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The Role of Carton Flow in Inventory Management


In the demanding world of fulfillment, streamlining your operations and improving throughput are essential for generating strong margins and positive customer feedback. 

Let's break down how carton flow systems help fulfillment leaders do just that. By making better use of space, improving worker efficiency, and improving fulfillment accuracy, these highly efficient systems can significantly impact the success of your fulfillment operation.

What Are Carton Flow Systems?

Carton flow systems are gravity conveyors designed to fit within pallet racking to create FIFO (first-in-first-out) storage. Carton flow systems optimize inventory storage, simplify pick paths, and take advantage of gravity to automatically flow items through your fulfillment process. At its core, a carton flow system is an inventory management solution designed to support faster, more efficient order picking and increased throughput. 

Using Carton Flow in Inventory Management

Carton flow isn't a mere storage solution; it's a valuable tool used to build a strategy for robust inventory management. With carton flow solutions like SpanTrack, businesses can realize unparalleled benefits, like:

1. High-Volume Order Efficiency 

Carton flow shines in scenarios requiring the rapid picking of high-volume, single, or multi-line orders. Carton flow is also an essential asset during peak periods or seasonal surges when your system's efficiency is truly put to the test.

2. Optimized Storage Footprint

By optimizing space utilization, businesses can achieve more SKU storage in less space. This efficiency boost sets the stage for cutting costs by scaling down storage requirements or driving revenue by increasing your throughput and inventory capacity. 

3. Strategic Inventory Sequencing

Carton flow systems prioritize orders in the warehouse. By sequencing products based on SKU or lot number, businesses ensure quick and accurate location of specific inventory items. This creates FIFO stock rotation, streamlining the picking process and ensuring the oldest stock is accessed first.


The Top 5 Benefits of Carton Flow Systems

Carton flow systems are a necessary component in your fulfillment center when it comes to maximizing space utilization and improving efficiency. With benefits like high-volume order efficiency, optimized storage footprint, strategic inventory sequencing, and more, carton flow systems are a valuable asset for businesses looking to streamline their operations and increase throughput. By making the most of available space, promoting safety and ergonomics, reducing labor costs, and ensuring accuracy, these systems are a practical solution for businesses aiming to improve their fulfillment processes.

1. Making the Most of Your Space

Static storage solutions, while great for certain use cases, often leave valuable space in your warehouse unused. Carton flow racks, however, are designed to maximize every available inch of storage shelving, allowing businesses to store more goods in a smaller, more efficient footprint.

2. Mastering FIFO Management

FIFO inventory rotation is important for a range of businesses, but it’s essential for those working with perishable goods. Carton flow systems automatically support FIFO rotation, using gravity to ensure pickers always access the oldest inventory first. 

3. Promoting Safety & Ergonomics 

Carton flow systems aren't just about efficiency; they’re designed with workers in mind. These systems can be customized with a wide range of ergonomic options that ensure optimal product positioning. By keeping goods in the ergonomic “Golden Zone,” carton flow systems can reduce the risk of worker injuries created by repetitive movements and heavy lifting.

4. Saving on Labor Costs

Carton flow systems can lead to reduced labor costs. With gravity doing the heavy lifting, workers can pick and process more items with less strain, effort, and time. This also translates to stronger productivity among your existing workforce, allowing you to scale fulfillment without increasing your payroll.

5. Fewer Errors, Stronger Efficiency

Mistakes in a busy warehouse can lead to missed deliveries, frustrated customers, and unexpected costs. Carton flow systems are perfect for breaking complex fulfillment processes into simple, efficient stages that support both accuracy and productivity. 

Download the Guide to Design Your Own Carton Flow Solution


The Key Roles of Carton Flow in Inventory Management

By optimizing storage and pick paths, carton flow directly supports core inventory management goals like reducing carrying costs, minimizing dead stock, and ensuring stock rotation.

Carton flow systems create highly organized, dense storage that allows businesses to scale back excess inventory. The space savings open up capacity for higher-value products and eliminate the costs of maintaining unused storage areas.

Carton flow also minimizes stagnant products by ensuring all inventory stays in circulation. The constant motion ensures regular counting and assessment of goods, allowing for proactive management of stale or expired items.

Additionally, carton flow guarantees effective stock rotation on a FIFO model. Older inventory is naturally pushed forward and utilized before newer received goods. This prevents build up of old stock and ensures a steady flow of fresh inventory.

Overall, a properly designed carton flow system serves as the backbone of an intelligent inventory management strategy. From maximizing space to enabling process improvements, carton flow's optimization of storage and picking directly enables stronger day-to-day management and control of your diverse inventory.


Streamlining Warehouse Operations with Carton Flow

From maximizing space and ensuring FIFO adherence to boosting warehouse efficiency and reducing labor costs, carton flow systems are a vital link in fulfillment processes around the globe. 

For businesses interested in reducing costs, improving productivity, and driving profits during fulfillment, carton flow systems offer a practical, impactful path toward increased efficiency across fulfillment operations.

UNEX Carton Flow Solutions

SpanTrack isn’t just another carton flow product – it’s a durable, high-quality solution ready to be tailored to your fulfillment needs. By optimizing space utilization, improving worker efficiency, and ensuring accurate inventory management, carton flow systems can make a significant impact on the success of your fulfillment operation. SpanTrack is an efficient solution that can enhance carton speed, stability, and security, while also prioritizing worker safety.


SpanTrack Lane

Designed to drop seamlessly into existing pallet rack, SpanTrack Lane can support a diverse range of carton weights and sizes. With 300% more product contact than flimsy plastic wheel rails and up to 150% faster throughput than picking from pallets, SpanTrack Lane guarantees optimal carton speed, stability, and security, eliminating hang-ups. 

SpanTrack Lane also goes beyond fulfillment success to safeguard the health and wellness of your fulfillment workers. Picker strain, bending, and twisting are reduced thanks to automatic carton replenishment, back-to-front restocking, and ergonomic end treatments that can be customized to specific requirements.

SpanTrack Lane Wheel Bed - Roller Rack

SpanTrack Wheel Bed

SpanTrack Wheel Bed is a made-to-order carton flow bed that enhances storage space and throughput while fitting effortlessly into your existing pallet racking. 

Ideal for products of varying sizes and widths, SpanTrack Wheel Bed stands out for its unmatched flexibility, space optimization, and order-picking enhancements. Built for the hustle and bustle of fulfillment environments, its robust build quality ensures SpanTrack Wheel Bed remains a trusted resource in your warehouse for years to come.

SpanTrack Lane Carton Flow Rollers

Efficient, durable, and dependable, SpanTrack Lane carton flow rollers drop into existing structures to create the ultimate carton flow rack system for manufacturing facilities and order picking operations.

SpanTrack Carton Flow Beds

SpanTrack wheel beds are flexible carton flow beds that drop into existing structures to create the ultimate flow rack system for order picking operations, manufacturing facilities, and more.


Considering Carton Flow for Your Fulfillment Operation?

UNEX can help. By utilizing carton flow solutions from trusted experts such as UNEX, you can dramatically improve fulfillment efficiency, storage utilization, and throughput in your fulfillment center. In today's highly competitive and fast-paced environment, carton flow is essential. Contact us today!

Design Your Own High Performing Carton Flow Systems with Our FREE Guide