In earlier blogs we introduced the Ultra Operations and Warehouse Fulfillment Maturity Matrix and reviewed Material Handling & Putaway. This next post in the Maturity Matrix series focuses on Receiving and Inspection. The basic function of the receiving and inspection process is to take responsibility for the inbound material, validate the material received to the purchase order, check for damage, and complete required material inspections.
Docks in today’s warehouses must be more flexible and support a variety of receipts that are coming in at a faster rate, in greater frequency and at times in smaller quantities and mixed pallets. This flexibility is necessary because inefficiencies on the dock can cause extra costs, excessive trailer moves, and additional handling of materials.
There are also hidden costs to an unorganized receiving dock, including lost or misplaced items which could cause incomplete or incorrect receiving transactions, ultimately resulting in materials being moved when they should not be.
Receiving stations can improve productivity of the receiving dock and improve material flow. Companies with ‘best-in-class’ dock management processes use date codes, set firm delivery appointments, balance labor and maintain enough room to do the work with no traffic jams, confusion or safety issues.
The receiving process is important because it causes the transfer of ownership of the goods. Timely and accurate receiving transaction is critical.
Having material properly labeled when it arrives to your dock has huge benefits. Companies should have a material labeling specification their procurement team can share with suppliers:
- Pallet labels
- Case labels
- Part or unit labels or markings
Advanced Ship Notice (ASN) – Supplier Communication
Communicating with suppliers and carriers about shipment status helps to schedule the dock and labor. Best practice is to take material to the storage location with few scans of the material label or by accepting the ASN, which enables the receipt of all related information into your WMS/ERP system.
Upon receipt it is imperative to verify the product to the purchase order: correct part, correct quantity, correct packaging/labeling. Also, received material should be checked for damage so claims can be made if necessary.
The goal of cross docking is to rush high-demand items through the receiving process to areas of immediate need:
- Replenish stock on the shop floor
- Fill open orders
- Waiting trucks
Best practice companies are enabled with systematic alerts supporting activities where incoming materials are automatically directed to the point needed.
It is very important for a company to gather metrics that can be used to improve and manage the receiving operation, like the ones below:
- Receiving Errors
- Dock Utilization
- Supplier Shipping Errors
Our next post in the Maturity Model series will focus on the next step in the Warehouse & Fulfillment Process. In the meantime, catch up on our previous blogs in the series.