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Before we talk about the 6 steps to obtaining a racking permit, let’s start with some background on their importance.

Do you really need a permit to install all of your racking? You betcha! Any racking taller than 5 feet 10 inches has to be permitted. That’s the law. The government wants to keep companies and their employees safe at work. Warehouses without proper racking permits can be very dangerous, so do not install anything without one.

At Hoj, our center focus is safety. We know that obtaining a permit can be an annoyance, but the benefits far outweigh the costs. It is a good thing that keeps people safe.

 

Avoid a shutdown

You may think you can avoid obtaining a racking permit until the city comes and inspects your building, but you’re just postponing the inevitable: a shutdown. Permits should not be taken lightly. Your business could be in jeopardy if you don’t obtain one. Fire marshals put a seize on business licenses when they are not up to code or do not have permits in place. Their purpose is to make work environments safe places for people to be.

We understand that going through the necessary steps to obtain a permit can be frustrating. It costs a bit more money, takes more time, and requires more effort. But you won’t regret doing it. Obtaining a racking permit prevents you from major headaches down the road. The benefits of getting your permits heavily outweigh the risks of losing your business.

FYI: We do not provide racking if permits are not obtained. Every job and installation is done with safety in mind, and city codes and permit requirements help foster safe work environments.

Ok, now that we know how important permits are, let’s go through how to actually get one.

In order to obtain a racking permit, you need to have a contractor’s license. Most cities do not let you pull a permit unless you have one. If you do not have a contractor’s license, find someone who does to help you out. We have a contractor’s license and often pull permits for clients’ racking projects. If you need one, let us know.

When you have someone with a contractor’s license who can help you, follow these six steps to obtain a racking permit.

 

Step #1 – Create layout drawings

A drawing of your warehouse layout is the basis of your project. Figure out where will you set up your racking, how tall you want it, and most importantly, how much weight you want to store. Knowing the weight capacity you plan to hold will tell you the size of beams your racking will be, how wide your pallet bays need to be, and how many rows of racking your building can fit.

Knowing the answers to these questions and putting it all in a layout design drawing will make obtaining a racking permit much easier.

 

Step #2 – Get seismic calculations from an expert

Once you have the layout drawings, it’s time to bring in a racking engineering expert. The expert will come to your facility and gather the necessary information to perform seismic calculations for your project.

Every zip code in the US has a seismic rating, which directly affects how much weight your racking will be able to handle when considering seismic forces. Knowing your code will help you find the types of racking that will work best in your warehouse. You can find your seismic rating on the FEMA website. The expert will factor in that rating to identifying your warehouse’s racking needs.

 

Step #3 – Figure out the fire suppression information on your building

Next, you’ll need to know the fire suppression information on your building. Knowing this will help you better understand your warehouse and will protect your company and employees from extensive harm and damage.

Any racking over 12 feet tall requires additional fire suppression in the building. Early Suppression, Fast Response (ESFR) systems are the most commonly required for high pile storage. However, all systems depend on what material is being stored. If the material is very flammable, it may require additional in-rack fire suppression.

 

Step #4 – Take the specs of your warehouse to the city

With the contractor’s license in hand, gather the seismic calculations, the warehouse layout drawings, the fire suppression information, the height of your racking, and the inventory you’ll be storing and take them to the city’s building department. This is where you pull the racking permit.

 

Step #5 – Pull and pay for permit that day

You do not want to make this trip to the city multiple times if you don’t have to, so pay for the permit the day you take all of the warehouse information in. If you’re missing any info, they may ask you to come back.

After pulling and paying for the permit with the city, you have a limited number of days to close the permit with the city. So finish the project in the time allotted to you on your permit. Permits that are opened but never completed may be subject to penalties and fees.

 

Step #6 – Have a third-party anchor inspection

When the project is done and the permit is closed, a third-party anchor inspection will take place. Cities usually require a third-party (someone not affiliated with the racking company or the city) to inspect all of the anchors for your racks and make sure they are all installed correctly.

