Carton Flow Shelving: Problems and Solutions

Stop us if you’ve seen this before: an order picker is leaning all the way into a bay of carton flow shelving with a shepherd’s hook. After a brief struggle (and maybe a few choice four-letter words from the order picker), they re-emerge from the rack, box in hand. The bottom of the box is dented and badly warped.  The order picker places the carton on a conveyor and moves to their next pick, only to face the same problem moments later.

bad carton flow shelving

For many distribution operations utilizing carton flow shelving, this is a scenario that replays itself over and over in their distribution centers. Many carton flow shelving manufacturers ship their racks with plastic wheel rails- a carton flow track solution featuring small inline wheels mounted in steel channels. For companies storing and picking lightweight products in high quality cartons, these flow tracks are a perfectly adequate solution for their needs. However, for operations prioritizing maximum storage density with heavier products, plastic wheel rail solutions simply can’t cut the mustard. How can you tell if your existing carton flow isn’t up to the task at hand, and how can you make sure you get your hands on a solution that is?

First, you need to take is to step back and understand the scope of the problem. What percentage of your cartons are getting hung up on your flow tracks? Are your order pickers resorting to shepherd’s hooks, or even brooms to dislodge a stuck carton? How much does this hang-up slow down your picks? While one or two hang-ups may not be very consequential to your operation, if the problem is persistent and widespread, you will begin to see the wasted seconds (and the wasted dollars) ticking away.

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Second, understand how the problems related to these flow tracks are currently being solved. If a flow track is showing signs of being a persistent problem, is that track replaced immediately? Do you wait until the end of the month to fix larger problem areas of your order picking operation? How much of your budget is invested in these replacements and repairs? How much downtime is required to get that problem area in working order?

For many distributors, these observations lead to a simple conclusion: plastic wheel flow tracks simply cannot meet the demands of their operation. But what does the ideal solution look like? It must be able to do these six things:

  • Reduce product hang-ups.
  • Provide great flow and restart.
  • Lower your maintenance budget.
  • Reduce the labor involved in replacement.
  • Increase picking efficiency.
  • Allow more orders picked per shift for higher profits.

UNEX manufactures Shelf Track, a line of carton flow shelving solutions specifically designed to bring all these benefits to your operation by retrofitting into your existing carton flow shelving. Shelf Track is a carton flow track available in roller or wheel options that provides more surface area underneath your cartons, reducing imprinting and eliminating hang-ups. It eliminates the need to replace damaged or inefficient flow tracks, and can be dropped into your existing carton flow shelving to minimize maintenance and labor costs. It allows for double and triple stacking of cartons to ensure maximum storage density. Finally, Shelf Track is backed by our 7-year Platinum Warranty, guaranteeing that this replacement for your carton flow tracks will stand the test of time.

shelf track carton flow shelving

So you’ve reached the conclusion that your plastic wheel carton flow tracks need to be replaced, and you think Shelf Track might be right for you. What’s next? We prove that Shelf Track is right for you by installing a test level of tracks in your existing rack for evaluation, free of charge.

Here’s everything you need to know to get a free Shelf Track sample that fits your existing carton flow shelving:

  • Who is the manufacturer of the rack?
  • What is the width of the bay?
  • What is the inside dimension of the shelf?
  • What is the length of the plastic wheel flow track?
  • How deep are the front and rear ledges of the shelf?
  • How far apart are the intermediate supports?
  • What are the dimensions of the cartons?
    • Average size
    • Minimum size
    • Maximum size
    • Average weight
Posted by: UNEX