Warehouse receiving is a crucial stage in the supply chain management process. If this process is not carried out correctly, it can lead to knock-on effects that affect subsequent warehouse operations. This article provides a detailed outline of the warehouse receiving process, including the necessary steps and best practices to ensure an efficient and accurate process.
What is the Warehouse Receiving Process?
Warehouse receiving is the process of replenishing stocked inventory in the warehouse. It is the first step in delivering an order to a customer. The process involves delivering, unloading, and storing e-commerce inventory in a warehouse or fulfilment centre.
The importance of a well-established warehouse receiving process cannot be overstated. It helps make inventory management and fulfilment run smoother, cheaper, and more efficiently. Some steps should be followed in any strategically sound receiving process.
Before ordering or receiving goods, you should complete pre-receiving tasks to ensure your cargo is delivered correctly and on time. The main element of pre-receiving is proper documentation that should be sent to suppliers and shipment partners that states your packaging requirements. These requirements will include label information, the number of items per container, the number of packages per pallet, the number of items per carton, the required size, and weight.
In most cases, the process involves answering what is known as a Warehouse Receiving Order label (WRO), which will be attached to each stock. The label contains a barcode that can be scanned and integrated with warehouse management software to view data on your purchase and check that you are receiving the correct order.
Receiving and Unloading
The following step in the warehouse receiving procedure is to receive and unload your shipment. When the delivery vehicle arrives at the unloading area, warehouse staff should be prepared to meet the shipment provider to receive the cargo.
Ideally, unloading bays should be packed back-to-front in the reverse order of the delivery schedule so that warehouse operatives can unload inventory immediately without having first to move other cargo. Heavy lifting equipment such as forklifts and pallet jacks may be required depending on the order’s size and volume.
Staff should be well trained in handling and receiving to avoid accepting incorrect shipments. The receiving teams should discuss any issues, concerns, or discrepancies with the shipment provider before signing off on the delivery notice.
Once the stock has been received, the cargo should be unloaded and counted to ensure the correct quantity was shipped. Any errors or inaccuracies should be communicated to the shipping provider as soon as they are spotted.
As well as counting inventory, it should also be inspected for possible damage caused during the shipping process. Damaged products should be set aside and returned for replacements. Other elements that should be inspected include the product codes, the integrity of the seals, and the list of products on the WRO compared to the products delivered.
The final phase of warehouse receiving is the inventory storage process which involves arranging and storing the new products. The products can be stored on shelves, pallets, or in bins.
Mistakes Many Businesses Make with Warehouse Receiving
The main goal of any business receiving stock should be to unload, check, and store inventory as efficiently and accurately as possible, as well as ensure all inventory is accounted for. When warehouses or businesses don’t have a set of procedures or a full checklist in place for unloading and receiving goods, there is a risk of ending up with inaccurate or lost inventory, leading to incorrect inventory counts that could end up impacting consumers ordering stock that in reality does not exist. To avoid this, businesses should provide warehouse staff with resources that outline a straightforward and streamlined process, including a step-by-step task list to follow when receiving, as well as a list of questions.
Track Inventory Metrics
Tracking inventory metrics is essential for attributing logistics costs and managing inventory across multiple warehouses or fulfillment centers. With the right warehouse technology, you can monitor and manage all inventory from one central dashboard. This makes it easier to track inventory, reduce inventory shrinkage rates, and maintain healthy net profit margins.
Checking stock as it is received is recommended, but may not always be possible to do in its entirety or issues may be initially missed. Undertaking periodic inventory audits such as physical counts and cutoff analyses can catch inventory imbalances before they become a problem, avoiding costly errors down the line.
Double Check Documentation
Double checking your documents and making sure that receiving inventory matches your purchase order will save you time and money. Implementing a system for all receiving and shipping documents where each type of document has a numbering system and different forms are labeled in sequential order makes it easier for staff to check paperwork thoroughly and identify missing inventory.
How Clarus WMS can help you improve your warehouse receiving procedure
If you operate a B2B, B2C, wholesale, or e-commerce store that fulfills orders from a warehouse, it’s crucial to ensure that your warehouse receiving procedure is efficient and error-free, and that it complements your overall fulfillment operations.
One effective way to achieve this is by investing in warehouse management software, which can help you count, check, and organize stock more quickly and accurately. With real-time data and insights from the warehouse floor, you can replenish your stock promptly and efficiently.
Clarus WMS is a warehouse management software that can help you track inventory levels, increase the speed and accuracy of picking and packing, and monitor shipments. It also provides you with reports that offer valuable insights for further improvement, ultimately saving you both time and money.
To learn more about how Clarus WMS can support your business, book a demo today.