FIFO - First In First Out Warehousing (2023)

Let’s say your warehouse stores speakers.

Using the FIFO method, you’ve sold out of the speakers that cost you $50. This means that your remaining speakers are priced at $60 each and worth $6000.

On the other hand, if you used the LIFO inventory management method, those 400 speakers you sold in Week 3 would use the cost of the speaker in Week 2 ($60). As such, you would price the remaining 100 speakers at your Week 1 cost ($50), so your inventory using the LIFO method is worth $5000.

How Does a Manager Implement First in First Out Warehousing?

A warehouse manager has to ensure that FIFO happens in practice. While a corporate accountant is only concerned with the calculations, warehouse management must ensure the successful implementation of FIFO inventory control. How do you make this happen in your warehouses?

FIFO Pallet Racking System

Purchase a pallet racking system designed for FIFO warehouse management. Pallet flow rack systems, also known as gravity flow racking systems, allow your warehouse employees to feed goods into one end of a rack and retrieve it from the other end when needed. It uses the following workflow:

(Video) FIFO (First in, First out) Warehouse Management Method | Logistics Blog

  1. Forklift feeds pallet into the rear of the pallet flow rack system
  2. Gravity pulls the pallet to the other end of the system
  3. Forklift unloads the pallet when it gets to the other end

A track or roller system along the rails of the rack tilt downwards, moving packages from the loading side to the unloading side. In this way, your oldest pallet is always the first pallet removed.

In addition to enabling FIFO inventory control, pallet flow rack systems bring the following benefits:

  • Minimizes stock handling: Once workers load the pallets, they don’t handle them again until unloading. This eliminates the people and equipment (e.g. forklifts) typically required to continuously re-arrange pallets, particularly in a first in, first out warehousing space.
  • Streamlines warehouse operations: All that’s needed is two free aisles on the loading side and on the unloading side. This streamlines warehouse management and makes processes more efficient.
  • Maximize warehouse space: Pallet flow rack systems allow warehouse managers to pack goods more densely, effectively freeing up more warehouse space.
  • Cancel construction projects: If the need for more warehouse space prompted construction plans, you may be able to scrap them using this system.
  • Minimize equipment damage: Forklifts are used less frequently with pallet flow rack systems, reducing the amount of wear and tear and the frequency of repairs.

Pallet flow racks can be customized for specific speeds and product loads for the most efficiency.

Despite its benefits, pallet flow rack systems are expensive, so a business’s operations must seriously justify the investment.

Easily calculate the ROI of your Warehouse Management System: Our WMS ROI Calculator helps you conduct a cost-benefit analysis for your WMS.

Your Existing Pallet Racking System May Not Be Suitable for FIFO

There are several ways a warehouse can organize its pallets. However, not all of these may be amenable to the FIFO method. For instance, block stacking (also known as floor stacking) is the cheapest method since it involves no racking – pallets are simply stacked on the floor. While this is easy to implement, block stacking doesn’t work in a FIFO inventory management system since pallets are pulled on a last in, first out (LIFO) basis.

(Video) What is FIFO? Everything You Need To Know About First In First Out

Similarly, stacking frames are temporary structures erected to provide racking during busy periods. They can easily be disassembled so that the warehouse can return to block stacking.

One of the disadvantages of stacking frames and block stacking is honeycombing. Honeycombing occurs when only one load is put in the pick position in order to avoid moving packages around. It’s a trade off between handling efficiency and storage efficiency that saves on material handling but leads to warehouse space waste.

Using an Inventory Management Model to Assess Optimal Inventory Levels

Your managers double the effectiveness and efficiency of first in first out warehousing when they couple it with other best practices. Economic order quantity (EOQ) is a popular inventory management model often coupled with FIFO. This inventory control model indicates the ideal amount of stock to order once inventory dips below a certain point.

The EOQ model serves businesses by protecting them from stock outs while also minimizing the amount of capital tied up in managing excess inventory.

Employing an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS)

An automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) can help with first in first out warehousing. It automatically stores and retrieves loads, minimizing the amount of manual intervention.

An AS/RS is useful in your warehouse space if you have an exceptionally high volume of loads moving in and out of storage. Depending on your company’s requirements, it may be a cheaper alternative to building more warehouse space or acquiring more property. Since machinery manages the loads, they can be packed together more densely.

(Video) FIFO - First In First Out Warehousing 2020

An AS/RS also provides enhanced tracking and data analytics. Management can lay out the warehouse more effectively based on which items are picked most often.

Automated storage and retrieval systems can help with more than just the FIFO method and overall efficiency. It can also reduce workplace accidents and injuries.

