A business, whether it's a manufacturing or a trading concern, either a big corporation or a small and medium-sized firm (or SMEs) if dealing in physical goods and not in services, then for them there is always a need to manage their inventories and warehouses at their best no matter their scale of operation to fulfill their customer's orders fast and in an error-free manner.
That's one of their main objectives or set of desired results to know if they are managing their operations in the best way possible or not.
And some of you may be thinking that managing and storing inventory is somewhat an easy task from other ongoing jobs in an organization. But to tell you all that you are thinking wrong it's one of the most essential and challenging tasks to manage.
It starts with Ordering the products from the supplier, then getting them delivered to a Warehouse. Further, it moves to properly store them in the store's racks and maintain the records and data about them. Also, communicating the same to concerned departments so that the top management or owners can make data-based best decisions for the organization. And if any of these processes ends up getting managed with an error, it can harm the business.
So that is a reason that the whole inventory and warehouse management process is very crucial for any business. And that's why in this article, we will talk about a particular operation of Warehouse management which is the Warehouse Receiving process. What happens when you streamline this procedure, what all steps it involves, and how it can benefit your organization.
Read more about - What is Warehouse Management? - Ultimate Guide for SMEs
What is the Warehouse Receiving process?
The practice of replacing stocked inventory in a warehouse facility is known as Warehouse Receiving. It is the first stage in delivering an order to a consumer.
The following are the steps involved in the receiving process -
- Product delivery.
- Unloading goods from the delivery trunk.
- Storage of inventory.
As a business, you must have a fast and efficient receiving procedure to fulfill orders. An efficient warehouse receiving process ensures the success of all other warehouse operations.
The Warehouse Receiving Process is also called the Lynchpin Process. Because it is in front of all other processes, and if it is not working at peak efficiency, it hurts all downstream processes. Blocking the dock, mislabeling putaway products, or paying trucks for an idle time while waiting for a bay area to open.
Steps involved in the Warehouse Receiving Process?
Warehouse receiving is more than just buying inventory and having it delivered to your warehouse. It entails numerous essential stages that must be followed precisely to ensure the correct items and amounts are supplied and stored. Here's an overview of a typical warehouse reception procedure.
Before ordering and delivering inventory, a business owner must conduct pre-receiving activities before shipping inventory to a warehouse.
To ensure that the warehouse receiving process runs well, you must set and enforce receiving rules for suppliers or carriers. The goal is for them to offer the goods in a swift and easy-to-process manner.
If feasible, have the warehouse manager discuss packaging requirements with suppliers in this way -
- Label position.
- Label Information.
- Palletized or lose cargo.
- Number of packages per pallet.
- Items per carton.
- Acceptable package size & weight.
In the case of shippers or customers who do not have control over packaging, compel them to provide clear, precise information and notify the warehouse of new incoming shipments. Freight forwarders frequently receive merchandise that does not clearly specify who the consignee or eventual recipient is.
Carriers, on the other hand, frequently fail to organize cargo according to the sequence of the delivery route, resulting in freight having to be unloaded to reach the products actually being delivered at a place. Another issue is that drivers do not have all the necessary papers when they arrive at the receiving location.
To reduce these concerns, educate all carriers that proper documentation must be on hand upon arrival and cargo must be organized in accordance with the delivery route. And for this, you can utilize and fill out a Warehouse Receiving Order (WRO) label, which you can affix to each shipment with the barcode visible. This makes it simple to scan the cargo using a warehouse management system (WMS) to retrieve data on the order and ensure that the receiving inventory is accurate and kept correctly.
2. Receiving and Unloading Commodities.
Once the pre-receiving steps are done and the products have arrived at their destination, warehouse receiving staff will meet the shipper at a loading dock and unload the required cargo. Receiving personnel should be on hand to address any queries or concerns about the package with the delivery driver.
Having complete inventory details available ahead of time aids in improving the receiving process. Warehouse operators can efficiently distribute people and heavy machines like pallet jacks and forklifts based on the size and volume of the incoming cargo. Data and advanced analytics are used by Digital Warehouse software to determine the appropriate allocation of employees and equipment required to shorten the dock-to-stock cycle.
