‘Goods In’ is the heart of your warehouse.
The warehouse is at the centre of your business. It’s the key hub through which nearly everything in your business must pass – from raw materials and finished goods in a manufacturing plant, to pallets and cases in a distribution centre, to a wealth of products in a retail warehouse. But in today’s highly competitive markets, there’s something even more important that’s dependent on more efficient warehouse operations: customer satisfaction. What is it that your customers want from your warehouse and logistics operations? Accurate, on-time and flawless fulfilment. Every time.
Warehouse receiving operations or Goods In processes are a critical part in maintaining the integrity of inventory systems and ensuring the availability of products for customers. Without an effective receiving system, items fall through the cracks, are not counted, do not receive adequate inspection and fail to provide evidence of problems with vendors that affect profitability.
Understandably, with items arriving in pallets in large quantities it is often difficult to unwrap and check each and every one. But in all cases, miscounting and not checking all items actually received against POs inevitably results in time wasted in reconciling orders and inventory levels later on, not to mention the risk of overpayment for goods, missed sales opportunities, and dissatisfied customers.
Performing regular stock takes is the solution but manual counting is inefficient as it increases the cost of labour and lowers the return. It also increases the risk of further mistakes being made, misplaced or lost orders, and inaccurate stock figures appearing online.
As your businesses grows and more goods are being ordered and received, you simply don’t have the time to keep on playing detective to identify what went where in order to try and remedy the situation.
Prevention of any foreseeable problems is the key. Here are some best practices to consider for minimising human error at Goods In, and for streamlining the whole process:
Don’t risk being swamped by unexpected deliveries to the warehouse. It is time consuming and stressful for operatives to deal with deliveries appearing out of the blue, at any time of day or night, and risks errors being made. Establish a process for creating a planned deliveries schedule.
Need for speed
Once goods arrive there’s usually an invoice attached. Therefore, the faster you can record them in your warehouse stock levels, label containers, and reconcile items against orders, the better.
A Warehouse Management System (WMS) can help you do this quickly and accurately by simple scanning of barcodes. It will also make it easy to advise suppliers about receipt of deliveries without them having to chase.
It’s a fact of life that pallets sometimes arrive at the warehouse broken with damaged goods inside. Make sure you have a fast and smooth process put in place for capturing proof of damage and returning individual, or all, items concerned.
Pallets or the items therein can sometimes arrive with illegible labels or insufficient description attached rendering them as good as useless. If this is a regular occurrence with certain suppliers it is clearly frustrating and a waste of your Goods In team’s time to second guess what’s inside.
Some WMS will allow you to receive your deliveries without scanning the items, and automatically record as received all items and quantities on the order.
Incorrect PO entry
We’re all human and from time to time errors can occur at the put away stage with incorrect POs being assigned to individual items or batches – a dead cert for causing reconciliation headaches further down the line. Manually tracking back to mend the error of your ways is often time consuming and a hassle you or your warehouse team could do without.
A WMS will make it easy to rectify by allowing a swift amendment to allocating the right products to the right PO.
Eliminate any discrepancies
Unpacking goods for put away can carry unwanted surprises. You’ve counted them and recounted but still the 1000 items you know you ordered only adds up to 900. Your PO confirms the 1000 items that but so does the supplier’s delivery note, stock system and invoice. How will you prove what you actually ordered is not what you received? A foolproof way is by weighing pallets at time of delivery.
A WMS can help you quickly and easily record this data and if it’s under, or indeed overweight an email can be generated to alert the supplier and rectify the situation before it turns into a potential dispute.
Weighing individual items at Goods In is also a good way of avoiding unnecessary holds up at despatch. Many retailers leave it until the point of despatch to weigh items for customer delivery, creating a bottleneck and risking pre-arranged delivery slots being missed with carriers. Not a good recipe for continued customer loyalty.
The sooner you can record returned items and advise customers that a refund or agreed exchange is on the way, the better. However, doing this manually is time consuming.
A WMS can help by recording what was returned and whether or not it can be resold, and then notifying the external systems that handle the customer contact.
A faster and more accurate method to managing Goods In 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.
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.