Businesses often face the challenge of effectively managing their storage area. While more paperwork means a higher storage area requirement for businesses, consider the use of shelving and other storage solutions to help you make the most out of your limited storage capacity.
If you've finally decided to use the powers of shelving to take your storage capacity to the next level, use our guide to help you every step of the way:
Understanding Various Shelving Material Types
The material of your shelves plays a critical role in determining whether it is a good fit for your unique business needs. Here are the five most common shelving materials used within the industry:
1. Chrome wire
Wire shelving offers a strong, sturdy, and open solution to cater to a wide range of storage related needs. Chrome plated wire shelving, in particular, provides an excellent fit for businesses looking to store things in dry or heated environments.
Best suited for: A variety of settings, like residential, industrial, and commercial. Commonly found in classrooms, basements, closets, storerooms, garages, hospitals, warehouses, and restaurants.
2. Stainless steel shelving
Promising a durable and versatile solution, stainless steel shelving is ideal for businesses looking for storage shelves that can support large weights. Stainless steel shelving combats corrosion and can easily withstand heavy-use in just about any environment (dry or cold).
Best suited for: Commercial settings, including food service, warehouse storage and healthcare.
3. Polypropylene/Polymer shelving
Polypropylene shelving is constructed using metal with a thick outer coating of polypropylene/polymer to make them as strong as metal shelving units. While polypropylene shelving is as sturdy and strong as regular metal shelving, they are easy to clean, germ, bacteria, and corrosion resistant, and don't rust even when in contact with salt water or sea breeze.
Best suited for: A variety of settings, including kitchens and cold rooms.
4. Epoxy-coated shelving
Outperforming PVC-dipped shelving in the long run, epoxy coated shelving offers a smooth, consistent, and durable finish that easily withstands scratches, rusting, and scrapes. Epoxy-coated shelving usually comes in a variety of colors, each representing a unique application. While all epoxy-coated shelving units offer high levels of protection against corrosion, those coated with black epoxy are highly preferred in warehouses and retail settings, whereas green epoxy-coated shelving is suitable for the food industry.
Best suited for: Storage areas with severe or unstable conditions.
For facilities facing infection-related issues, anti-microbial shelving offers the highest level of protection from bacteria, mold, mildew, and fungi as they are coated with an extra layer of Mircoban, an anti-microbial agent.
Best suited for: Healthcare and food service facilities with dry storage, coolers, and freezers.
Identifying the Right Type of Shelves
Next, it is important for you to identify the specific type of shelves that best meets your business's needs.
Solid shelves offer the ideal space to store just about any item without having to worry about it slipping or falling onto the ground. They are easy to maintain and require minimal cleaning efforts compared to other types of shelves.
Vented shelves promote air circulation and help in maximizing the life of products. While these shelves are excellent for any kind of cold application, they are often difficult to clean and unable to support items very well.
Generally used in combination with rectangular shelves, triangle shelves are designed to fit in tight corners and allow you to effectively utilize every inch of the space for storage purposes.
Choosing the Right Assembly and Mounting Type
It is essential that you carefully choose the kind of assembly and mounting type for your storage needs. While stationary posts are relatively cheaper and ideal for storage that are seldom rearranged, mobile posts offer the flexibility to move your shelving unit from one place to another.
If you're unsure which shelving solution is an ideal match for your needs, consider the following factors:
Stationary shelving units do not offer the flexibility to be moved from one place to other another. Therefore, it is essential to leave enough space for people to move around the storage area when working with stationary shelving units.
Mobile shelving units, on the other hand, are flexible in terms of mobility, allowing you to create space to move around the storage area.
Verdict: If you have a limited and confined storage area, you should consider opting for mobile shelving units.
When it comes to sticking to a budget, stationary units are far more affordable compared to mobile units and offer a storage solution without breaking the bank.
Verdict: If you are on a tight budget, stationary shelving units are your pocket-friendly solution when it comes to maximizing space.
Before deciding to make a purchase, it is important for you to consider the kind of items that will be placed on the shelves. While mobile shelves offer higher convenience, they require manpower to be moved and may pose a risk for those working in the storage unit, especially during the storage or transportation of heavy items.
Verdict: Avoid choosing mobile shelves when looking to store heavy items.
With the added flexibility of being easy to move around, mobile shelving units are easy to clean compared to other shelving solutions. You can clean these shelves on a weekly or monthly basis, based on the level of activity in your storage area.
Verdict: Mobile shelving offers better convenience than stationary shelving in terms of cleaning.
Are you still unsure about which shelving unit to invest in? You should look for a shelving solution that offers easy configuration and enough flexibility to adapt to your new and ever-changing storage needs. While stationary shelves can be easily modified to mobile shelves with the addition of casters, we suggest that you look into a brand that offers such convenience without voiding your warranty.
Selecting the Right Brand or Simply Combining Brands
It is essential that you carefully evaluate your options and choose a shelving brand that promises a reliable and durable shelving solution. While it is important that you stick to one brand to ensure compatibility and consistency in quality, we urge you to not shy away from mixing different brands to create your own customized solution.
Deciding Where to Place Your New Shelving
We understand how difficult it can be to decide placing and arranging your new shelving units in order to use your storage area to its maximum capacity. Whether you are looking to add extra storage space or simply want to manage your storage area better, we suggest that you start by highlighting the items that you can place on the shelving. Consider the size and nature of your items to determine the material type of the shelves, whilst keeping this information in mind.
Next, it is important for you to arrange your shelving in a way that it utilizes walls, corners, and other space available, all the while allowing you to have complete access to the items. Ensure that the arrangement of the shelves does not violate any healthy code guidelines, for example, storing food within six inches of the ground.
Maintaining Your Shelving Units
The key to effectively utilizing your shelving is to keep it cleaned and sanitized. Invest in a complete shelf cleaning kit that comes with rubber gloves, sponges, and other essential tools that you might need to fight dust and grime and keep your shelving in a top-notch condition.