Your Complete Guide to Warehouse Equipment List
If you’re trying to optimize your warehouse operations, your warehouse equipment list should be the first thing on your agenda.
Warehousing is a core part of the global supply chain, influencing millions of vendors and consumers. By 2026, the global warehouse market is projected to reach a valuation of $562 billion. The large scope for growth is certainly a concern for warehouse service providers all over the world, as they race to optimize their operations and rise above their competition with advanced equipment.
Having the right equipment at your disposal will make it much easier to manage your warehouse efficiently and safely. However, the task is not so simple.
Why is that?
Different types of warehouses need different types of equipment. Investing in advanced equipment might increase your productivity, but the cost may not make sense if you only have a small business.
It is important to carefully pick and choose your warehouse equipment and setup. Whether you’re setting up your warehouse for the first time or trying to increase operational productivity in the long run, you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading as we explore the vital items you need to have on your warehouse equipment list to optimize your operations and management.
Warehouse Equipment List: Types of Equipment and Their Purpose
Warehouse equipment lists include all the items required for running a warehouse efficiently. Because every warehouse has different purposes to fulfill, their operational needs also vary, and their warehouse equipment list will differ from others, even within the same niche.
In the guide below, we cover general warehouse equipment lists for various warehouses to help you prepare and set yourself up for success.
1. Docking Equipment
Docking equipment enables the smooth movement of cargo to and from the dock doors. The risk of injury and accidents is high in the loading docks, so safety is a key priority when selecting and using docking equipment.
This type of equipment typically includes:
- Dock levelers
- Yard ramps
- Edge-of-dock levers
- Dump hoppers
- Dock plates and dock boards
- Dock seals
Conveyors transport goods from one area of the warehouse to another. These don’t require manual handling, so they help reduce labor costs and risk of injuries, thereby improving productivity.
Conveyors come in a variety of sizes and configurations, and they’re highly customizable depending on your needs. They also differ based on the weight and dimensions of goods and cargo, the conveyor’s speed, the warehouse’s layout, etc.
Here are some examples of conveyors used in warehouses:
- Chain conveyor
- Belt conveyor
- Flexible conveyor
- Automotive conveyor
- Vertical conveyor
- Spiral conveyor
- Plastic belt conveyor
- Gravity roller conveyor
- Dustproof conveyor
- And more
3. Storage Equipment
The purpose of storage equipment is to help staff members organize and store inventory while optimizing the available space. The best storage equipment makes it easy for inventory personnel to locate and identify items quickly.
Typically, warehouses have different storage systems and picking methods for different types of products. The equipment also varies based on the items being stored, the warehouse layout, how orders are picked, the size of orders, and the company’s budget.
Here are the most common storage equipment you’ll find in warehouses:
- Pallet racks
- Cantilever racks
- Mezzanine systems
- Flow racks
- Industrial shelving
- Push-back racks
- Reel and spool rack
- Drums and barrel racks
- Double deep racks
- Drive-in racks
- Drive-through racks
- And more
4. Lifting Equipment
Lifting equipment is also called material handling equipment. It refers to the machinery that lifts and transfers inventory from one location to another. These are used for heavy pallets and hundreds of pounds of loads.
Lifting equipment generally includes the following:
- Hand carts
- Pallet jacks
- Service carts
- Dollies and caster
- Pallet stackers
5. Packing Equipment
Packing equipment is typically limited to the packing and shipping areas in the warehouse. They ensure efficient and fast packing of items.
Packing equipment typically includes:
- Stretch wrap machines
- Industrial scales
- Strapping and banding equipment
- Packing tables
- Lift tables
- Different types of packaging
6. Safety Equipment
Safety equipment includes all the tools, gear, clothing, and other essential items used to ensure employees’ safety when working in the warehouse.
They include the following:
- Safety mirrors
- Barrier rails
- First aid kits
- Wire partitions
- Anti-slip mats/fatigue mats
- Warehouse safety signs
- Hard hats
- And more
Due to the high risk involved in the handling of inventory inside warehouses, safety standards are often governed by a common entity.
In the U.S., the safety standards are set by the Operational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Since 1970, OSHA has been responsible for developing and enforcing safety standards and guidelines for all workplaces in the U.S.
OSHA’s standards include guidelines for the proper use of warehouse equipment and handling of inventory to reduce the risk of injuries and accidents. Failing to follow these procedures outlined by OSHA results in heavy penalties and citations for warehouse service providers.
7. Inventory Management Systems and Tools
These organizational tools and systems enable robust tracking and managing inventory.
Inventory management systems ensure all information about items going in and out of the warehouse is accurate and updated in real time. Such systems have become commonplace in distribution centers or automated warehouses, and they easily complete the most complex tasks.
8. Maintenance Tools
Maintenance tools help ensure all other equipment in the warehouse keeps working optimally.
