Nor-Cal Beverage Company overhauls its warehouse racking system

Maximizing warehouse space is crucial to the success of Nor-Cal Beverage Company, one of the largest independent beverage manufacturers and co-packers west of the Mississippi. The Sacramento, California-based company produces nearly 50 million cases of drinks annually for some of the largest beverage makers in the world, including Coca-Cola and AriZona Tea. So when Nor-Cal found that its warehouses in Sacramento and Los Angeles couldn’t keep up with its growth, the company revamped its storage racking system to better leverage the warehouses’ storage space and improve efficiency.

Nor-Cal initially used single drive-thru racks to store its products. But the company could only stack products one to three pallets high at most, preventing Nor-Cal from maximizing the vertical height in its warehouses. In addition, the racks were a tight squeeze for Nor-Cal’s forklifts to get in and out. As a result, when the forklifts moved products, some of the products and pallets got damaged.

“We outgrew those warehouses very quickly because we didn’t have racking capability,” says Shannon Deary-Bell, president and CEO of Nor-Cal.

That’s when Nor-Cal brought in Twinlode, a supplier of high-density storage systems, to redesign its storage racking system with the Gen2 dual-pallet system. Twinlode’s patent-pending system uses a closed structural tube architecture that is strong and impact resistant, allowing Nor-Cal to store products higher and deeper without stacking them on top of each other. The system is also flexible enough to accommodate expansion and reconfiguration of the warehouse space. In addition, the closed structural tube architecture reduces design base shear requirements and exceeds seismic regulations globally.

The double-wide system lets Nor-Cal’s warehouse personnel load and unload two pallets at a time, increasing productivity up to 50 percent while decreasing wear and tear on material-handling equipment, according to Nor-Cal. The wider pallet bays also decrease product and rack damage when loading and unloading. And because the system eliminates one upright in every pallet position, Nor-Cal has been able to improve its storage density by about 35 percent.

“If you look at where we were with those single drive-thru racks versus the Twinlode, our damage has gone down at least 90 percent,” says Tim Deary, executive vice president of warehousing and logistics at Nor-Cal. “And versus a single drive-thru rack or select racks, we can load a truck in 15 minutes versus 45 minutes to an hour.”