3. Verification of Incoming products.
The warehouse crew inspects the contents of each delivery, including the quantity, the integrity of seals, the product codes, SKUs, and the overall condition of the cargo, to ensure that what's in the boxes matches what's on the WRO and is scheduled to arrive.
This is critical for preventing defective items from reaching the client. It is also critical to record details from the inspection process in the warehouse software to spot patterns and prevent or eliminate future failures.
4. Putaway or Storing Inventory.
The final phase in the warehouse receiving process is sorting and storing new inventory in the warehouse after all inventory has been unloaded and examined.
This phase varies for each firm, based on the type of warehouse and the quantity and size of their merchandise.
Inventory can be stored on a pallet, a shelf, or a bin, depending on the size and number of the products. Businesses are responsible for handling storage based on their fulfillment process if they own or lease a warehouse. Your logistics team will be responsible for completing all documentation and verification, as well as entering the information for the received inventory into the WMS or manually tracking it.
Read more about - The Ultimate Guide to Stores & Inventory Management
Common warehouse receiving issues encountered by businesses.
On a daily basis, a typical warehouse faces several issues. Some examples are:
- Long wait times for inbound trucks to unload due to dock congestion.
- Forklift operators loading pallets prematurely, causing inventory gaps.
- Disorganized storage leads to inefficient space consumption.
- Inefficient associate staffing due to a lack of system-driven work.
- The workforce's lack of understanding of work processes.
- Inadequate inventory tracking leads to misplaced and lost inventory.
These challenges not only waste time and resources in the warehouse but also hold down the order fulfillment cycle, resulting in lower customer satisfaction.
Most of these concerns can be resolved by enforcing some adjustments in the receiving process to make it more streamlined and efficient. Let's look at how smart warehouse systems can help optimize receiving operations even more.
How to streamline your Warehouse Receiving process?
Improving the efficiency of a warehouse's receiving operation minimizes the raw material to finished goods conversion cycles for manufacturing enterprises. It has the potential to reduce order lead times for SMEs and retail businesses.
Here are some methods for improving and eliminating errors in goods receiving processes:
1. Implement a modern Warehouse Management System.
There are numerous stages involved in the product reception process that might be time-consuming and labor-intensive to complete. Manually tracking and documenting processes like inventory movement, personnel and equipment availability, and product specifications render them prone to inaccuracy.
Modern warehouse management software systems may assist firms in automating and optimizing these routine activities, as well as reducing avoidable errors. Implementing a robust warehouse system, such as TranZact, can assist in more efficient planning of inbound inventory transportation to avoid overflow and surplus inventory. On the other hand, it can anticipate potential stockouts and prompt replenishment orders.
2. Track right inventory metrics.
Tracking inventory and logistics costs will be considerably easier with a robust warehouse receiving process, especially if you store material in numerous warehouses or fulfillment centers. You can monitor crucial distribution data from one central dashboard if you use technology to handle all inventory.
You can, for example, use TranZact's built-in BI dashboarding analytics and reporting tool to keep track of:
- The average cost of storage per unit
- Total number of stores in use today
- How much stock is kept at each location?
Business owners can gain a competitive advantage by monitoring these variables and converting them into significant change.
3. Use a well-defined labeling structure.
The use of a well-defined labeling structure that integrates modern technology such as barcoding, RFID tags, and automated pallet management systems allows warehouse employees to rapidly update stock information into the system as soon as they unload.
Having precise inventory information gives you additional control as well as insights into the supplier's performance in terms of lead times, reliability, and quality.
4. Conduct Inspections.
A few moments of caution way in advance saves time and money in the long run by avoiding the inconvenience and expense of returning damaged, missing, or erroneous goods after it's too late. Inventory audits, such as physical counts and cutoff analyses, are conducted regularly to detect inventory imbalances before they become too serious, and they will guide your next round of warehouse receiving.
5. Double-check all of your paperwork.
Although no one likes paperwork, double-checking that incoming inventory matches your purchasing order will save you the headache of fixing errors.
Implementing a digital system for all receiving and shipping documents, with a numbering system for each type of document and different forms labeled in sequential order, also makes it easier for staff to properly verify paperwork and locate missing items.
With TranZact, you will always have access to the inventory information you require, ensuring that everything is correctly accounted for and stored. You'll be able to use this information to ensure that what's provided to our fulfillment facilities is correct, so we can store and update inventory levels properly.