Receiving is a crucial part of the order management process. Warehouses without clear documentation of goods received encounter problems when the business needs proof of a shipment shortage or quality issue.
Well-managed warehouses have a consistent receiving process when shipments arrive. That way, when the warehouse coordinator or inventory clerk has a problem with the goods received, they resolve it quickly efficiently.
During the receiving process, warehouse personnel carefully inspect incoming goods, identify them with tags and record their arrival. After receiving the delivery, match the shipment to the bill of lading and purchase order. Then, the items receive a slot in the warehouse.
Following a solid receiving and inspection process is the first step in running an efficient warehouse and can help identify problems with suppliers.
The receiving and inspection process starts with a thorough inspection of goods received and ends with a handoff to the purchasing and accounts payable department.
First, make sure the delivery came to the right place and that the consignment note of the shipment matches your purchase order. Each item should correspond to the quantity and description on the PO. Typically, cartons, boxes and other containers have a list of items and quantities attached.
Record the following details: date and time of arrival, name of the transportation partner and driver, verification of quantities and description of items received against the PO, documented discrepancies and the name of the inspector.
Maintaining accurate reports is essential for accurate bookkeeping as well as resolving any disputes that may arise in the future regarding the items or supplier.
If there is no purchase order or record of the order, check with your supervisor or purchasing department before rejecting the goods.
Check the items before accepting the shipment. The quality check ensures that you don't accept faulty or damaged goods. However, you can't always physically inspect each item. Conduct a spot check of several cartons to determine the condition of the goods.
You can check for broken items and other faults specific to the product and verify that the items all match the purchase order description.
If you find damaged items, record what you see on the consignment note and notify the supplier immediately before taking further steps.
The receiving clerk compares descriptions and quantities on the purchase order, shipping document and receiving report. Discrepancies in item counts should be manually corrected and entered into the appropriate inventory system.
Once space has been allocated, warehouse employees store the received goods. Each warehouse shelf contains identifying markers used to track inventory. The employee notes the location markers on the corresponding documents when they store the items.
Storing new items quickly prevents loss and damage.
Warehouse employees use the paper documents or an automated tracking system to record the quantity received, description and warehouse location into the inventory management systems — and the order management session if they are separate.
The employee prints the inventory receipt report and forwards it with the other documents to the purchasing department.
The purchasing department receives the documents or reviews them in the automated system. The purchasing agent compares this to the invoice sent by the vendor. If there are any discrepancies, the purchasing agent reaches out to the vendor to adjust the amount due.
Finally, the accounts payable department receives and pays the adjusted invoice.
Following warehouse management best practices ensures that the process of receiving goods flows smoothly. Incorporate these steps into your order management process to ensure that issues with vendors are addressed immediately and that goods are promptly stored to avoid bottlenecks on the receiving dock.
Is your dock designed for sorting and inspecting large shipments before they hit the warehouse floor? Several inventory errors, such as miscounts, occur the day shipments arrive. This is avoidable. Companies can empower their employees by providing adequate space and the proper tools to successfully organize the receiving area.
Along with allocating enough space for shipments, keep the receiving space clean and well-organized so employees can easily access containers. Having a separate space for damaged goods can reduce the clutter and streamline the workflow.
With a barcode scanner and other technology, tracking inventory in real-time becomes a no-brainer. Avoid miscounts, lost inventory and incorrect items in storage or shipped orders.
The quality control manager circumvents negligent employees and technology glitches. They check the receiving and storage processes for accuracy, offer feedback and process improvement suggestions and hold employees accountable for mistakes.
While safety is the first priority on the receiving dock and warehouse floor, unloading received goods quickly is the second.
Regularly inspect forklifts, power pallet trucks and other equipment to minimize breakdowns and delays. Where feasible, consider conveyor belts to speed up the process and to reduce the load on employees.
Unreliable suppliers underperform by delivering frequent late shipments and incorrect items and counts. No matter how long you've been with a supplier, if frequent discussions yield little improvement, you can't afford to wait for them to improve.
Companies can set the tone for efficient warehouse operations with a well-documented receiving process that catches damaged goods as soon as they arrive, streamlines the unloading and putaway processes and follows industry best practices for safety and productivity.
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