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If you’re buying used pallet rack, do your homework

If you’re a bargain hunter shopping for a deal, remember: You get what you pay for.
By Lorie King Rogers, Associate Editor
January 09, 2011

When the economy took a nose dive, rack manufacturers were hit pretty hard. In fact, shipments were down 40% in 2009. Unfortunately, as a result, we’ve seen a few suppliers close up shop. For example, when times were good, Excel Storage Products bought Lodi Metal Tech, Prest Rack and WC Cardinal. But that strategic maneuver was ambushed and all of those companies are now casualties of the economy.

The fallout of tough times was made clear as I researched my pallet rack equipment report for Modern’s February issue. Here’s something else that came to light… The worst appears to be behind us, and we’re a changed industry. We’re working smarter and leaner, and we’re looking for cost savings in every corner of our warehouses and distribution centers.

One place to look for savings is with the purchase of used pallet racking. There’s nothing wrong with trying to stretch a buck and investigate the option buying used pallet rack. And right now there’s plenty of it available. According to Dave Olson, national sales and marketing manager for Ridg-U-Rak, there’s been a large infusion of used rack into the marketplace. “Used rack is influencing the number of new rack orders, and it will take time for that to work its way out.”

It works its way out when end users buy up the supply of used product. So if you’re one of those bargain hunters shopping for a deal, remember: You get what you pay for.

Steel King president Jay Anderson, who is also the current president of the Rack Manufacturers Institute, an industry group within the Materials Handling Industry of America (MHIA) agrees that used rack is more common in an economic downturn, and he has some sage advice. Before you buy, Anderson says, “Contact the rack manufacture’s engineering department to confirm that it meets all current specifications. Things change over the years and you can’t assume what [the rack] was rated for 20 years ago is okay today.”

So do your homework. Make sure you know exactly what you’re buying. Has the rack suffered previous damage? Does it measure up to today’s industry standards? Does it have a seismographic rating appropriate for the earthquake risk in your area? Who’s responsible if something goes wrong?

Get the answers before you invest because you can’t afford to run your operation with inferior rack. Never mind the loss of thousands, maybe millions of dollars worth of product, take into account the value of human life.

Just for the heck of it, have a look at what happens to a rack system taken down by an earthquake. It isn’t pretty. In fact, it’s pretty scary.

About the Author

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Lorie King Rogers
Associate Editor

Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.


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