In eCommerce order fulfilment, warehouse receiving is the crucial first step.
Picture a bustling warehouse. The delivery trucks roll in, and a dedicated team springs into action. They unload the inventory, inspect every item, and find its perfect shelf spot.
This seemingly mundane process of warehouse receiving is the backbone of retail supply chain.
A well-established warehouse receiving process is not just a checkbox on the to-do list. It sets the tone for the entire journey—from goods arriving at the warehouse to reaching the customer's doorstep.
Warehouse receiving procedures drive fulfilment excellence through accuracy and speed. It's the foundation on which businesses build their reputation, create exceptional customer experiences, and stand out in a fiercely competitive market.
In this article, we will walk you through the basics of warehouse receiving, common challenges faced, best practices and its benefits, and how PACK & SEND can assist you in optimising your warehouse receiving. Let's dive in!
What Is the Warehouse Receiving?
Warehouse receiving is the process of receiving goods in a warehouse from suppliers. It involves confirming goods' quantities and conditions, and storing them within the warehouse.
Receiving procedures in a warehouse is fundamental to your eCommerce order fulfilment process. When you order new inventory, it gets shipped to your warehouse or a 3PL.
Upon arrival, the products are then received at the receiving dock. This is where the actual warehouse receiving process begins. Once your team offloads the items, they will organise them for efficient storage and easy access during order fulfilment.
What Is the Basic Warehouse Receiving Process?
A typical warehouse receiving process consists of the following steps—
1. Inventory Documentation
Before you eagerly await your precious cargo, you must complete the pre-receiving tasks. Think of it as the behind-the-scenes preparations. It ensures your warehouse is all set to receive the incoming inventory.
So, what exactly are these pre-receiving tasks?
Well, pre-receiving involves documentation that informs suppliers and shippers about your receiving requirements.
Here, you'll provide key details such as:
The number of items in each container
Acceptable package sizes and weights
The number of packages per pallet and even—
The item counts in each carton
If you're entrusting your logistics to a 3PL (we all need a little help sometimes!), check their pre-receiving requirements. Each 3PL has its own approach to warehouse receiving. So be sure to follow their pre-receiving guidelines carefully.
In most cases, the Warehouse Receiving Order (WRO) label mentions essential details. It features a barcode that can be scanned and seamlessly integrated with Warehouse Management Software (WMS). It enables easy access to crucial data, ensuring accurate record-keeping and proper storage.
2. Receiving and Unloading Stock
When the shipment arrives, the warehouse receiver meets the shipper at the loading dock and unloads the goods. The staff also addresses any concerns or queries about the shipment, such as damage.
For heavier loads, the team uses forklifts and pallet jacks to transport it to the designated warehouse receiving area.
Warehouse receiving staff must be well-versed to prevent accepting incorrect shipments. Inaccuracies in counting or unreported damages can lead to paying for undelivered goods. It affects the bottom line, leading to potential financial losses. Attention to detail ensures the correct inventory enters the warehouse, minimising fulfilment disruptions.
3. Counting and Inspection of Inventory
During unloading, the warehouse staff inspects each item for potential shipping damage. Any damaged products are promptly set aside and returned for replacements.
Thorough checks verify quantity, seals, SKUs, and the overall condition of the cargo. This step ensures that what's inside the boxes precisely matches what was listed on the WRO. It prevents faulty items from reaching customers, ensuring a seamless shopping experience.
For faster and error-free counting, you can integrate WMS with barcode scanners. Alternatively, businesses can also entrust these tasks to a reliable 3PL.
Recording these details in the Quality Assurance module of the warehouse shipping and receiving software helps you identify patterns. This proactive approach minimises future errors, ensuring high standards of quality and accuracy.
After unloading and thorough inspection, the warehouse receiving area proceeds with the next step of order fulfilment.
4. Organising and Storing New Inventory
Inventory storage methods vary based on the business, warehouse type, and item quantity and size.
For those partnered with a 3PL for contract warehousing services, worry not. Their skilled fulfilment staff will handle your inventory storage, reducing carrying costs.
But, if you own or lease a warehouse, the responsibility of handling storage falls on your staff.
The person in charge acknowledges the received cargo and assigns inventory numbers to each product. They categorise the items based on size, category, and other parameters before storing in designated spots. The staff also updates the WMS with inventory information, damaged products, and storage locations.
What Are the Problems with Warehouse Receiving?
A typical receiving process in warehouse management encounters common warehouse receiving issues —
Insufficient or Incorrect Documentation
This leads to a lack of transparency in tracking your goods. It makes locating items when needed challenging, causing delays and missed business opportunities.
Lack of Standardisation
Without clear warehouse receiving guidelines, tracking product progress during warehouse receiving becomes challenging. It creates uncertainty and reduces visibility.
Absence of a Robust Communication Channel
Effective communication between the warehouse team, purchase department, and suppliers is vital for a seamless warehouse receiving process. Without effective communication, customer complaints may be delayed, impacting efficiency and satisfaction.
Lack of Resources
Insufficient staffing leads to delays and slows business growth, affecting customer demands.
Limited technology resources lead to reliance on manual and time-consuming processes. They are prone to errors, hindering the warehouse receiving optimisation.
