When shipments arrive to replenish stocked inventory, your warehouse will go through what is known as a standard receiving process. Your inventory clerk should have a set procedure which he or she uses to make sure all paperwork and the shipment is received and in correct order. If there are ever any issues in the process, the procedure is there so that issues can be addressed in a timely and orderly manner.
In this article, we will go through the top techniques to optimize your warehouses receiving process in order to make it as smooth and error-free as possible, so that your customers are never without product.
1. Compile the Correct Metrics
If you do not have the correct metrics, your warehouse receiving process will be off, and it will be impossible to design and implement an effective system. Metrics to gather include:
- Total time it takes to move materials through the system to usability
- Error reports
- Dock utilization
- Supplier shipping problems
Before the receiving process begins, you will need to establish and enforce receiving requirements for your suppliers and shippers. Your goal for them should be to present the cargo as quickly and efficiently as possible. Consider every aspect of work from their part that you would like to see during the receiving process, and jot all of this down to bring up to them.
Packaging requirements should include:
- Label position
- Label Information
- Palletized or loose cargo
- Number of packages per pallet
- Items per carton
- Acceptable package size & weight
3. Labor and Booking
In order to successfully improve the warehouse receiving process, the correct amount of man hours will need to be allocated. Take a look at the number of shipments coming into the warehouse, and match your workload accordingly. The majority of the time, labor is the highest warehouse operational cost, so never neglect to carefully evaluate this and schedule labor shifts accordingly.
4. Shipment Identification
As soon as a delivery truck arrives to the unloading dock, your inventory clerk should be prepared for the shipment and ready to speak with the driver about the shipment being received. Any concerns, questions, or discrepancies about the shipment should be voiced before the inventory clerk signs her name on the delivery shipping notice as she accepts the shipment from the driver.
It is vital that your inventory clerk goes through proper training and has a good handle on this process so that signatures are not prematurely made for incorrect shipments.
5. Product Count
Once the inventory clerk signs the shipping notice, warehouse personnel should unload and count the product received to make sure the correct amount of the shipment has been sent to your warehouse.
Every crate should be opened and an exact product count will need to be taken. Invoice slips should be included in each crate so as to keep a tally of product and note the purchasing department if there are discrepancies.
6. Product Inspection
The inventory clerk will need to check all products being received for possible damage caused during shipping. If damaged items are found, they should be placed safely to one side so that the delivery driver can pick them up again and replacements should be brought back to the warehouse to replace the damaged product.
Again, it is extremely important that each item is looked over thoroughly so that the proper number of replacement products needed can be reported.
7. Receiving Documentation
All products should have inventory numbers assigned to them prior to stocking the items on shelves. It is the inventory clerks job to input product information into the warehouse data system, sync the data with all other departments requiring the information, and then share this data with the inventory clerk who will file all written documentation for auditing purposes.
8. Label Correctly
Labeling is different today than it was 10 years ago, and it is constantly changing still. The surge in computer use within the warehouse industry has altered bar-coding, ID scanning, pallet management, and more. With these improvements, it is more important than ever to make sure labelling is accurate.
If the label looks complex or different from the last label received, inquire about how to read them. If you have new personnel on board, make sure proper training is in place to ensure they are brought up to speed with current labelling processes.
9. Error-Ready Replenishment Process
A replenishment process ensures the re-order of items to your warehouse in 2, 4, or 6 week intervals. In order to have an efficient and productive warehouse receiving process, a replenishment process should leave room for error. This ensures that if defective items are received, or miscounts are made, your customers will not suffer as a result.
10. Be Thorough with the Inspection
Creating an inspection process which can handle incoming as well as outgoing items is vital to a successful receiving process. During this inspection, any and all issues with vendors, shippers, and other handlers can be detected and voiced.
Proper inspection will require time and manpower, so be sure to have all of the tools and people necessary to check for inventory data issues or any other problems you could catch during this inspection.