Did you know most warehouse inventory errors start in receiving? If you make a mistake in the goods-in processes, it can have a 10-fold effect on the rest of the warehouse process.
Improving the efficiency of your warehouse operations is one of the best ways to boost your profits and build your business, and once you do that the rest of your job will be much easier. The number one piece of advice experts have when it comes to warehouse optimisation is that optimising the goods-in processes are the first most important steps to optimising the warehouse.
Many warehouse layouts diminish the size and importance of receiving at a great detriment to their entire operation. Think of all the activities receiving does. They add labels, count the items and reconcile them with the manufacturer’s packing list. They break down pallets. They accommodate back orders, they report manufacturers shipping errors.
All this activity needs to be supported and optimised. By focusing on reducing receiving errors and inefficiencies you will improve the flow of your entire warehouse.
Some of the most common problems businesses have in Goods-In Processes include:
- Receiving docks are backed up, leaving trucks idling outside waiting for an open bay
- Pallets are moved or put away prematurely by forklift operators creating inventory gaps
- Workers expend extra hours walking back and forth across the warehouse finding and matching up labels to incoming product.
- Docks are under-utilised due to the slow process of putting away incoming product (i.e. they could be freed up for shipping, etc.).
Most distribution professionals understand that it is not enough to know how their company performs year over year; they must also continue to improve their performance in order to stay ahead of their competition. Today’s companies are in an environment where their customers continue to demand more – instant availability, error free service, and customised products – all at a lower cost. That is why many professionals look to adopt best practices via the latest WMS as a way to drive improvement.
Don’t forget about replenishment of your stock
Warehouse receiving processes must all be connected to an accurate replenishment process that ensures re-order of items at least 2 to 4 weeks in advance of being needed.
An efficient warehouse system will eliminate miscounts and warehousing of defective items that disrupt the ability to keep a sufficient amount of suitable materials on hand. In this way, your warehouse receiving system works hand-in-hand with your purchasing department to increase the efficient operation of your business.
Ensuring the best warehouse receiving process requires both regular examination of operations to find problem areas, as well as ongoing effort to implement logistics solutions that increase data collection and improve physical systems.
A faster and more accurate method to managing Goods-in processes can be achieved by using a fit for purpose e-commerce WMS, allowing goods to be scanned in and automatically reconciled against a PO. Barcode scanning eliminates the margin for human error and ensures that all delivered items are correctly recorded. The correct stock figures will be listed online, meaning fewer oversells or missed sales opportunities.
Five Key Principles to Keep in Mind
1. Proactive Activity
The general idea in receiving is that all of the resources to accomplish this they need to be scheduled via a WMS and processes so it’s a proactive activity it’s not something that is reactive.
2. Minimal Flow Path
There’re all kinds of different flow paths that receipts can take. It’s key to make sure that for each product coming from each type of supplier you have chosen the minimum cost flow path.
3. Minimise delay
It’s crucial to do all that you can to put away immediately so there’s no delay between the receiving and the putaway process. It’s important to make sure that you chose the optimal location for the put away. It’s useful to combine put away and retrieval activity to maximise the labour utilisation the equipment utilisation.
4. Quality Control
Maintain a quality control group in the warehouse to monitor put away accuracy – just like they would be monitoring picking accuracy, shipping accuracy, and inventory accuracy. This way mistakes are caught early in the process instead of late in the process when it’s difficult to do something about it. Another opportunity for quality control is to monitor the damage rate and put away. Oftentimes, as a result of the excess handling or sorting that may be required a good portion of the damage may occur in the putaway process.
5. The Ability to Assign Receiving Docks
Allowing the WMS system to drive a best practice warehouse process during receiving & putaway will result in big time and money saving benefits for most operations.
If you utilise a concept called pre-receiving (assigning a product of location in transit) then you will know where exactly the inbound pallets will be located in your warehouse. Take the time to assign each inbound truck to the dock door that minimises the processing time for that inbound truck. That little simple step may be worth an increase of receiving productivity of fifty percent.
Many warehouse layouts diminish the size and importance of their goods-in processes at a great detriment to their entire operation. Take into consideration all the activities receiving does. They add labels, count the items and reconcile them with the manufacturer’s packing list. They break down pallets. They accommodate back orders, they report manufacturers shipping errors. All this activity needs to be supported and optimised. By focusing on reducing receiving errors and inefficiencies in conjunction with your WMS, you will improve the flow of your entire warehouse.
When looking for a warehouse management system provider, look for one who understands best practice warehouse processes for goods in processes for receiving and putaways. Strong experience of industry specific best practice is also vital.
Having to educate a software provider on your industry is time consuming and you are unlikely to benefit from a collective customer base all funding innovation into a single platform.
Clarus WMS will outline the fundamentals of a goods in best practice warehouse process that will ensure that stock is received properly into the warehouse; if it doesn’t come in correctly you don’t have much hope of maintaining stock integrity going forward!
Want to do something a little different with your goods-in processes? That’s not a problem. Using the workflow manager you can customise the process to suit you and your customer’s needs.
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly 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, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.