Effective FIFO (First In - First Out) - Materials Management

FIFO - First In First Out

  • Yes - we have an effective bar code system implemented.

    Votes: 6 22.2%
  • Yes - we have an effective system but no bar coding.

    Votes: 7 25.9%
  • We have a system but it doesn't work very well.

    Votes: 6 22.2%
  • We have a system but it doesn't work at all.

    Votes: 1 3.7%
  • We do not have a FIFO system in place.

    Votes: 2 7.4%
  • I'm a consultant and see it as an industry wide problem.

    Votes: 4 14.8%
  • I'm a consultant and DO NOT see it as an industry wide problem.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I'm not a Consultant and see it as an industry wide problem

    Votes: 1 3.7%

  • Total voters


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Effective FIFO

How many of you have an effective FIFO system? How many do not? Who even has one to begin with?

Bill Ryan - 2007

Our barcode system is working extremely well for finished product.

Our raw materials system is another matter. I haven't decided if we're trying to use FIFO or FISH (First in stay here). (It's probably not really THAT bad??????)

Good poll, Marc. Our automotive customers (including 1 of the B3) have made comments to the effect of "Shows how well our FIFO system is working doesn't it?" (in respect to them finding an issue and setting that lot aside only to find out that the next lot they put at the line has an earlier mfg./ship date or lot number). I bite my tongue.




We have an effective FIFO system using barcodeing all the way through the process from raw materials coming in to finished goods going out of the door.

Our customers are mostly Tier 1 JIT plants who supply into the OEM's and in my experience it can be "do as I say not as I do" on FIFO. We have had issues raised on parts supplied 6 months previously!

Our computerised barcode system is also very useful for controlling non-conforming product. Preventing it from gathering dust in corners forgotten!!


We have FIFO & Barcoding with serial number traceability for our finished goods. We are presently working on barcoding for our receiving inventory.

Most of our products are unique and we keep minimal stock, so FIFO does not often apply here. When it does however, I feel that it works.

My previous job on the other hand was a spare parts depot, where FIFO played a major role. It worked most of the time. For a while there we benchmarked with a food industry. Oh boy, did they ever manage FIFO well. They had to, or they would have had a lot of rotten food on their shelves.



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I can only speak for my Ford location.
Most parts and stock arriving at the plant, come in through loading bays. The loading bays have a reading system that picks up a unique transmitted identifyer that is attached to or inside the parts and stock. This information is then loaded into a database of in-stock materials.
It's quite the high tec system. I've seen it at work and it works very well. The internal delivery drivers have a hand held PC device that links to the central database, allowing them to view incoming parts and stock levels.
This is further linked to assembly operator work stations that have an alert system for notifying the internal drivers of parts and stock requirements.
It's not the perfect system by any means yet, I have seen exponential improvements in the parts and stock managment while using this high tec FIFO system. The by-product of this system has caused management and employee acountability to be more measurable.


Change Agent and Data Storyteller
Super Moderator
Our raw materials are used on a 'as-needed' approach. Reading the schedule, we tend to know which raw materials need to be in they bay asap, but the remainder sits in our yard until required.

Additional supplies are used on FIFO approach. No bar code, but stock is rotated so that the oldest material is used first.

Finished product is shipped on a 'as-needed' approach. Our schedule is developed based upon historical data and current Customer demand. But the product sits in the warehouse until released for shipment.

Dave Johnson

OPur system is very similar to Roxanne's. Component parts labeled with the traceability tracking serial number and date code received, oldest used first.

Our biggest problem is integrating our system with our suppliers. When we get a shipment of one component in, this shipment is identified by us with only one serial number/date code, but the shipment received often was manufactured by our supplier on different dates. (e.g. shipment received is 5 boxes: 1 box manufactured 9/2/2006, 3 manufactured 8/29/2006, 1 manufactured 9/6/06.

This can cause a real headache when we find problems with material. Has anyone else experienced this and found a way around this problem???



Do we still ponder over FIFO, if the systems have been well graduated to JIT (Just in Time) ?

Priyavrat Thareja
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