Guide to Effective Storage

Bin Storage Unit

Bin Storage Unit

Nearly every business has some type of items that need to be stored. Some storage areas require drawers, some require bins and some just require basic shelving. Whatever the case, an effective storage system requires a planned approach in order to improve the effectiveness of the storage and picking of inventory areas.

The easiest way to design an effective storage plan is to look at the physical properties of each item that will be stored. An evaluation of each item’s size and weight will determine a good location in a bin, drawer or section of shelving. Items should be divided into groups of small, medium and large as well as light average and heavy. This information is important as it aids in selection the depth of storage unit.

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How Metro Wire has Helped Others


Solectron is a contract circuit board manufacturer located in Milpitas, California.  The company depends on efficiency and cost effectiveness to successfully manufacture quality products. When Solectron was looking for a new cart to handle storage  and transportation needs for circuit boards, they turned to Metro for a custom solution. Although lowering costs was an issue, they also wanted an innovative solution.


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Shelving Terms


Closed Shelving: Sides and back of the unit are enclosed with stheet steel side and back panels.

Open Shelving: Sides and back of units are open. Various type of bracing are used to stabilize the unit.

Ledge Type Shelving: A shelving unit that accommodates two different depths of shelves. Larger shelves are placed at the bottom and the unit is stepped back with smaller shelves on top. The step back forms a ledge across the face of the shelf. The shelving may be either open or closed type. In some instances, a ledge unit can be added to a regular shelving unit.

Counter Type Shelving: A waist high shelving unit incorporating a heavy duty smooth top work surface. May be open or closed style.

Shelf Dividers: A formed steel partition placed within the shelf opening to subdivide it into smaller compartments. A variety of vertical type dividers are available. Dividers can also be used in a horizontal position to provide a divider shelf.

Label Holders: A formed strip returned on both edges for the insertion of labels to identify contents of shelf. They attach to the front or rear downward flange of a shelf.

Service Aisle: The area in front of a unit or row of units required to service (pick or place stock into our out of the shelving unit).

Sloping Shelf: Designed to attach to the front and rear posts so the horizontal plane of the shelf may be tilted downward in the front to rear direction.

Shelf Clips: A formed steel piece that provides for attachments of shelves to posts without the use of nuts and bolts.

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Shelving Selection Guide


When purchasing shelving it’s important to get the shelving that meets your needs. Below are some popular shelving styles and the applications where they are best suited.

Automotive Shelving: Automotive Shelving offers quick adjustment for changing inventories. Perfect for auto dealerships, parts stores and warehouses.

Industrial Shelving: This heavy duty shelving can handle high capacity loads.

Galvanized Shelving: Perfect for storage of solvents and oily or greasy parts.

Wire Shelving: Great for applications where cleanliness and sprinkler access matter.

Toolroom Shelving: Toolroom shelving offers heavy duty storage of toolroom supplies.

Rivet Shelving: This light duty shelving is easy to assemble and works best in light industrial or commercial applications.

Commercial Shelving: Excellent for offices, light industrial or commercial applications.

Office Shelving: Office shelving offers an attractive design that goes with most office decor.

Bulk Shelving Basics

Tennsco Bulk Storage Rack

Tennsco Bulk Storage Rack

Bulk shelving is one of the most popular storage systems available. Bulk shelving is extremely easy to put together and can be configured to meet a wide range of needs. Bulk shelving can be purchased as pre-engineered units or can be custom built using components specified by the buyer. Configuring your own bulk shelving unit allows complete customization to your storage needs. The following components are required for building a bulk shelving system.

Posts / Uprights: These vertical beams feature punches that allow for shelf or shelf support placement. Several different punch styles are available depending on desired capacity.

Shelf Supports: Shelf supports do just what the name implies; support the shelves. Models vary by desired capacity. Some manufacturers have their shelves integrated with their shelf supports.

Decking: The surface where products, parts and inventory rest. Wire, steel and plywood decking are the most common types. Most bulk rack can be purchased without decking allowing the buyer to cut or purchase their own plywood.

Box Rails: Box rails divide and keep boxes organized.

Material Flow has a huge selection of bulk shelving. Call one of their experts at 1-800-338-1382.

Optimizing Your Shelving System

Lyon Bin Shelving

One of the most important steps in reducing picking time at a warehouse or production plant is to optimize shelving and storage cabinet systems. Whether you need a bookcase, file cabinet, locker or automotive storage, the following tips can help configure the most efficient shelving system possible.

  • Know what you are going to store. With so many styles of shelving and cabinets available it’s important to get a unit that meets your needs.
  • Look at the parts being stored and figure out the best spot for picking and loading.
  • Divide parts into groups of small, medium, and large as well as light average and heavy, for heavy items use heavy duty shelving.
  • Store large lightweight items above the operator’s shoulder.
  • Store small average weight items between the should and hip of operator so products are easily located.
  • Put large heavy items at the bottom of shelving unit. This allows operator’s to lift products using their legs or lift equipment.
  • 80% of activity occurs within 20% of inventory. Place high activity items between the workers hip and shoulder.