Booking goods into the warehouse is arguably the most important process in distribution warehousing.
Rubbish in, rubbish out is the polite version of a well known phrase, which can often relate to software systems as well as distribution warehousing!
Goods In Checklist
Below are 4 key points to give you the best possible chance of completing goods in correctly with the maximum benefit to the wider business.
1. Pre-advice, purchase order or advanced shipment notification (ASN)
Receipting stock in against expected SKUs and quantities is the first step to warehouse success for many businesses.
Information used by the warehouse at receiving stage is typically a purchase order, a pre-advice (perhaps multiple purchase orders) or an advanced shipment notification direct from supplier. ASN’s often outlining the exact configuration of the shipment as well as SKU and quantity e.g. 24 pallets in total, 14 pallets of SKU1 and 10 pallets of SKU2.
Relying solely on delivery paperwork from a driver will not uncover all descrepancies between the ordered quantity from supplier and the delivered quantity which could have a negative impact on sales orders promised to onward clients.
Relying solely on delivery paperwork from a driver will not uncover all descrepancies
A pre-advice for the warehouse is not always available. In this instance, a quality warehouse operation will need systems to identify a blind receipt and handle accordingly. This could include automatic alerts to purchasing or an account manager to notify them of unexpected stock to allow them to investigate as quickly as possible.
2. Quality checking and handling
Once stock has been identified, it must be checked to ensure it is intact and of good quality without damage.
Goods being occasionally damaged in transit is often an unavoidable, albeit frustrating, character of complex worldwide supply chains. If you find goods are damaged, being able to photograph these items, attached them to the goods in record and then share these images with customers, suppliers and management will assist in communication and issue resolution. A supplier portal into your system displaying images may be enough for them to grant a refund or credit without a long winded process wasting time and money.
Many warehouses do not have the available space to hold stock on the floor until it has been thoroughly checked. When handling certain products, often for human consumption, a small batch of product may need to be sampled before it passes a QA process. Look for software systems which provide the option to move stock/ pallets while under QA but still offer a full audit trail. This will allow the goods in area to be cleared as quickly as possible ready for the next delivery.
photograph damaged items and attached them to the goods in record
A quality assurance and testing process can be very different per product and also by supplier. Long standing, quality suppliers may be trusted enough to book goods in directly with minimal inspection whereas new suppliers may need greater controls e.g. 50% of all goods to be checked. It will be difficult for the warehouse team to remember all processes without support so look for a system which allows bespoke QA rules by product and supplier to help support this process.
3. Well supported putaway logic
Larger warehouses will generally see big benefits from automated, system driven putaway rules. These rules could be based on pallet/ item size, location size and weight as a minimum. System driven logic will hugely support the warehouse team by reducing the travel time spent looking for empty space.
Smaller sites may prefer the option of manually selected locations even if the system is recommending a location. When space is not a luxury, an innovative use of space may be needed for a varying product range so system rules may need to be broken.
low cost touch screen devices are providing very viable alternatives
The key to either manual location selection or 100% system driven is real time information and an historic audit. Providing the warehouse operative is prompted to record the location at the point of putaway, both options can work very well. Recording of stock locations are often done with the scan of a barcode but increasingly, low cost touch screen devices are providing very viable alternatives alongside check digit verification.
4. EDI with 3rd party systems
Booking goods in correctly is the first step to fulfilling an outbound order and the first step to getting paid for service driven businesses such as 3PL warehousing operations.
Once goods have been booked in and putaway, people need to be made aware! There are a number of ways different business functions may use this information including:
- Sales can start selling
- Purchasing can stop ordering
- Finance can start paying supplier invoices
- 3PL storage operations can start charging
All of these examples require information to be transferred into different departments, usually away from the warehouse floor itself.
The process of booking stock in is best concluded by automatically sending the appropriate information to a receiving party or 3rd party system in real-time. A finance system such as Sage, Netsuite, SAP or Great Plains will take this information to avoid any manual entry which could open the process up to human error at the final process. If the physical stock location or quantity is recorded incorrectly, the whole process collapses.
In some cases, an automated email may be better suited to inform someone that stock has been received. In this case of the 3PL warehousing industry, this is often a huge advantage when providing effective customer service to clients.
Speak to one of our team to understand how ClarusWMS’ simple cloud subscription platform can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service, better results and efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution and manufacturing.