Frequently heard: stacks of garments on the shelf, but will the bottom one ever emerge?

Your employees must have a clean set of garments available at all times. In order to achieve this, the choice is often made to buy or rent a lot of garments, so that no one misses out. While this approach is usually effective, it is certainly not efficient.

Apart from the fact that it takes a very high contribution to achieve this, it often means that in practice the same sets of garments rotate over and over again, while the bottom of the pile remains untouched. And this is undesirable for several reasons. 

To begin with, garments are often written off by age. It is not uncommon for garments to be replaced after X amount of time, even though they have hardly been worn. Another – in some cases even more important – reason is hygiene. Garments that have been stored for too long lose their hygienic properties.

FIFO garment distribution = better rotation = better hygiene

The solution to both problems is garment distribution via the First-in-First-out (FIFO) principle. When garments are provided according to this principle, the set that has been in stock the longest is always provided. 

In the case of non-automated distribution of garments, this means that garments that are new must be placed on the bottom. In doing so, it is up to the users to always take the top one from the pile. In practice, things often go differently. It is much easier and saves a lot of time to just put the new garments on top. And then there is the ‘shopping’ behaviour of users, because that one set is often much more comfortable (many times even because it has been worn more often).  

FIFO garment distribution in practice

Ok, FIFO garment distribution certainly has its advantages. But how does this work in practice? In terms of depositing, agreements with the service provider and/or the in-house linen service to stock strictly according to FIFO standards are of course important, with a random or periodic check as an additional weapon. 

The users, on the other hand, are given clear instructions on how to use the garments package. That is, always take (only) the top one of the pile and no personal stockpiling. That is all you can do as an employer, at least without registration.

Garment management software

When the garments are tagged with an RFID chip, registration moments are possible at various stages of the garment process. All these registration moments are then saved in the garment management software, so that the status of each item can be viewed at any time. With this information, it is possible to detect garments that have been left lying around for too long, or to determine at wearer level whether sufficient changes are being made.

One step further, full automation is achieved by means of a garments distribution system. For example, LCT-Textilligence has developed several systems that incorporate FIFO distribution. In FIFO mode, the system then always offers the longest-standing article of the desired size, which means that the lead time of each article in the system is approximately the same. The fact that the user is always offered a single copy eliminates the possibility of ‘shopping around’. There is no longer any reason for this, as the entire garments package is in the same condition. 

Would you like to discover FIFO and other benefits of garment management systems?

Automated garments distribution with the systems of LCT-Textilligence offers you several advantages. For example, FIFO distribution is not only an advantage in terms of hygiene, but also in terms of cost savings, space savings and transparency.

For more information, please get in contact with us. You can also consult our website for information about the possibilities.