Case study

A Guide To Storage Shelving Solutions

Jun 8, 2022 | Shelving

Because there are varying needs amongst warehouse facilities to meet, there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to warehouse shelving. I simple row of light weight shelves could be the ideal solution for some facilities, whereas a vast, robust structure could be better suited to others. Your shelving system is designed and built around your inventory characteristics, available space and processes.

To ensure the right shelving structure type and configuration you will need to consider the shape, weight and length of your inventory and then exploit the capabilities of the WSL technical design team to ensure a structure that will perfectly house your inventory. In conjunction with your inventory needs, a priority for the WSL design team is to ensure space us used to its full potential. Space comes at a cost and by utilizing space properly, you can make the space you are paying for work for you. Another crucial aspect our that designers consider is your processes and this includes such things as the speed of your operation and how to ensure the most optimal picking process in order to save you time, money and resources.

By way of illustration varying shelving types and configurations are highlighted below:

Carton live Shelving

Carton live shelving is ideal for storing a large number of items. Inclined shelves on roller beds will keep moving the stock forwards. Placed at the back and moving to the front, this allows the shelving to be extremely deep if desired. This is particularly useful in fulfilment and distribution centres where stock is accessed regularly. It also ensures that less space is wasted on aisle width, so pickers don’t have to spend time stretching to the back of deep shelves to find items. A major benefit of this storage system is that items are always visible and at the front of the shelf. This would be a great option for busy packing operations, with areas of carton live shelving being combined with other areas of multi-tier pallet racking. Items can be unloaded onto the back of the carton live shelving, making items accessible for quick picking – with the remaining product stored in an alternative area of the warehouse, to be loaded onto the carton live shelving when necessary. Because the items are loaded at the rear of the shelves from where they can independently make their way to the frontal face, stock rotation becomes assisted through the First-in First-out (FIFO) method. If your goods are date sensitive, this will save a huge amount of time as operators have no need to manually rotate stock.

Carton Live shelving

Mobile Shelving

Where product is accessed less frequently, if can be more effective to have mobile shelves that are moved along on a tracking system that is fixed into the floor. This means that there can be multiple shelves, with only one aisle required at a time, vastly reducing the space required. This type of storage system would not be time efficient for items that are accessed regularly, but for items that are not required on a regular basis, it would be an ideal solution. The shelves are also lockable, meaning that they would be a safe and secure alternative for museum and document storage requirements.

Mobile Shelving

Deep Shelving

Deep shelving can be a space saving option for a storage area that houses long products. It allows more space to be taken up by the shelving and less for the aisles. As a general rule, you wouldn’t want personnel to reach more than 900mm into a shelf to get something – for safety reasons as well as for efficiency of time. However, very long products, such as curtain rails, poster rolls or pieces of timber, can be stored length ways, meaning that more can be stored on one very deep shelf. Of course, you will need to calculate the additional width required of the aisle, in order to be able to extract the oversized items without banging them into the shelves behind – but in many cases, even with this consideration, deep shelving can be a useful alternative.

Art Work Racking

Art work racking is a particularly specialised form of shelving. It consists of a number of racks that can be pulled out of deep shelving that is entirely enclosed. They can be extremely large, with numerous paintings hung on each pull-out rack. Humidity, light and temperature can be carefully monitored within the shelving, ensuring that valuable art work can be kept in the correct atmosphere.

Heavy Duty shelving

Shelving can be reinforced to carry extremely heavy loads. As with racking, the heavier the shelving gets, the higher the budget; with specialist engineering going into the design, as well as more durable materials and the possibility of needing to reinforce the floor. Some warehouses find it more efficient to use heavy duty racking as shelving for very heavy items.

Long Span shelving

High Shelving

Shelving can go very high; as high as you can safely access it. With very high shelving you may require ladders, which can be fitted on a roller system to access high shelves. However, there is then the issue of whether personnel can safely access and remove the product, when carrying it down a ladder from height. It may be better to install a multi-tier system, where the higher shelves can be accessed by an independent structure built parallel to the shelving, made up of a series of structured steps and platforms from which the shelving can be accessed.

Organised Shelving

Shelving solutions with additional organisational features can be perfect for areas such as museum store rooms, where items need to be well organised and accessible. This would include drawers of different sizes, glass topped cabinets, pull-out boxes, labelled systems, shelves with doors – glass or opaque – and a multitude of other options.

Shelving for particular shapes and sizes.

Shelves can be manufactured to efficiently fit almost any product imaginable. – allowing part of the tyre circumference to slot between the bars, stopping the tyres rolling off (but avoiding the need for them to be stored flat, one on top of another, making them difficult to access). Shaped wine racking can be used to store bottles safely, without fear of them rolling off and with good visibility of each bottle. Shelving can accommodate any type of shape or size product.

For a discussion of your shelving requirements, contact WSL today on 0113 204 5350 or email

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