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Here’s how to implement the correct product flow in a warehouse to fuel efficiency and improve your bottom line.
Smart WarehousingFeb 21, 2023 11:06:00 AM4 min read

What is the Correct Product Flow in a Warehouse?

The key to driving success across your warehouse operations? Optimizing your space and product flow. Correct product flow in a warehouse is pivotal for maximizing overall efficiency and productivity for your supply chain. The way you utilize your warehouse space also boosts inventory accessibility and allows your business to customize warehouse movement. 


There are four areas of consideration when cultivating a product flow for your warehouse operations: dynamic storage, static storage, shipping, and receiving. These factors will ultimately influence the configuration of these areas, including product throughput, your available space, and the material handling equipment you use. 


Here’s how to implement the correct product flow in a warehouse to fuel efficiency and improve your bottom line. 


Warehouse Product Flow: Dynamic & Static Storage

Incorporating dynamic and static storage into your warehouse initiatives is an effective tactic for improving throughput. Where these two storage areas should be located can be determined by assessing your product flow and overarching warehouse layout. And to be clear: both dynamic and static storage are advantageous and drive efficiency in their own unique ways. Here’s how to utilize each to foster correct product flow in a warehouse. 


Dynamic Storage

Also referred to as forward pick, dynamic storage encompasses the warehouse region where products are consistently accessed and picked for order fulfillment purposes. As supply and demand fluctuate, so will the contents of dynamic storage. High selectivity is an integral piece of driving successful operations within this area. For this reason, dynamic storage can integrate an array of racking types to decrease overall pick time, which is also referred to as a pick module. 


There can be one or multiple pick levels within a pick module. What’s more, a pick module can be constructed in varying configurations to accommodate product characteristics and the material handling equipment you utilize. 


Dynamic Storage Functions:

  • Decreases picking time

  • Provides high selectivity

  • Encourages multiple rack types and combinations to develop a pick module. 


Static Storage

Product overflow is housed in the static storage area. There’s a definitive organization method and inventory is strategically placed on racking systems to stack, fit, and optimize storage space. Also known as the reserve storage area, items are retrieved and transferred to dynamic storage as needed for replenishment


Static Storage Functions:

  • Provides high-density storage

  • Reserve pallet storage

Warehouse Product Flow Layouts

Designing the correct product flow in a warehouse requires evaluating your business goals and considering your needs. Most businesses choose from three main layout flows when organizing their warehousing operations: U-shaped, L-shaped, and I-shaped. 


When it comes to warehouse flows, there’s no underdog – each strategy proves to be advantageous in its own way. The correct product flow in a warehouse depends on which strategy accommodates your current needs and future goals and initiatives. 


U-Shaped Product Flow in a Warehouse

The U-shaped warehouse flow is the most common option of the three. This layout arranges components in a semicircle, with storage in the middle and shipping and receiving on parallel sides. Utilizing this flow is an effective method for ensuring major traffic flow remains separate and streamlined. 


You can minimize bottlenecks and facilitate smooth-running operations by keeping incoming and outgoing items on separate but parallel sides. When both the entrance and exit are placed on the same side of the facility, you can reduce the space needed for packages and allow workers to move products quickly and unencumbered between receiving and shipping. 


L-Shaped Product Flow in a Warehouse

The L-shaped configuration is more unusual by design and typically used to accommodate the shape of the building. This product flow features the shipping area on one side and the receiving area on the adjacent side at a 90-degree angle. The L-shape layout is beneficial for warehouses that call for heightened security because it offers separate entrance and exit points. 


This product flow can supply your business with a larger expanse for sorting and storage among both shipping and receiving docks, as well as the ability to execute isolated monitoring of each function. The L-shape can also reduce congestion by circumventing back-and-forth movement.


I-Shaped Product Flow in a Warehouse

Large corporations utilizing bigger warehouse spaces often favor the I-shape product flow. Why? Because larger businesses must account for an elevated production volume, the I-shape configuration offers a highly valuable, unobstructed in-and-out workflow.


As the name suggests, the I-shape design encompasses a straight product flow from shipping to receiving and vice versa. Leveraging this setup can optimize operations as it utilizes the entire warehouse length, reduces bottlenecks caused by back-and-forth movements, and keeps similar products separated in an assembly-line format. 

Selecting the Correct Product Flow in a Warehouse

Now that we’ve delved into the different product flow options, selecting a design that naturally aligns with your business’s needs is crucial. At Smart Warehousing, we partner with businesses to assess their strengths and weaknesses and ultimately develop a customized solution that’ll optimize their fulfillment and logistics needs. 


Leveraging our experience and cutting-edge technology, we can help your business meet consumer demand and strengthen your bottom line through efficient and effective solutions. If you’re ready to stay ahead of demand, improve the customer experience, reduce costs, and drive long-term success for your business, contact the Smart Warehousing team today.