“Putaway” in warehouse operations refers to the process of organizing the storage of received goods in assigned locations within the facility. Putaway involves the movement of goods from the receiving area to a storage location, typically using material handling equipment such as pallet jacks, forklifts, or mobile warehouse robots.

Establishing an efficient putaway process for your warehouse operations is essential to simplify item storage, reduce the risk of lost or misplaced inventory, keep areas clean and organized, and optimize inventory access and replenishment for a continuous order fulfillment workflow.

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Putaway strategies are based on factors such as the size, weight, and frequency of use of the goods, as well as the layout and design of the warehouse. An efficient putaway strategy makes it possible to organize storage to maximize the efficient retrieval for order picking, packing, and shipping.

Common putaway strategies include:

  • First in, first out (FIFO): The storage of goods in the order they are received, in which the oldest goods are stored in the most accessible location for first use.
  • Last in, first out (LIFO): The storage of goods in the reverse order of receipt, in which the most recently received goods are stored in the most accessible location.
  • Zone picking: This strategy involves dividing the warehouse into zones, each dedicated to a particular type or category of goods.
  • Slotting: The storage of goods to assigned locations based on specific types or categories of goods, high-velocity or low-velocity product flow, peak season fulfillment needs, and more.

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Fixed and Dynamic Locations

Warehouses use fixed or dynamic putaway locations, depending on factors like storage space size, number of products or SKUs, seasonality of product demand, number of employees available, and more.

In general, most businesses use either fixed or dynamic locations. Still, under the right conditions, both location management strategies can be deployed to maximize storage efficiency and accelerate order fulfillment pick, pack, and ship throughput.

Fixed locations represent locations with permanent racking or other equipment for specific items. One of the benefits of fixed locations is that each product has a permanent location that makes it easier for workers to remember product locations, accelerating the putaway process.

Dynamic locations make it possible to store items in the first available, temporary location. This technique eliminates the need to pre-plan and invest in permanent equipment and locations for every product. This approach also enables warehouse operations to change the configuration of inventory storage to maximize the efficient use of the facility as fulfillment requirements change.

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To efficiently manage dynamic locations, it is necessary to have a warehouse management system (WMS) that works in real time so that warehouse staff can keep track of where each item has been placed.


An effective putaway plan is essential for warehouse efficiency to ensure that the movement of goods is optimized for continual workflow, higher order fulfillment throughput, and the elimination of bottlenecks in the pick, pack, and ship process. It also helps reduce storage and handling costs, reduce warehouse labor costs, and prevent errors and damage to goods.

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