Your experienced warehouse project partner.
Call Us: (206) 999-8993
West Coast Warehouse Consultants, LLC BBB Business Review

How do you “stack up”? The Acronyms…

ACRONYMS – Every industry has them. Certainly, the Material Handling / Warehousing industry is no exception.

As WCWC designs any type of building space or warehouse operation these acronyms (which explain a fundamental type of storage and the resulting functions) come into play.

We’ve noted a few of the more traditional acronyms first. But as you’ll also see, with no disrespect meant or intended, some of the not-so- traditional acronyms that follow just may better “sum up” what may actually be going on in your operation. Ideally, this blog will inform. But if it also entertains a bit…we trust that’s okay too.

First, the traditional Material Handling / Warehouse storage ‘type’ acronyms…

Material Handling / Warehouse Storage ‘Type’ Acronyms

FIFO / First In, First Out – FIFO basically represents the ideal method of storage designed for the processing or “turning” of your inventory. Each specific FIFO method of storage (whether for pallets or cases and/or cartons) may vary greatly, but each are designed to maintain 100% FIFO.

FILO / First In, Last Out – Virtually the opposite of FIFO, this storage method / practice effectively suits very, very few applications. In addition, FILO typically results in extra Labor in order to maintain some resemblance of proper inventory rotation.

FINO / First In, Never OutJust as it sounds, FINO would appear inconceivable. Further, completely unacceptable. Yet…it still exists and happens somewhere every single day.

FISH / First In, Still Here Not unlike FINO, this ‘condition’ can represent a rather serious problem for any distribution process. Depending on the product being stored, FISH may represent anywhere from an angry Customer right through to the complete loss of both the inventory and your Customer.

AIAO / All In, All Out A wonderful (typically, inexpensive) storage concept for those ‘high turn’ applications. Most notably, by the Material Handling’s industry definition, it is most commonly found in Produce and Cross Dock applications. Caution: Please be aware of not wasting valuable cubic storage capacity for perceived flexibility of AIAO and your desired throughput rate or speed.


Now, with the traditional Industry ‘lingo’ behind us, how about exploring some of the more untraditional, unconventional acronyms? Do any of these better explain your current storage and/or handling challenges?

Food for thought…again, the intent here is just a touch of fun & levity. However, if any of these explanations sting a bit please know WCWC has alternatives  and / or solutions for you.

IHBWII / IT’S HERE BUT WHERE IS IT Scary, huh? Just the very thought of it. Yet, as just one example, are you a Company that relies on your lift truck operators to know exactly where your inventory is? Frankly and to my amazement, this practice also still occurs today.

Basic technologies today can simply and easily provide “live” inventory reporting. With a couple of key strokes, how would you like to know exactly where your inventory is at…at any given time?

TOUCHED TOO MANY TIMES BEFORE IT SHIPPED or TTMTBIS – Labor, labor and more labor. Certain types of storage, such as “bulk storage,” are notorious for creating excessive labor. Order picking and replenishment is another.

Labor, payroll is typically the largest or second largest operating expense of most warehouse or distribution operations today. How does your operation stack up?

OUR SYSTEM WON’T LET ME / OSWLM Another “ouch” resulting in a truly concerning problem. This ‘condition’ suggests that enhancements or efficiencies have even been recognized by building operator’s (whether it is management or a picker on a pallet jack), but the present ‘system’ cannot support or allow for basic logic.

And finally…

TOO MANY ORDERS, TOO LITTLE TIME / TMOTLT – With the demands of current consumer technology and the general business environment, TMOTLT is simply not an acceptable excuse anymore. Likely, you’ll find you solution in the ‘smarter not harder’ approach.

If this situation occurs frequently enough, then additional man power or more labor should not, most likely, be your first response or only answer.

Do any of these conditions sum up or affect your operation?

Would you like to address any of these challenges?

Important Note:  Whether your loads are full pallets, partial pallets, cases, split cases, etc. cost effective, R. O. I. based solutions exist for you. Please contact WCWC to discuss your potential options and solutions.


WCWC Blog #4, 6/23/13