Nevertheless, AS/RS isn’t a solution to every warehouse problem. An ineffective system may lead to damaged goods if the AS/RS doesn’t handle them properly. Moreover, it may not be worth the investment if your goods require processing. It’s most effective when products simply need to be stored and transported.

What Sorts of Businesses Should Use First in First Out Warehousing?

As demonstrated, FIFO inventory control helps whether you manage goods prone to spoilage or not. This method helps business owners use warehouse space more effectively, save on labour costs, and minimize wear and tear to their equipment.FIFOis particularly useful in the food and beverage industry, apparel industry where businesses must keep up with changing trends, pharmaceutical industry, cosmetics industry, and the electronics industry where products may become obsolete. Companies that export goods also use FIFO to comply with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

FEFO: An enhanced version of the FIFO method

While most business can benefit from FIFO, some benefit more than others. In fact, it’s considered a non-negotiable in some industries.

For instance, FIFO is essential in the food and beverage business. It applies not just to warehouses, but to store owners and even a consumer’s own kitchen. Approximately one-third of food produced for humans each year is wasted. That equals about 1.3 billion tons. Not only is this a moral failure, it’s an economic failure as well. This waste represents $630 billion USD in industrialized countries.

(Video) The Fifo system for the warehouse of Roberto Nuti Group

How do you ensure food and beverages don’t go to waste in your warehouse? By implementing an enhanced version of FIFO warehouse management: FEFO. FEFO, which stands for first expired, first out, goes beyond picking the oldest pallet and focus on picking the items closest to their expiration date.

Of course, it would be incredibly difficult, not to mention expensive, to track each individual item. This is where lot control comes in. Lot number control is the ability to track all the inventory in your warehouse from its origin to customers . In addition to managing spoilage, lot control allows companies to address product recalls.

Keep in mind that expiration dates seriously impact consumer decision making. Convincing consumers to choose your products isn’t as simple as getting your products to the store before the expiry date.

Only 6% of shoppers don’t check the expiration date while shopping. This isn’t surprising considering no one wants to eat spoiled food. What may be surprising to business owners is the window consumers expect between when they buy a product and when it expires.

Majority of shoppers won’t buy an item if it’s too close to its expiration. What counts as too close? Well, according to the same report, anything less than 5 days is unacceptable for 25 % of shoppers.

In other words, it pays to get your products to consumers sooner rather than later.

(Video) What is FIFO? | First In First Out | Material Storage | Stores Function | with example

First In, First Out Reduces Spoilage, Streamlines Processes, and Maximizes Warehouse Space

First in, first out (FIFO) warehousing is the most popular method for organizing your warehouse space. And at the accounting level, FIFO is one of the most accurate ways to calculate the amount of inventory available. The FIFO method introduces efficiency by limiting material handling and minimizing the overall usage of warehouse space.

Furthermore, it reduces the likelihood of spoilage or obsolescence, particularly for companies in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, electronics, and apparel industries.

Check out our 3PL Software or Order Fulfillment System to learn more.


What is the first in, first out FIFO inventory method? ›

FIFO stands for first in, first out, an easy-to-understand inventory valuation method that assumes that goods purchased or produced first are sold first. In theory, this means the oldest inventory gets shipped out to customers before newer inventory.

What are the 5 benefits of FIFO first in, first out? ›

The Benefits of First In First Out Inventory Accounting?
  • The most widely used method.
  • Simple and logical.
  • Matching inventory costs to the current market value.
  • Generating a higher gross profit.
  • Matching costs to inflation.
  • Less chance of obsolete and spoiled stock.
18 Nov 2015

What is LIFO and FIFO in warehouse? ›

FIFO (first in, first out) inventory management seeks to value inventory so the business is less likely to lose money when products expire or become obsolete. LIFO (last in, first out) inventory management is better for nonperishable goods and uses current prices to calculate the cost of goods sold.

Why is first in, first out FIFO storage used? ›

The First In, First Out (FIFO) inventory management method is a system wherein the inventory brought into the storage area is also the first to be sold or used. The reasoning behind this system is that inventory has a shelf life and will expire eventually.

What is FIFO method in warehouse? ›

The definition and operation of the FIFO method in industrial storage has to do with the way that goods are moved and is a simple concept: first in, first out. In other words, the first good or unit load to enter the warehouse is the first one out.

How does FIFO work in warehouse? ›

First in first out (FIFO) warehousing means exactly what it sounds like. It's an inventory control method in which the first items to come into the warehouse are the first items to leave. Similar to the service industry concept of “first come, first served”, the FIFO method focuses on products, not people.

What are the 3 main reasons for using FIFO? ›

Less waste (a company truly following the FIFO method will always be moving out the oldest inventory first). Remaining products in inventory will be a better reflection of market value (this is because products not sold have been built more recently). Higher profit. Financial statements are harder to manipulate.

