Identification and Traceability - Labeling spaces in warehouse


Angie Bowen

I came across this site looking for information while trying to become 9001:2000 registered and have learned a lot from this site. So far we have passed our pre-assessment with flying colors and will have our final audit in February. I have a question I was hoping to get some help with from this group.

Currently we are trying to put labels on the warehouse racks listing all of the raw ingredients, packaging and finished product items in our warehouse, but it is turning out to be a big hassle. It doesn't help that our warehouse happens to be on the small size. We do not have enough room in the warehouse to designate a space for each item, particularly for finished products. About 95% of our business is private label. I know we need to have a designated area for Quarantined product and for QC Hold area for product waiting for test results before being released, which we do have. My question is, do we have to have each item in our warehouse labeled on the rack it is on, or can we just designate it the item is a raw ingredient, packaging, or finished product? For the most part, most of this stuff is already labeled on the packaging as to what it is. Since our raw ingredients tend to stay about the same throughout the year then the other two categories, we could label those racks a little easier then the racks holding the finished product items if we had to. Any advice or help would be great and appreciated!


Trusted Information Resource

Hi Angie and welcome to the Cove. You have definietly found the best source of information on the Web.

If I understand you correctly, all items on your racks are individually labeled, and you want to know if the racks themselves need to be labeled.

Based on the information you stated, I would say no you do not, as long as you have the "Hold" areas clearly identified.

I have a similiar situation, and the only rack that is marked is my "non-conforming material" rack. No other racks are labled, but each skid contains an idetification tag.

Hope this helps.


Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
Welcome Angie!

A couple comments FWIW: While this is the most common method, IMO you do not need to have a specific separate area for "quarantined product" and for "product waiting for test results". As long as each item is clearly identifiable by "suitble means", and it works for you, you don't necessarily need a separate area for these items. Some places use a red-yellow-green" tag system i.e. red "nonconforming" tags, yellow "waiting for test" tags, and green "approved material" tags.

Additionally, IMO each item should be identified as to specifically what it is, not just "raw ingredient" but rather "flour", "baking soda", "sugar", and "salt" if you were a bakery, for example.

If you can clearly show specifically what the item is (flour or sugar, for example) and what its status is (approved, waiting for test, etc.) you are good to go. How you do this is up to you so long as it works and everyone understands it. Labelling the shelving only is okay if it works but personally I prefer every container to have a tag as an extra measure of security, particularly for after the container is moved (i.e. on its way to be used in production). This need not be anything more than a pre-printed or handwritten tag.

Hope this makes sense - if not write back and let us know.

Angie Bowen


Currently, we are using magnetic labels on the racks to identify items. We are running into a problem where we are having to move these labels around several times a week due to lack of space. We went to labeling the racks rather then the pallets for several reasons. We couldn't figure out a good way to attach it to the item, especially if it is a raw ingredient and there is one bag left on a pallet which used to have 35 bags. We are a small company and have 4-5 people working in the finished goods/warehouse areas, so they know what everything is. We also had problems trying to staple tags into the pallets themselves. Besides the quarantine area and QC Hold areas being identified, I was wondering if we could get away with either not labeling anything else, or just labeling the racks with the 3 types of items in the warehouse, being raw ingredients, packaging and finished product. Hopefully this clears things up a little bit.


Angie :)

Angie Bowen


Can you help me out - what does FWIW and IMO mean? :confused:

Your point about knowing what the item is and it's status makes sense.

Thanks for your impute! :bigwave:



Change Agent and Data Storyteller
Super Moderator
In our storage areas for raw materials, we have items clearly labelled for identification purposes. We also have a designated quarantine area for nonconforming raw material.

In our warehouse (for finished goods), we have another quarantine area where product, pending disposition, is sent.

To identify products in the warehouse, they are tagged appropriately, but we also have a warehouse map (updated as necesary by our Warehouse Superintendent). This map, available online to all warehouse personnel, clearly indicates the location of all product. When trucks drive up with a request for a certain product, our warehouse personnel can easily locate it via the warehouse map.

FYI, the map is not a "map"'s actually an Excel file listing all product in the warehouse and its grid location (e.g. 4B3...4th bay, row b, column 3)

We do have a literal map for some of our raw materials that are piled outside....the map clearly shows what product is located where so that delivery trucks can easily locate their destination within our yard.

There are several options available to you, Angie. My advice is do what works for you....not to create any undue workload on your warehouse personnel. We used magnetic labels, too, once upon a time...a wonderful idea at first. But the inconvenience of moving them around or replacing when they fell off just became more of a "makes work" project than a time-saving one. :bonk:

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
Sorry to be confusing, Angie. Some of us use acronyms to save wear and tear on the keyboard. :vfunny: Here are a few of the popular ones...
FWIW = for what its worth
IMO = in my opinion
IMHO = in my humble opinion
BTW - by the way

Hope to see you as a regular -- asking and answering.


Trusted Information Resource
small company issues


I completely understand the issues involved with a small company. I work for a sheet metal fabricator with about 50 employees total. You need a simple yet effective system.

So, you already know this is not an issue with your auditor, becuase your pre-assesment would have identified this as an area for improvement. Sounds like just labeling the racks might be the way to go for you.

Have a good one!


M Greenaway

Speaking from a 'larger' organisations point of view we identify our product in a number of ways, which kind of has a hierachy of its own. We have a designated 'raw material' area, identified as such, we also have a 'finished goods' area and a 'quarantine' area. These general descriptions direct you to the general area to find what you are looking for. Then every shelf has a unique identity, which is recorded on a database, and every product or material is labelled. A database is used to book stuff into and out of a stores area, showing location and product identity.

Angie Bowen

If you can clearly show specifically what the item is (flour or sugar, for example) and what its status is (approved, waiting for test, etc.) you are good to go.

Does this mean if the bag containing flour already has "flour" printed on the packaging, and the bag of anhydrous sugar already says "anhydrous sugar" on the bag, do we need to further identify what the product is, or will this work?
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