When it comes to warehouse management, one of the first steps of operations is receiving inventory. If the inventory coming in is messed up, everything else that follows is going to be messed up too. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, receiving inventory is what sets up the rest of your operations. It’s a critical key component in effective inventory management.
Your goal is to dial in your inventory receiving processes, it’s going to make it much easier to hit your inventory KPIs, helping you reduce the cost of inventory and streamline your stocktake.
That’s great but how can you make your company’s inventory receiving more efficient, reliable and quicker?
How To Master Efficiency Receiving Inventory
(1) Optimize Your Receiving Space
Inventory errors and miscounts always usually occur during receiving. One of your best options for reducing inventory receiving errors is by preparing your dock to be efficient.
Yes, that’s obvious but many docks are crowded and overwhelmed. If you don’t have the space to properly receiving inventory, that’s a problem that leads to errors.
Rather, you should have processes in place that demand accuracy when counting inventory. You need to make sure you’re using inventory receiving tools to streamline the process. The goal is to receive inventory fast but accurately.
Your dock should be designed for sorting received inventory and preparing them for storage in their designated warehouse location.
(2) Keep Your Receiving Space Clean and Organized
While this is another “obvious” answer, how many receiving areas have you seen unorganized and cramped?
Your dock space should be well organized to be efficient, you can’t be efficient with a crowded dock space. It should be easy to access all received goods.
Make sure your receiving process is streamlined. When inventory is received and accounted for, that inventory should go to storage to make room for new inventory.
(3) Real-Time Inventory Tracking Technology
One of the best things you can do for your inventory tracking is getting the right tools and software to track inventory in real-time.
The last thing you want is mistakes and errors causing you problems further down your supply chain.
There’s a number of different tools that will help you manage your inventory in real-time, make sure your company is using them. If you’re tracking them in real-time, you can make corrections on the spot.
(4) Unload Quickly and Safely
Your objective when receiving inventory is to unload received inventory safely while doing it quickly.
If you’re using forklifts or power pallet trucks, make sure the machines have plenty of room to operate. You also want to make sure your equipment is being regularly maintained.
If inventory is too heavy, don’t let your team lift it by hand. A lot of injuries occur receiving inventory but many of them can be avoided. You don’t want to risk employee injury, damaged goods or worse.
One idea that you may want to consider is conveyor belts, which can make the process of putting received goods away easier and efficient.
(5) Always Monitor Quality Control
Every company should have a quality control manager in place to be a protective layer against employees and technology.
Your quality control manager is going to;
- Watch for mistakes and errors
- Point out issues in the processes
- Control and prevent inventory damage
- Receiving and putaway accuracy
(6) Always Verify The Goods You Receive
The last thing any company wants is to ship the wrong items out. To avoid the costly mistake of shipping the wrong items or not having enough to satisfy customer demand, you should always check that the inventory received is exactly what you ordered. Never take it for granted, you want to make it a habit to count everything.
Depending on your cargo, these are the things you should verify:
- Quantity Received
- SKU Of Goods
- Description Of Goods
- Product Codes
- Condition Of Goods
- Weight Of Goods
- Temperature (When Appropriate)
- Batch Tracking Numbers
- Serial Codes
(7) Testing Processes To Become Efficient, Quick And Reliable
No process or system is perfect out of the gate, yours will not be either. However, through consistent testing, trial and error, your receiving process can be efficient, quick and reliable.
Ultimately, that’s the goal, to be 100 percent accurate receiving inventory and doing it in a safe but quick way.
Time, safety and accuracy is always the big pillars, but you can never cut corners to fix one or the other, you want all 3 to have the best effective receiving process you can have.
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