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Common Storage Solutions for the 3PL Industry

With the rise in popularity of e-Commerce shopping among consumers, there is no question the Third-Party Logistics (3PL) industry is changing the shape of the supply chain industry. 3PL is a service that allows retailers to efficiently outsource their larger storage/logistics operations, and is quickly gaining global popularity amongst emerging warehouse managers. 

From warehousing, order picking, to aspects of delivery, 3PL service providers ultimately take away logistical stress, and allow retailers to focus their efforts on growing other parts of their business. Being valued at $1.27 trillion in 2019, the e-commerce 3PL e-commerce fulfillment market is becoming one of the most dominant sectors in the supply chain.  

As retailers are forced to revise their logistics strategy, the demand for businesses who offer efficient third-party logistical services is increasing rapidly. Being on top of the efficiency of your industrial warehouse storage system means a boost to overall business, which is why warehouse managers need to consider maximizing their storage capacity and overall workflow. 3PL providers have a range of options regarding storage systems. Different racking systems have advantages and benefits for different industries, which system works best is depending on your clients needs.

Selective Racking:


Selective Pallet racking has become the most common style of storage amongst 3PL and other common industries who require high-density storage in limited space. What makes this style of pallet racking so versatile is the immediate access to every load, providing efficient use of both floor and height space while also providing optimized loading and picking times. 

In most manufacturing facilities decisions are made quickly, and workers are usually faced with limited fulfillment process times for orders. Having an organized work flow is critical to the success of any 3PL business. North American Steel manufactures different styles of Selective Racking, each offering their own features and advantages for each unique rack storage system.   

In addition, this style of rack tends to be quicker to install than other rack designs, and it is generally a more cost-effective alternative in an industry that relies on forklifts and lift trucks for order picking. Upon completion of upgrading to selective racking, warehouses can expect on average 30-50% more storage, and a revised workflow.

Success Stories:

Milton, ON

A rapidly growing 3PL provider in Milton, Ontario was in dire need to expand and upgrade their warehouse’s rack system for pallets to keep up with their increasing demand. For years, their warehouse facility in Milton, Ontario was not tailored to their business’ expanding needs, which was affecting their overall bottom-line. While the bulk storage system they initially had in place met their needs at the time, it was hindering their overall order picking productivity. 

The existing bulk storage system also left their warehouse with a lot of unused storage space, resulting in a considerable amount of wasted time and operational inefficiency. With industrial real-estate becoming more limited, it is important for warehouse managers to consider the height of their warehouses to truly utilize all square footage of their warehouses. 

Upon completion, the North American Steel team was able to install an optimized storage system with over 5000 pallet positions in a very limited space. The client will now be able to meet the needs of their clients as well as allow for the continued growth of their business. 

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Guelph, ON

Similar to our Milton, Ontario success story, this 3PL provider in Guelph, ON was also using a bulk storage system not tailored to their operational functionality, resulting in a considerable amount of time and opportunity lost. 

This meant building a pallet racking system that was able to put the height of the existing building into use, as opposed to moving into a larger space or acquiring yet another piece of premium real estate. Due to the demand of improved selectivity and storage density for palletized loads, the team at North American Storage designed a system that could help satisfy these needs by focusing on building up, rather than out. 

Read More Here

Other Storage Systems


While our selective racking is applicable for most 3PL businesses, there are instances where other racking systems are more suitable for storage needs.  At North American Steel, we offer other storage systems that are beneficial to 3PL providers who distribute specialized products that need to be stored on a particular storage system.

 Pushback Racking 

Pushback racking is ideally suited for 3PL companies that want to store a large number of SKUs in a Last-In First-Out manner (although it does allow for FIFO of SKUs by lane when grouped by date). The pushback racking method allows pallets to be stored from 2 to 6 deep on either side of an aisle, giving you higher storage density than other forms of racking.


Cantilever Racking

Cantilever racking is a highly specialized form of racking that is only applicable for warehouses that handle a wide variety of niche industry products. Cantilever racking provides unrestricted front access for long and irregular shaped products as products rest on tapered arms for easy loading for the lift trucks.


Selecting the Right Supplier


Ensuring you have a well-versed and experienced supplier ensures professional and effective results. Racking suppliers across the globe offer warehouse fulfillment service  systems to companies, but like your business, each supplier operates differently. 

North American Steel (NAS) is a manufacturer and end-to-end service provider of steel storage equipment that specializes in high performance, customizable storage solutions. Since 1972, we have assisted customers and warehouses across North America in making lasting improvements to their warehouse facilities by providing the most advanced material handling equipment, warehouse racking systems, and engineering inspection services in the industry. 

If you are interested in learning more about our racking systems, browse our website for more information, or contact us to speak with a pallet racking expert directly. Are you interested in receiving a quote for a particular project? 

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