable space. Expedited installation of the system within one week helped to keep the project on track.

“The Steel King rack supported work platform has essentially quadrupled our storage space within our existing warehouse,” says Bob Fromm, General Manager at Northwest Petroleum Service. “Because we can now store parts by manufacturer and function under one roof, we're picking and inventorying parts about 50 percent faster, which cuts the cost of labor and speeds delivery.”

“We've avoided the high cost of paying for an offsite warehouse and staffing it,” adds Fromm. “We've avoided the cost of constructing a building supported mezzanine and the months of operational disruption it would cause. With the operational efficiencies we'll attain with the rack supported work platform, we expect ROI in a couple of years.”


October Warehousing Feature: SaaS-ifying the Warehouse

August Warehousing Feature: The Green Case for Pallet Pooling

Check out October’s issue of Supply Chain Digital!

A number of SK2000 pallet rack features also will help the company meet its strength, durability, and maintenance goals for the rack supported work platform. Compared to open back roll formed columns, the closed tubular uprights are 44 times more torsion/twist resistant, with 250 percent greater frontal impact resistance and 68 percent greater side impact resistance. All beams are constructed of high-strength (55,000 PSI minimum) steel, and holes are placed on the column's face, not the corners, minimizing strength loss.

“The strength of the rack will resist fork truck damage and allow us to place heavier items in the upstairs lockable enclosures, if we choose to,” says Fromm.

Because the rack is powder coated rather than painted with enamel, it's 94% more resistant to chips and scratches. “We expect decades of productive, aesthetic use from our rack supported work platform,” says Fromm. “Besides improving our productivity, it's proving to be a win-win sales showcase for prospects and existing customers.”

Finally, unlike permanent building supported mezzanine, the rack supported work platform is adaptable and easy to change to suit future needs. “Since the rack supported work platform is free-standing and adjustable, it's relatively simple to change its size and configuration to meet future operational needs,” says Fromm. “Any manufacturer with unused vertical warehouse space that's looking to improve logistics and cut cost should look into a rack supported work platform.”

Click here to download Supply Chain Digital’s iPad app!

Share article

Jul 23, 2021

UK Food Supply Chain to be Exempt from COVID-19 Isolation

2 min
Emergency measures will allow workers in the UK’s food supply chain to continue working after potential contact if they test negative

Vital workers in the UK’s food supply chain will be exempt from isolating after contact with COVID-19 under new emergency measures announced by the British government. 

More than 10,000 people working in supermarket distribution centres, manufacturing plants and other food logistics services will be affected by the initiative. Staff who are told to isolate by test and trace or are notified by an official app will be allowed to continue working as long as they test negative. 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the scheme would undergo a limited trial this week after consultation with the country's biggest food retailers. It plans to extend the measures through a wider roll out next week, impacting around 500 sites dedicated to stocking supermarkets and producing staple foods such as bread and milk. 

“Food businesses across the country have been the hidden heroes of the pandemic,” said Environment Secretary George Eustice. "We are working closely with industry to allow staff to go about their essential work safely with daily testing.”

Speaking to Sky News, Eustice added that the exception would not be extended to other sectors. 

"The reason we have made a special exception for food is for very obvious reasons,” he said. "We need to make sure that we maintain our food supply. We will never take risks with our food supply."

UK Supply Chains Under Strain

The news follows reports of empty shelves and widespread shortages in British supermarkets after a record number of people were told to isolate via the NHS app. Branded the ‘pingdemic’, more than 600,000 alerts were sent out to phones and mobile devices in the week beginning 8 July, warning people that they had come into contact with those infected by the virus. 

It left already strained food supply chains under staffed and unable to cope. The mass alert has also caused disruption in other supply chains, exacerbating a prevailing shortage of drivers and other essential logistics professionals. 

READ MORE: Driver shortages: Why the industry needs to be worried

Savid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who was appointed last month following the departure of MP Matt Hancock, said: “As we manage this virus and do everything we can to break chains of transmission, daily contact testing of workers in this vital sector will help to minimise the disruption caused by rising cases in the coming weeks, while ensuring workers are not put at risk.”


Share article