Flow Rack: The Daily Definition
What is a flow rack?
A flow rack is a storage system where inventory is picked from one end of the rack and replenished at the opposite end. Each shelf on a flow rack is tilted slightly, which makes it easier to physically move goods through the system. Flow racks are very useful for warehouses using FIFO inventory methods.
Sort inventory by SKU when using a flow rack system in your warehouse, and give each SKU has its own “lane,” or shelf. Flow racks work best in warehouses that cycle through product quickly. So, if you distribute perishable goods or other continuously flowing consumer goods, using flow racks could be a great solution for your company.
Our two cents:
Flow racks or no flow racks, take a moment to think about your warehouse’s physical layout. Warehouse layout influences your productivity in a big way. Don’t dismiss it as a minor concern.
The type of inventory that you sell is a big consideration when you evaluate your warehouse layout. Beyond what your inventory is in and of itself, think about how you sell it. What are your most popular items? Which items come from the same vendors? Which items usually sell together? Take these factors into consideration. Should you set your warehouse up to make packing faster and easier? And what about picking methods? Does your warehouse setup make these processes simpler or more difficult?
Set some goals for your warehouse’s efficiency and productivity first. Next, go after the layout that supports those goals. Add barcodes if you need them (you probably need them).
Picking barcoded inventory in a smartly-designed warehouse leads to massive accuracy improvements. And we’re not just saying that — check out this real-world account of a warehouse that achieved 100% picking accuracy in their busy warehouse.