After this third party inspection, the city will either sign off on the project or request changes. If you need to make modifications, make them as quickly as you can and then ask the city to review them.

Once approved and accepted, you will receive a certificate of occupancy! For any addition or change you make, you must have a permit for it. So keep your records with the city all up to date. It will be very beneficial to the future of your warehouse and your business.

 

These six easy steps will help you follow the law, keep you organized, and get you the racking you need to push your business in the right direction.

With our team of experts, we’d love to help you keep things safe and up to spec. Let us know if you have any questions about the process.

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Buying a forklift can be more complex than you think. There are many questions to consider as you make this important decision, but where do you start? This post is the start of our Guide to Buying a Forklift where we’ll tackle the new or used debate. We’ll walk you through some situations to help you make the right decision. Let’s dive in!

There are a series of questions you should ask yourself when buying a forklift. But one of the most important questions to add to that list is: What is my budget? This will help you figure out if you should go new or used.

 

New Forklifts

New warehouse style forklifts become increasingly expensive as you seek out more technical specs. Anything used is typically less expensive and you can often save money if you go that route, but there are some situations where you will want to consider a new forklift. 

  • Consider the daily usage of your forklift. If you are using it for two or more hours a day, it’s worth the investment to buy new. You could buy one used, but it may not last as long. 
  • If you are working in a harsh environment, get a new forklift so you can take advantage of your warranty options. You may not get a warranty if you buy a used lift.
  • If you are in need of a custom spec forklift, buy a new one and use until it is no longer economically feasible to repair. The used forklift market is full of many generic options, so it will be easier to find a lift that fits your custom-spec needs if you go new. Forcing a used machine to do something it can’t will often bring you to unwanted roadblocks.
  • If you are storing pallets on high racking systems, consider the weight capacity the truck can lift. Though most forklifts have safety features that automatically shut down if weight capacity is exceeded, you don’t want to risk any chance of it malfunctioning. Potential tipping can cause other surrounding components to fail, such as racking. This puts everyone in the warehouse at risk. 

Check Out the Dos and Don’ts of Buying Other Warehouse Equipment

 

Used Forklifts

If you’re searching for a more economical option, there are always used forklifts on the market. However, you don’t want to buy something that won’t fit your operations. Here are some tips to make sure you get exactly what you need. 

  • Buy used from a reputable forklift dealer.
  • Be very cautious of buying a forklift from a repair shop. Most of the time they aren’t experts like dealers are. Many people do not get the forklift they need when buying a used one from a bad seller. 
  • Rule of thumb: A good, used forklift will be roughly 50-60 percent of the cost of a new version of that same lift.

 

Final Tip on Buying a Forklift New or Used

We highly suggest to avoid putting your heaviest inventory and pallets on your top shelves. It may seem convenient if that pallet is full of slow-moving product, but doing so can be risky. Some forklifts don’t function safely when lifting heavy materials at tall heights and some have limited driver visibility.

Trying to navigate heavy items when they are 25 feet high on the lift can get extremely dangerous. It’s very easy to knock or run into nearby racking. If you absolutely need to store heavy materials on high shelves, make sure you have the right forklift for the job.

Putting your heaviest materials on the bottom shelves allows you to work at faster speeds, making your operations more efficient.

 

We’re here to help you find the right fit. Talk to one of our forklift experts to get the best forklift for you

Check out the brands we carry!

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If you are reading this, you likely know that the cost of running a warehouse is not cheap. And if you’re a business owner, you may wonder how feasible it is to get from your garage to a warehouse (more on that next week). You can do it! And who doesn’t like saving some extra cash here and there? Just follow these 5 tips to reduce the cost of running a warehouse and you’ll be better prepared for whatever your next phase is.

 

1) Reduce the cost of labor

You want to have happy employees and compensate them fairly, and you can empower them to be better by investing in good technology. Conveyors and automated picking systems, for example, can reduce the high cost of labor by speeding up your processes.

