The demand for consumer goods and all manner of manufactured items has been escalating steadily and, in turn, that increase has been putting pressure on dealers to increase their stocks. Whether it is rented or owned, space is a costly commodity and it is therefore important to ensure that, whatever storage space a wholesaler or retailer may have, is used as completely and as efficiently as possible. In practice, however, the storage systems still in use by many of today’s stockists fail to fully capitalise on the space available, and a move to VNA racking could increase their capacity substantially.
The clue to the greater efficiency of this system is to be found in the three initial letters that are an abbreviation for “very narrow aisle”. Combined with the increased capacity provided by a marked reduction in the width of the aisles between racks, even more storage space can be gained by also extending their overall height, so as to accommodate additional rows. Using this system, it is quite possible for a company to increase its warehousing capacity by as much as 40% when compared with earlier options.
As well as increased capacity, the use of VNA racking offers its users a number of other valuable benefits. In particular, the inclusion of radio frequency controls on the material handling equipment provides the busy distributor with a means to ensure that the number of pallet cycles during any given hour will be maximised. To operate effectively in the more confined spaces presented by the narrower aisles, however, special handling machines with either a shorter reach or a counterbalance will be required. Also, to ensure the stability of these far taller racks, which can be as much as 17 meter in height, the surface on which they stand will need to be perfectly horizontal and flat.
The introduction of Very Narrow Aisle racking is resulting in a new generation of warehouses in which the access aisles are only marginally wider than the loads they are required to accommodate. As a result, rigid racks of precise dimensions are every bit as important as the level surface to ensure the stability of these structures and free access between them.
That said, the advantages of making the transition from the wide aisles of an older, more traditional warehousing system to the use of VNA racking are manifold and will be of particular value in distribution centres that handle palletised fast-moving consumer goods, spare parts, and similar items. For example, order picking will be substantially improved when using a system that offers 100% selectivity, while stock rotation will also become easier. In addition, the fact that this type of storage is designed to operate at as much as 95% capacity, in conjunction with a reliable warehouse management system, will allow previously high levels of pallet redundancy to be kept to a bare minimum.
On the local scene, Krost Shelving is a specialist in the manufacture, supply, and delivery of storage equipment both to businesses in South Africa and in several other countries on the African continent. In addition to VNA racking we also specialise in shelving, lockers, and mezzanine flooring.