Warehouse Receiving Tips to Save You $$$
Getting this right WILL save you time and money
Receiving and storing inventory APPEAR, from a distance, to be quite simple. But when you take a closer look, it turns out that it is actually quite a complicated process, with a lot of moving parts, and therefore a lot of things that could go wrong (or, as the cool kids call them these days: “points of failure”). In this way, the process of receiving and storing inventory is very similar to a wristwatch… or the way your grandma wants you to set the table.
We understand why the process of receiving and storing inventory seems like a breeze, since this is how giants like Amazon make it look: you simply have to order products, get them delivered to your fulfillment center, and then they get placed on shelves to get picked by magical robots (or, you know, borderline slave labour).
But again, the more familiar you get with eComm logistics, and the more you get involved with inventory, the more you will realize that this is an extremely in-depth process. And, if you don’t watch every step closely enough, it will impact how quickly and accurately your products get to the hands of your customers. In the words of Charlie Cross, our Receiving Lead here at Nice Commerce:
"If you start rough, you are going to end rough."
Who knew that a RECEIVING Lead could GIVE such pearls of wisdom?
Are you debating whether reading this article is worth the 5 minutes? Then how about this: Knowing the ins and outs of your warehouse receiving processes can ensure your products are always available, delivered on time, AND save you a lot of $$$.
First, What's the Receiving Department All About?
The receiving squad is the first department to get their hands on your products and they are responsible for making sure they are ready for active inventory.
Basically, the receiving department does the initial “cleanse” to make sure your products are undamaged, and fully accounted for, upon arrival from your manufacturer. They evaluate to ensure your products meet both the warehouse and brand standards. They also check that barcodes are present and scan correctly, do case counts, and verify that quantities are accurate and ready for inventory. Moreover, they make sure that palettes are organized in a way that allows easy tracking and access in the warehouse.
This team also checks to see if extra work like bagging, tagging, or kitting is needed in order to get your products customer-ready, and they will start the process of creating a Statement of Work (SOW), as well as allocating labor to get it completed.
To make sure your products sail through receivig, Charlie, our Receiving guru shares his top three tips below:
1. Know your warehouse's receiving standards frontwards and backwards
The receiving department at each and every fulfillment warehouse will have their own standards, to make sure products are stored efficiently and accessed quickly. The more you understand the processes, the quicker your product can make it to active inventory, and the easier it will be to avoid added fees:
Here are some common standards to look out for:
- Delivery appointments
- PO information
- Palette height
- Palette organization
- Case counts
- Case packaging
- Product barcoding
- Product labeling and bagging
Charlie goes on to say this:
“Our goal is to make sure products are prepared for our inventory team to successfully navigate through the warehouse, so we know what we have and where we have it at any given time. This helps fight off shrinkage.”
In short, without strong processes, you will inevitably get stock control issues (yuck), as well as higher operational costs (double yuck).
2. The relationship with your manufacturer matters
Making sure you choose manufacturers that care about quality and accuracy is paramount. That much is kind of obvious. What is not so obvious is that you should with a manufacturer that sees themselves as a partner.
Make sure you build a relationship with your manufacturer point of contact, so you can share feedback when quality issues arise, or if tweaks need to be made to meet the receiving standards. Having a manufacturer that can work with you will save you a LOT of $$$ in inventory processing fees.
Here is what Charlie has to say about quality control issues:
“In addition to making sure products are palletized and accounted for, we’ve implemented a standard to check 15–20% of all products coming in for quality control, due to supply chain issues and manufacturers cutting corners.”
3. Make sure your PO is correct
This is a small detail…but it can make a HUGE difference. PO’s are what the receiving team bases everything off of, and it helps them know if they are doing everything correctly.
As Charlie says:
“At Nice Commerce, we ask clients to put a PO in advance of the shipment being delivered that details everything we should be expecting: the different SKUs, quantity of each unit, # of pallets, # of cases. Our standard is to check and accept shipments into inventory within 48 hours of receipt, and having accurate POs help us do that.”
The receiving department is the first line of defense, and without thorough POs the team could miss crucial issues (like wrong barcodes, inaccurate quantities, etc.), which need to be actioned immediately… before they lead to costly issues down the line.
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