Another way to reduce labor costs is to have a good WMS. It can track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and show you where to put your focus. A good WMS will also help you be more accurate in your picking and more organized.

Employee turnover can also be a problem worth solving. Hiring and training a new employee is very costly and slows down your production. You can do this by incentivizing for performance successes and improving training.

 

2) Regularly check and maintain equipment

Performing routine and scheduled checkups will prolong the life of your equipment. And more importantly, you can prevent problems from blindsiding you. Damaged equipment will cost you to fix it, but that is fairly minor compared to the cost of the equipment’s unusable downtime. If you have a smaller business, that broken item could halt your operation.  

Do yourself the favor of scheduling your machines for regular maintenance checkups, especially if you have used equipment. Buying used materials is a great way to save some money, but if not inspected and kept up, they can get costly in a hurry.

 

3) Save energy

It may sound simple, but remind your employees to turn off the lights when a room is not being used. You’d be surprised by how much money is lost because people forget to turn off lights. In 2010, Cornell University calculated that it could save $60,000 a year by turning off lights not in use. That’s a good chunk of change!

If employees still have a hard time shutting things down, consider using light timers.

Adding more windows to give your warehouse more natural light and using energy-saving light bulbs will also help. Replace normal light bulbs with halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), or light emitting diodes (LEDs). But don’t forget to check the wattage limits of your light socket.

 

4) Improve your warehouse layout

Improving your warehouse layout can make a big difference. Minimizing the overall touches of moving materials around can greatly reduce the cost. This may take some more time and effort to accomplish, but that just means the ROI is much higher!

Check out the difference it made for Deseret Book

One idea to consider is converting to narrow aisles in order to increase storage capacity. You can also evaluate how much space you need to get an idea of where you could save.

 

5) Protecting your inventory

Set up ways to protect your inventory. That may be an alarm for the entire warehouse or password/ID protection on doors. For expensive items, consider setting aside protected areas and wire partitions to reduce the chances of theft.

And don’t forget to package your inventory properly, for when you both store it and ship it. Doing so can prevent unnecessary damage to your products.

Reach out with your questions, we are here to help!

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What is your top priority at work? If it’s pushing sales, it’s time to reevaluate your priorities. It should start with employee safety. Accidents happen, but you want to do everything in your power to take precautionary steps to avoid accidents and avoidable mistakes. Let’s go over two basics of how to improve employee safety in your warehouse.

 

Keep your warehouse clean

It’s only a matter of time for something bad to happen if your warehouse is a mess. Extra products laying on the floor waiting for open shelf space or a group of machines parked in the wrong place could disrupt employee workflows. When messiness interrupts, employees unintentionally look for unsafe ways around the issue. Keeping your warehouse clean is worth the extra few minutes to stop your production and organize or clean whatever the issue may be.

 

Ensure employee safety by reviewing best practices

Although we oftentimes don’t think too much about these smaller injuries, they are having a longer lasting and more expensive impact on employees.

 

Here is an interesting statistic, 40 percent of all warehouse injuries are ergonomic, soft-tissue related (muscles, ligaments, and tendons). But 60 percent of all dollars spent on warehouse injuries come from these soft-tissue problems. That means that although less than half of the injuries are soft-tissue, they are the bulk of the cost. It adds up to a $4 billion annually.

 

These injuries happen most from workers running, tripping, falling, climbing racks, and lifting more than they should.

 

For both small and big issues, it is worth reviewing warehouse safety practices with your employees, even if that includes how to lift a box properly and staying alert. Doing so will protect you, your beloved employees, and their jobs. Don’t forget to review the OSHA guidelines with employees as well. We also recommend you review best practices for the following:

  • Operating forklifts, especially when driving around a loading dock and door. We see too many accidents of forklifts taking out doors
  • Communicating around hazards
  • Stacking heights on racks
  • Working on and around a dock
  • Handling of any other tools

 

You may see it as a few more hours of work on your plate that you don’t have time for, but you will never regret improving employee safety in your warehouse. And neither will your workers.