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Block Stacking – Warehouse Basics

Filed under: Warehouse Racking

Floor Pallet Stacking

One common method of storing stock is floor pallet stacking or block stacking. Block stacking is a form of palletised storage that does not require any type of storage equipment, and instead loaded pallets are placed directly on the floor and built up in stacks to a maximum stable storage height. Lanes are created to ensure access to the different stock keeping units (SKUs).

The maximum storage heights or stacking levels are determined by a number of different factors such as:

  • Load strength (crushability)
  • Load weight
  • Load stability
  • Pallet conditions
  • Safety limits
  • Weather (humidity, water, wind can weaken pallets and soften loads)
  • Warehousing clearance heights

Each of these factors needs to be considered carefully to ensure that safe stacking levels are selected.

One key limitation of block stacking is that SKU’s are only accessible in a Last In First Out (LIFO) method. Floor stacking is extremely space intensive and hence requires very large areas for storing large quantities of stock.

When loads are removed from the storage lanes, underutilised space is created that cannot be used until the entire lane is cleared. This effect is called honeycombing. Therefore careful attention to lane length and depth (determine storage capacity) must be taken to ensure that a high level of utilisation of each line is achieved, meaning that each line size needs to be planned based on predicted and current stock output levels for each SKU.

If we look at the picture below we can see a classic example of floor stacking at a port in Melbourne. The Containers are stacked up to 7 containers in height; in this case they are restricted by safety & weather conditions and not load strength.

Container Stacking

Advantages of floor stacking:

  • Very low setup costs
  • Flexible

Disadvantages of floor stacking:

  • Low density storage (Requires a large storage facility to store only a small amount of stock).
  • Poor ventilation of products
  • Storage height depends on a number of variable factors
  • Only one SKU can be effectively stored in a lane, empty pallet spaces are created that cannot be utilized effectively until an entire lane is emptied. 
  • You have to move the top pallet to get to the pallet underneath (LIFO)

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8 comments

    HI good morning. Just read the article and I like it. Thank you for such sharing information and knowledge. Ede - Jakarta Indonesia

EDE
November 27, 2014 - 2:47 pm

                       
      Like it.

Pankaj
July 21, 2015 - 8:08 pm

  Short, easy to understand and comprehensive! thanks                    

Marianna
February 11, 2016 - 1:29 am

                       
        Very useful regarding block stacking

Vishnu Giri Nepal
January 05, 2017 - 10:12 pm

A perfect information with good educational method.           

Abdul Mateeb
January 14, 2017 - 5:15 pm

I work in a warehouse with a lot of new and untrained people. Product is piled high on pallets in the same way so that each column will easily tip over.  we could tell people to Rick items but they don’t always know what that means and some items because of their dimensions will not break very well other times something is on just one half of a pallet.

Are there any reasources.  That would help me create some signs that would show people how to pattern what they’re loading up, maybe one that might help me calculate the best design and do that in a way that is clear and you intuitive using pictures rather than words? 

Any ideas would certainly be appreciated

Rick g
February 22, 2017 - 8:24 am

Hi Rick,

Hopefully the image at this link will help you https://www.slideshare.net/mohameddandrawy12/forklift-safety-35416339

AAL Admin
February 22, 2017 - 11:56 am

Hi, thanks for sharing. 

sofreight
May 08, 2017 - 5:42 pm

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