Receiving products in your warehouse is a critical step for all fulfillment operations. In order to maintain accuracy of inventory and availability of products for customers warehouse receiving operations must be spot on. Without effective receiving processes in place products can get lost, not accurately counted, aren’t inspected adequately, and fail to point out vendor issues that can affect your profitability. Below are a few ways to improve your warehouse receiving operations.

  1. Vendor Requirements
    Taking the time to establish requirements your vendors must meet before a product is shipped to you is an important step to improving warehouse receiving efficiencies. By establishing the following criteria with suppliers, shippers, and carriers, you’ll ensure that you receive products in a way that is quick and easy to process.

    • Supplier Packaging Requirements:
      • Label position and information
      • Using pallets vs. loose cargo
      • Quantity per pallets or carton
      • Acceptable package size and weights
    • Shipper Requirements:
      • Provide detailed information on shipments
      • Shipment timing / frequency
    • Carrier Requirements:
      • Organizing items by delivery route
      • Have all documentation in hand upon arrival
  1. Labor Utilization
    Accurately allocating resources is another important aspect to improving warehouse receiving efficiencies. Since labor costs are among the highest in warehouse operations, aligning workload demand with workforce supply is crucial. In order to best align your resources with the work, warehouse managers should work with your carrier vendors to define the date and times when products are received. Having carriers pre-schedule their delivery times both parties are able to better plan out their resources. You should also be realistic though and have an on-demand receiving area and team for those carriers that can’t or won’t comply with scheduling requirements.
  2. Product Verifications and Inspections
    One of the final steps in the receiving process is to verify and inspect the products that were received. Since this process can be time consuming and labor intensive in order to speed up the process, warehouse managers should look to integrating barcode or RFID scanners into their warehouse management system. This will ensure that counts are accurate and align with that was ordered. Another technique to utilize is gathering data about missing or damaged cargo based on the vendor and focus inspections on those that have the most frequent issues.
  3. Reporting Metrics
    Implementing the most effective metrics to your operations is a sometimes overlooked but very necessary step in optimizing warehouse receiving operations. By measuring the following data points you’ll be able to quickly see where there are inefficiencies in your operations and take measures to get them corrected.

    • Dock to Stock Time – Total time needed to move materials from the receiving docks through to packaging and shipping
    • Dock Utilization – Tracking utilization of the dock in order to optimize efficiency
    • Receiving Error Reports – An audit of your reporting to double check the system and alert any errors during the receiving process
    • Vendor Issues Reports – Recording errors by vendors in order to track and alert the vendor of issues

Ensuring inventory accuracy and over all warehouse operations begins with efficient and accurate receiving processes. In order to have the best receiving process you should regularly examine your operations to identify and correct any potential issues as well as implement solutions to increase data collection and improve your physical systems.