Bins – Bottom Up Numbering

We have written about the importance of organizing your warehouse inventory bins numerically rather than alphabetically. However, we want to share another Best Practice in organizational design.

Once you’ve wisely chosen to number your bins rather than letter them, the next question becomes…

Best Practice

From where do I start numbering? Do I start with the bins closest to the ceiling or to the floor?

Without hesitation, we can confidently recommend that you start numbering from the bottom bins and work your way up to the top.

Flowtrac is not the only company recommending a bottom-up numbering system for your bins. Most warehouse consultants will recommend starting your number labels from the bottom bins rather than the top bins. However, some others out there have stated the opposite, and that’s bad advice.

Why Bottom Up?

Shelves at the top of your bins and bays could likely change based on the size of products that you move in and out of the bins.
Imagine, your latest pallets are carrying taller products than usual and will not fit in the bins without adjusting the beams.

Imagine that something changes in the operations and you need a place for items that are not on pallets. Once again, you’d have to change the beams and size of the bins. When something like this happens, the bin numbers change along with it.
If this happens, you would have to relabel your system, and that could be an ongoing nightmare as the flow of products continue to require adjusting, subtracting, or adding bins.

Let’s say a warehouse decides to label their bins from the top. Bin number 1 would be up high. Then, the company wanted to add another bin on top. They would no longer have number 1 at the top, nor would it be at the bottom. Rather, now bin number 1 is somewhere in the middle. This can get ugly fast! Various numbers become completely out of order, thereby defeating the purpose of numbering bins in the first place.

On the other hand, if bin number 1 was the bottom bin, it would never have to change. It would never need adjusting in that bay. Thus, the original design of your bins allows for flexibility in product size without the sacrificial cost of constant relabeling.

In short, start your numerical bin labels from the bin closest to the floor. Doing so will ensure maximum consistency, efficiency, and profitability.

Need some help or have any questions? Let’s talk.