Suboptimal Space Utilisation
Unorganised inventory due to limited space causes inventory mix-ups and difficulty finding items.
The repercussions of these issues are significant, wasting valuable time and resources. Which, in turn, slows down order fulfilment and disappoints customers.
To overcome these challenges, embracing streamlined and efficient warehouse receiving processes becomes imperative.
Here are powerful best practices for warehouse receiving, whether you manage your warehouse or partner with a dynamic 3PL service provider like PACK & SEND.
How Do You Optimise Receiving Activities in a Warehouse?
1. Leverage Automation
An inventory management system, for instance, provides real-time inventory counts. It also enables automatic reorder points for efficient inventory forecasting. Instant updates post warehouse receiving offer complete stock level visibility for eCommerce businesses.
2. Use Well-Defined Labelling Structure for Received Goods
Modern technologies empower warehouse operators to update stock information instantly upon unloading. Barcoding, RFID tags, and automated pallet management, are among those.
Detailed inventory information also reveals supplier performance, including lead times, reliability, and quality.
Using these technologies for a well-defined labelling structure in warehouse receiving is essential. It enables swift stock updates upon goods' arrival. Yet, proper personnel training is a must to maximise the benefits of these systems.
3. Inspect the Inventory at the Beginning of the Warehouse Receiving
Inspecting incoming products at the beginning of the receiving process is crucial. It ensures inventory integrity and reveals potential issues with vendors, shippers, and handlers.
With careful inspection, you can swiftly address problems, from packaging issues to shipping delays. By allocating sufficient time and workforce to this, you set the stage for a smooth and efficient receiving process, safeguarding the integrity of your supply chain.
4. Analyse Data for the Right Matrix
Gathering data at every step of warehouse receiving is just the beginning. The true power lies in analysing this data to unveil trends and root causes.
Equipped with built-in analytics, warehouse systems offer invaluable insights into critical metrics. These metrics drive data-driven decisions, optimising warehouse receiving operations.
Some key metrics to monitor are:
Dock to stock cycle time
Supplier shipping errors
Inventory distribution across locations
Putaway items per hour
Average storage cost per unit
Truck turnaround times at the dock
5. Double-check Your Paperwork
Ensure accurate incoming inventory by having the right documentation in place. Use a digital system with sequential labelling for easy verification in warehouse receiving.
10 Benefits of a Robust Warehouse Receiving Process
1. Improved inventory accuracy
2. Reduced order processing times
3. Increased efficiency and productivity
4. Lower risk of errors and delays
5. Fewer overstocking and understocking
6. Better inventory storage and warehouse organisation
7. Reduced costs of labour and processing orders
8. Reduced product returns due to inaccurate shipments
9. Enhanced customer experience
10. Better supplier relationships
How Does PACK & SEND Help Businesses Perfect Their Warehouse Receiving?
When your business outgrows its storage capacity and needs efficient shipping, PACK & SEND, the leading 3PL, has got you covered.
At PACK & SEND, we excel in providing eCommerce businesses with top-notch warehouse receiving and storage logistics services. We handle everything from receiving and storing bulk orders to dispatching them on demand.
Efficient Warehouse Management
Maintaining flawless shipping and warehouse receiving operations is a challenge. But when executed well, it guarantees product availability and customer satisfaction. Your brand's consistency and reputation are at stake. Which is why we prioritise efficient warehouse management.
Trust our seasoned professionals to handle delicate and awkwardly sized goods with care. We offer specialised packing, storage, and delivery management solutions for valuable or restricted items.
Quality Assurance at Every Step
Our experienced logistics specialists inspect products upon arrival for accurate orders and quantities. Throughout the process, our end-to-end supply chain management expertise guarantees efficiency and reliability.
International Shipping Made Easy
Forget the hassle of dealing with multiple companies for international shipping. At PACK & SEND, we streamline the process for you. Our extensive network of air and sea freight ensures seamless pick-up and delivery. We also handle customs clearance and documentation, making international deliveries a breeze.
Our logistics services are fully customisable to fit your business perfectly. So that you can expand your storage space and customer reach effortlessly.
Empower your business growth with PACK & SEND's cutting-edge logistics. Get a quote or call 1300 668 000 or visit your nearest PACK & SEND Service Centre today!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the main functions of warehouse receiving?
Warehouse receiving plays a crucial role in the supply chain process. Its main functions involve—
Receiving goods from suppliers.
Inspecting and verifying received items.
Documenting received goods.
Labelling and identifying items.
Updating inventory records.
Allocating storage for items.
Communicating any issues or discrepancies.
Analysing data for improvement.
How can I reduce the risk of damaged goods during the warehouse receiving process?
To minimise the risk of damaged goods, ensure your warehouse staff is well-trained in proper handling techniques. Additionally, invest in quality packing materials.
How does an efficient warehouse receiving process impact customer satisfaction?
An efficient receiving process leads to faster order fulfilment and accurate deliveries. This, in turn, enhances customer satisfaction. Customers receive their orders on time and in good condition, leading to a positive impression of your business.
Can PACK & SEND help to optimise the warehouse receiving for my business?
Absolutely! PACK & SEND specialises in comprehensive logistics solutions, including warehouse receiving processes. Their expertise and technology can streamline your operations and improve overall efficiency.
Image source: Tranzact