What is FIFO advantage and disadvantage? ›

This method is useful for materials which are subject to obsolescence and deterioration In periods of rising prices, the FIFO method produces higher profits and results in higher tax liability because lower cost is charged to production Conversely in periods of falling, prices.

What is the rule of thumb for FIFO? ›

FIFO stands for “First in – First Out.” The first part that goes in is the first part that goes out. There is no overtaking of parts. There is usually a limit to the number of parts in a FIFO lane.

What is LIFO in warehouse? ›

Last In First Out (LIFO) means that the last goods to be stocked are the first goods to be removed. For example: Stocking Supermarket Milk; If a staff member at a supermarket stocks fresh milk into a refrigerator by simply placing the new stock of milk in front of the older stock they would be using LIFO.

What is FIFO and LIFO example? ›

Companies typically use FIFO for perishable products like food and beverages or stock that may become obsolete or expire if they don't sell within a certain time. Businesses often use LIFO for products that aren't affected by time spent in inventory or where the flow of products fits the LIFO method.

What is LIFO example? ›

Example of LIFO

that buys coffee mugs from wholesalers and sells them on the internet. One Cup's cost of goods sold (COGS) differs when it uses LIFO versus when it uses FIFO. In the first scenario, the price of wholesale mugs is rising from 2016 to 2019.

What is FIFO example? ›

Example of FIFO

Imagine if a company purchased 100 items for $10 each, then later purchased 100 more items for $15 each. Then, the company sold 60 items. Under the FIFO method, the cost of goods sold for each of the 60 items is $10/unit because the first goods purchased are the first goods sold.

What is a FIFO stands for? ›

FIFO = First In First Out

FIFO means that products stored first are to be retrieved first.

How do you use FIFO method? ›

To calculate FIFO (First-In, First Out) determine the cost of your oldest inventory and multiply that cost by the amount of inventory sold, whereas to calculate LIFO (Last-in, First-Out) determine the cost of your most recent inventory and multiply it by the amount of inventory sold.

What are the five FIFO procedures? ›

The FIFO procedure follows 5 simple steps:

Locate products with the soonest best before or use-by dates. Remove items that are past these dates or are damaged. Place items with the soonest dates at the front. Stock new items behind the front stock; those with the latest dates should be at the back.

What is Kanban and FIFO? ›

Kanban systems are used when you're. replenishing specific items/part numbers. (supplies) based on consumption. FIFO lanes are used when you're. replenishing work based on consumption.

How long is a FIFO shift? ›

As a FIFO worker, you're usually required to work long hours, with very little downtime during your stay. You can expect 12-hour shifts, 7 days a week, and the most common roster arrangement is 7 days on followed by 7 days off, or sometimes 14 days on followed by 14 days off.

What happens when FIFO is full? ›

If the count reaches a value equal to the size of FIFO it will assign FULL flag as logic high and if the count becomes zero it will assign EMPTY flag as logic high.

Is working FIFO worth it? ›

For some, it's worth the money. For others, it's a short-term situation. It's entirely subjective in that way. If you're considering a temp or short-term FIFO contract because you're in need of a temporary cash injection, you may want to consider a secured personal loan.

Which inventory method is best? ›

The FIFO method is the most popular inventory method because it's the one that most closely matches the actual movement of inventory for most businesses. This method assumes that the first products you acquired will be the first that are sold.

Why is FIFO important? ›

FIFO helps food establishments cycle through their stock, keeping food fresher. This constant rotation helps prevent mold and pathogen growth. When employees monitor the time food spends in storage, they improve the safety and freshness of food. FIFO can help restaurants track how quickly their food stock is used.

Why FIFO is better then LIFO? ›

FIFO focuses on using up old stock first, whilst LIFO uses the newest stock available. LIFO helps keep tax payments down, but FIFO is much less complicated and easier to work with. However, it is all down to the company you own as to what method you choose.

Why is FIFO good? ›

FIFO can be a better indicator of the value for ending inventory because the older items have been used up while the most recently acquired items reflect current market prices.

What is the correct FIFO order? ›

FIFO is “first in first out” and simply means you need to label your food with the dates you store them, and put the older foods in front or on top so that you use them first. This system allows you to find your food quicker and use them more efficiently.

What does FIFO 2 1 mean? ›

A 2/1 FIFO roster refers to working two weeks on and then having one week off. This would typically consist of 12 hour shifts worked for 14 days straight, prior to having seven days off.

What should FIFO take? ›

Take a copy of all your personal details (emergency contacts, tax file number, banking details, superannuation numbers, copies of any certificates in first aid, HR licence etc).

