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Warehouse Storage Systems: Comparing First-In, Last-Out and First-In, First-Out

First-in, last-out (FILO) and first-in, first-out (FIFO) are two methods of moving inventory through a warehouse. Both have different benefits depending on your unique storage needs. At ARPAC, we provide warehouse racking in Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton that can be used for either system. Here is a basic overview of the two types of systems to help you decide which one to use.

An inventory measuring tool resting on a box in a Vancouver warehouse

What is First-In, Last-Out?

Using a FILO pallet racking system means that the first items to be loaded onto the rack are also going to be the last items unloaded from the rack. In a FILO system, two or more pallets are stored on the same rack, one behind the other. The first pallets must be moved before the others can be accessed.

Examples of FILO Storage Solutions:

  • Double deep racking: Pallets are stored two rows deep, with one pallet placed in front of the other.
  • Drive-in system: Pallets are stored in tunnels at least two pallet-lengths deep. Before the last pallet can be reached, all other pallets must be removed.
  • Push-back system: Pallets are stored on wheeled carts mounted on an angled rail system. When a new pallet is placed on the rail, the whole stack moves backward to make space for it.

When to Use a FILO System?

A FILO warehouse racking system is the better choice if you need to store a large number of non-perishable items and if the order in which they are moved through the warehouse is not important.

What is First-In, First-Out?

The opposite of FILO, a FIFO warehouse racking system ensures that items move through your warehouse in the order they arrive. The first stock to be loaded is also the first stock to be unloaded.

Examples of FIFO Storage Solutions:

  • Selective racking: Pallets are stored only one pallet deep, providing direct access to each one.
  • Pallet flow system: Pallets are stored up to twenty pallets deep on a conveyor or track that is tilted down from the loading side to the unloading side. When a pallet is removed, the entire stock moves forward.

When to Use a FIFO System?

You’ll want to choose a FIFO pallet racking system for your warehouse if you have inventory with a limited shelf life. It helps ensure that the items move through before hitting an expiry date, going out of style, or becoming obsolete.

Comprehensive Forklift Operator Training in Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton

Forklift operators should be trained in both FILO and FIFO systems so that they can move stock through a warehouse in an efficient and effective manner. ARPAC offers comprehensive forklift operator training that includes training and guidance in the use of these systems. We also provide FILO and FIFO pallet racking solutions.

For more information on our training courses or our Vancouver pallet racking products, just contact ARPAC today.