7 Simple Rules to Choosing the Right Containers for Your Warehouse

Whether your processes are manual or automated, we got you!

Any business is intended to perfect the products they sell, master the quality, enhance customer service and build loyalty with clients. This perfection is unattainable without the basics – lean and transparent operations at the logistics centre. With that said one of the most common problems logistics managers face is inefficiently organized storage space.

Intralogistics companies often mention manual, semi-automated and automated storage solutions but we felt like there was not enough buzz around smaller details like containers. However, there is such a large assortment of containers throughout the market that it is handy to have a guide on how to pick the right ones for your purposes.

Your Ultimate Guide For Choosing The Right Containers

The key question: Do you need containers for automated or manual handling?

Containers for both automated and manual operations are designed to carry different weights, resist friction, applied pressure and be handled in various temperature zones. However, each specific process demands a specialized solution. Depending on how the containers will be used at your warehouse, there are multiple options to choose from.


Containers for manual picking and handling need to be light yet durable. They should be equipped with a standard base, an ergonomic handgrip and holes for comfortable moving and carrying.


While it is essential to choose the right container for your operations, sometimes it is not that straightforward. Process design is a work of art tailor-made to serve best for your business. And some processes prove efficiency when combining automated and manual storage, moving and picking solutions.

If the above describes your operations, there are a few points to check when choosing containers. They need to be equipped with a smooth tunning frame to safely move around on a conveying system. If the load is higher, for example, 70 kg, the base of the container should be reinforced to secure successful delivery.


When talking about fully automated systems, the requirements list is slightly longer.

For example, containers that run in automated systems need space for labelling for identification and registering of goods.

Another point to consider: For secure handling in some of the automated systems, like miniload, where containers are hanging with no support under them, it is extremely important to make sure the base is reinforced. This will ensure that the shape does not get distorted, and the following process could be conducted safely.

Other core characteristics for automation containers:

  • Low dead weight

  • Heavy-duty design

  • Maximum stacking safety

Size chart: Weight and measurements requirements

SSI Schaefer produces more than 2,000 container types to meet every customer’s requirement. There are smaller containers to handle up to 20 kg and ones that can carry up to 70 kg. To better serve the purpose of use, there are different shapes and materials with various reinforcement areas.

Some of the automated systems, for example, the single-level shuttle system SSI Flexi from SSI Schaefer is dynamically adjustable to the different width of the item as well as to its height. This is particularly convenient when your business has a wide assortment of SKUs falling within various categories.

The other case is when the product client that produces, stores or distributes has non-standard measurements or requires special protection installed in each container for safe transportation. The solution here is to customize. Plastic or steel, thermoformed inserts or one-piece with moulded injection, cut & weld and much more options to build a perfectly fitting and safe load carrier for your goods.

Weather forecast: Do you need a lid?

You do… if the products:

  • Leave your warehouse and are delivered to a customer in containers

  • Are buffered for some time and/or sensitive to dust

  • Are handled automatically by various equipment on different heights

  • Are at some point stored or moved outdoors

  • Require special handling conditions, e.g. dangerous goods

Storage conditions: What temperature zone containers will be handled in?

Semi- and fully automated solutions’ elements like conveying systems, mobile racks, shuttles and automated buffers are suitable for all – ambient, cold and deep-freeze storage zones. While choosing containers for your logistics centre, make sure they support your handling conditions.
While operating in a deep-freeze temperature zone, many systems and load carriers perform at slightly reduced performance rates. This needs to be checked and noted, taking into account the sizes and measurements of the products.

Do you use cartons at the warehouse?

Not all systems are suitable for using cartons but if they are essential to the operations, there is a solution: trays. For example, cartons can be used in miniload systems if you place them on trays.

Don’t waste your space! Nesting storage and transportation

An optimal solution for space economic approach is to pick nestable containers. They can be put inside each other when empty, saving up to 75% of space. Euro pallet, with a height of 2.5m, can store 32 ordinary or up to 120 stackable containers.

ID check at the entrance: Labelling

Labelling can be necessary for various purposes:

Product information

With the wide range of goods, raw, semi-finished and finished, labels can be used to provide an employee with fast access to the basic information, instructions or process design and needed service for the particular item.

​​​​​​​Stamping of the customer logo

Frequently selected when containers are used to deliver goods to the customers.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Process navigation

When the process is complex and the system needs to send orders to different work stations or shipping docks.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Shipping data

Customer address and information, routing and any other necessary details.

What kind of labels are applied, depends on your WMS system and what applications the logistics centre run on: RFID -chips, QR codes, manually applied labelling, barcodes etc.

It is much harder to choose from 2000 options than from 5. A wide selection is great for detailed customization and better fit, but it is puzzling to equally compare all of the options and make a final decision. The ultimate guide is here to support any logistics manager with the main criteria to base their choice on.

If you are looking for the perfect option for your business, get in contact with your SSI Schaefer’s expert : https://www.ssi-schaefer.com/en-gb/company/contact-us?pagelabel=uk_company