- Repair tools
- Cleaning supplies
- Maintenance plans
- Replacement batteries
9. Facility Accessories
These accessories enhance the capabilities of your warehouse. Such equipment can include but isn’t limited to:
- Warehouse gloves
- Fans and heaters
- Rolling ladders
- In-plant offices
- Security cages
- And more
10. Scales and Check-Weighers
These are used for measuring the weight of goods and cargo. The most common measuring equipment includes the following:
- Floor scales
- Check-weighing and cubing
- High-speed check-weighing conveyor scale
- Pallet scale
- Small parts scale
Types of Warehouses and Differences in Warehouse Equipment List
When preparing your warehouse equipment list, all of your decisions will depend on what type of warehouse you’re running. Below, we help you understand why this is important and the differences in the equipment you will need.
Standard or traditional warehouses primarily run on manual operations. This system can still work for limited inventory, but the workload for personnel is quite high.
While traditional warehouses don’t lack all modern equipment, they have a longer processing time due to many manual processes. The rate of errors and risk of injury is also comparatively high in these warehouses.
In smart warehouses, most of the operations are still managed by humans, but a majority of the complex processes are carried out with automation tools, software, and robots.
Large e-commerce enterprises commonly use automated warehouses due to their higher need for expedited order fulfillment and inventory management.
What makes their warehouse equipment setup unique?
Automated warehouses require fewer personnel compared to a traditional setup. This is because most of the manual jobs are done by automated tools and robots. These include collaborative mobile robots and automated picking solutions that move items or travel long distances to fulfill processing tasks.
Warehouse Management Systems
Robust warehouse management systems (WMS) to increase the efficiency of operations and accommodate high demands. These systems automate many processes involved in inventory management. They also come with predictive models that enable companies to gain critical insight into operations, predict future demand, and optimize operations accordingly for faster order processing.
Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems
Automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) minimize the time spent in inventory storage and handling processes. These systems ensure reduced errors and consistency in package wrapping, and they’re also capable of continuous operation for 24 hours a day.
ASRS systems are designed in compliance with health and safety standards and further reduce the risk of injury in an already automated warehouse.
High-Stack Storage Systems
High-stack storage systems further optimize warehouse space and increase storage capacity.
Mobile Sorting Solutions
Mobile solutions further increase storage space while reducing aisle congestion and traffic. It does so with higher racks and narrower aisles.
Cold Storage Warehouses
Cold storage warehouses are designed to maintain the right environmental conditions for temperature-sensitive products.
The critical elements of a cold storage warehouse setup are constant temperature control and monitoring. These require high-end warehouse management systems along with temperature monitoring and controlling devices. Dehumidifiers and airlock systems help maintain temperature consistency despite product inflows and outflows.
Cold storage warehouses require specialized safety equipment. For personnel, this is clothing that can protect against low temperatures:
- Lined jackets
- Thermal pants
- And more.
All equipment used in cold storage warehouses must function well in the freezer environment. A great example is the use of automated guided vehicles (AGVs), which can operate at temperatures as low as -25°C. They can efficiently function in such warehouses without putting personnel at risk.
Another unique feature of cold storage is the use of devices with touchpads. Because cold storage personnel need to wear gloves at all times, their devices must have responsive touchpads that can still be handled by those wearing protective gear on their hands.
Cold storage warehouses must also develop specialized cleaning processes and operations while following strict guidelines outlined by the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). This means their warehouse equipment list must include cold-storage-specific maintenance and cleaning tools.
Private warehouses are owned by a single entity for their exclusive use. They require a much higher upfront investment but will be cost-effective in the long run. They’re typically used by manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers.
Because they’re operated by the company itself, private warehouses allow for a flexible and customized setup and warehouse equipment list. From the warehouse management system to various packing equipment, every element of these systems can be customized as long as the budget permits.
Government warehouses, also known as public warehouses, are owned by public entities. Such warehouses have a relatively simple setup and lack the advanced technological integrations of private warehouses.
Public warehouses typically only have basic equipment like forklifts, moving containers, and traditional shelving for storage.
Public warehouses that can be rented by multiple entities often don’t allow for much customization or control over inventory management. They may also be managed by the entity that owns the warehouse, which means third-party personnel handle all the inventory.
Distribution centers are unique subsets of warehouses wherein inventory moves at a much faster pace. The layout of distribution centers is more complex, and they can support a very high volume of goods.
Distribution centers require advanced inventory management systems and real-time data solutions to maintain error-free, expedited processes. These tools also ensure optimized inventory levels for quick delivery while keeping waste at a minimum.
Distribution centers provide more than storage. They often also perform product mixing, cross-docking, order fulfillment, and packaging. Naturally, there are more moving parts, so they require more advanced technology:
- Warehouse management systems (WMS)
- Warehouse automation technology
- Modern robotic equipment
- Barcode and RFID systems
Of course, you’ll also find standard equipment like forklifts, pallet jacks, conveyors, and pallet racks. Most of these items on their warehouse equipment list will further enable the quickest possible processing of thousands of orders.
To Sum It Up
An optimized warehouse equipment list will include tools that function in harmony to ensure smooth, efficient, error-free warehouse operations. While most businesses don’t need every piece of equipment on this list, some are indispensable in modern warehouse setups.
We hope this guide has helped bring you up-to-date with the various warehouse equipment list items that can help you run your business successfully!
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