The type of racks used in warehouses have played a key role in not only businesses, but also in general life. Almost every product you have in your life – home, food, vehicle, etc. – has touched a warehouse rack at some point.
Warehouse racks have evolved over the years to become lighter, stronger, and more adaptable. This allows companies to get the exact type of rack they need.
But where do these warehouse racks come from? What’s the process?
There are a lot of steps involved, from creating the material, manufacturing the rack, shipping and distributing the rack, and ultimately installing the rack.
Let’s take a look at manufacturing vs. distributing a little more closely:
Manufacture Vs. Distribute
Merriam- Webster defines the term manufacture as “something made from raw materials by hand or by machinery”. In warehouse racking terms this applies to the entity that takes the raw material the racking is made from, and forms it into the finished product that the warehouse facility receives.
Merriam- Webster defines the term distribute as “to divide among several or many”. In the warehouse rack industry, or any product industry for that matter, this would refer to dispensing the already manufactured part to the next step of the process (most of the time delivery to the consumer).
Pretty cookie cutter, right? Not necessarily. In the world we live in today, titles and roles don’t always match up. It is easy to be fooled.
In other words, you may think you’re working with a rack manufacturer, when in reality, you are working with a distributor (nothing more than a middleman honestly). To get the best pricing and best racking, ALWAYS work with a manufacturer who can deliver and install. Ask them if they make the racks themselves (note: Next Level is a manufacturer).
Manufacturing racks has several steps, and a true manufacturer covers them all.
The raw material is received, bent, cut, punched, drilled, and everything in between – then it is assembled. Real manufacturers can create any structure at any dimension to meet the client’s needs. Customers get exactly what they require, because the rack is manufactured to their measurements and specs.
Distributing racks involves dishing out standard sizes that were created by a 3rd party. However, some distributors will take responsibility for these products like they manufactured them, fooling the consumer into purchasing something that they don’t know the quality or origin.
How do you tell? A distributor will tell you what sizes are available, with no deviation. You either get the 30’ rack or the 35’ rack, nevermind that you really need a 33’ rack. You either buy the smaller one and live with less space, or shoehorn the larger one in.
A manufacturer will create you the 33’ rack you truly need. But it’s not just size – it’s quality too.
Quality: What Are You Actually Getting?
What are you getting when you order your warehouse racking, or warehouse rack accessories? Like any industry, you can have a low-grade, medium-grade, and high-grade options based on the producer and material. Anytime a product is mass-produced, it automatically drops its quality.
When ordering a warehouse rack from a distributor, you lose that “handmade” factor. Mass produced = fast and cheap (and again, not in 33’ either!)
When purchasing directly from a true manufacturer, there is confidence in the precision, durability, finish, and reliability of your product. Having direct contact with the manufacturer for last-minute changes or questions also plays a role in your purchase. Distributors don’t offer that; you get what you get (or what’s in stock). A manufacturer takes pride in the product and will not let an item that is not of 100% best quality and craftmanship leave their facility.
In the end, the choice is yours. But for our money, manufacturers trump distributors every single time. Again, ASK if custom sizing and options are available. And not just a simple choice of one or two – ask if your EXACT specs can be met. If the answer is no, you’re dealing with a distributor. If the answer is yes, you’re dealing with us (a manufacturer who delivers and installs as well!)