What is LIFO in logistics? ›

1. Last In / First Out: an accounting method used in managing a company's inventory. LIFO assumes that the products bought or most recently manufactured are sold first. 2. Liner In / Free Out: is the rate of freight including the costs of loading the goods on board a vessel at the departure port.

Why is it called LIFO? ›

Since the element at the top of the stack is the most recently inserted element using the insert operation, and it is also the one to be removed first by the delete operation, the stack is called a Last In First Out (LIFO) list.

What is LIFO order? ›

LIFO is an abbreviation for last in, first out. It is a method for handling data structures where the first element is processed last and the last element is processed first.

Where is LIFO used? ›

Last in, first out (LIFO) is a method used to account for inventory. Under LIFO, the costs of the most recent products purchased (or produced) are the first to be expensed. LIFO is used only in the United States and governed by the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

What is FIFO and JIT? ›

FIFO (First In, First Out), LIFO (Last In, Last Out) and JIT (Just In Time) are three basic inventory methods that companies can use. It is helpful to first understand the advantages of the FIFO inventory method in order to gain a working knowledge of other inventory methods.

Why is LIFO used? ›

Reason for Using LIFO

(The higher cost of goods sold means lower net income and lower taxable income than FIFO.) Another reason for a company to use the LIFO cost flow assumption is to improve the matching of costs with sales.

Is stack LIFO or FIFO? ›

The primary difference between Stack and Queue Data Structures is that Stack follows LIFO while Queue follows FIFO data structure type. LIFO refers to Last In First Out. It means that when we put data in a Stack, it processes the last entry first. Conversely, FIFO refers to First In First Out.

Who uses FIFO? ›

Companies must use FIFO for inventory if they are selling perishable goods such as food, which expires after a certain period of time. Companies selling products with relatively short demand cycles, such as designer fashion, also may have to pick FIFO to ensure they are not stuck with outdated styles in inventory.

What is LIFO in stack? ›

The order in which an element added to or removed from a stack is described as last in, first out, referred to by the acronym LIFO.

Are FIFO and LIFO same? ›

FIFO (“First-In, First-Out”) assumes that the oldest products in a company's inventory have been sold first and goes by those production costs. The LIFO (“Last-In, First-Out”) method assumes that the most recent products in a company's inventory have been sold first and uses those costs instead.

What is first in, first out FIFO method quizlet? ›

FIFO. First In, first out - means that the goods first added to inventory are assumed to be the first gooded removed from inventory for sale. LIFO. Last in, first out - means that the most recent goods , or last goods added to inventory are assumed to be the first goods removed from inventory for sale.

Which structure is a first in, first out? ›

The queue is defined by the following structure and operations. A queue is structured, as an ordered collection of items which are added at one end, called the “rear,” and removed from the other end, called the “front.” Queues maintain a FIFO ordering property.

How first in, first out method of inventory valuation is done? ›

The First-in First-out (FIFO) method of inventory valuation is based on the assumption that the sale or usage of goods follows the same order in which they are bought. In other words, under the first-in, first-out method, the earliest purchased or produced goods are sold/removed and expensed first.

What is an example of first in, first out? ›

Example of FIFO

Imagine if a company purchased 100 items for $10 each, then later purchased 100 more items for $15 each. Then, the company sold 60 items. Under the FIFO method, the cost of goods sold for each of the 60 items is $10/unit because the first goods purchased are the first goods sold.

What is the meaning of first in, first out? ›

The first in, first out, aka FIFO (pronounced FIE-foe), accounting method assumes that sellable assets, such as inventory, raw materials, or components acquired first were sold first. That is, the oldest merchandise is sold first, with its associated costs being used to determine profitability.

What is the difference between first in and first out? ›

FIFO (“First-In, First-Out”) assumes that the oldest products in a company's inventory have been sold first and goes by those production costs. The LIFO (“Last-In, First-Out”) method assumes that the most recent products in a company's inventory have been sold first and uses those costs instead.

Is Kanban first in, first out? ›

The Kanban signal provides this information. As a pull connection, both One piece flow as well as First-In-First-out (FIFO) are more desirable than the supermarket because they do not need a separate signal to know what to replenish.

What are the 3 main methods of taking inventory? ›

There are three methods for inventory valuation: FIFO (First In, First Out), LIFO (Last In, First Out), and WAC (Weighted Average Cost).

What are the 4 methods of inventory? ›

There are four accepted methods of inventory valuation.
  • Specific Identification.
  • First-In, First-Out (FIFO)
  • Last-In, First-Out (LIFO)
  • Weighted Average Cost.

What are the 3 inventory costing methods? ›

The three inventory costing methods include the first in-first out (FIFO), last in-first out (LIFO), and weighted average cost (WAC) methods.


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