If you are an e-commerce business, no matter how big or small, you need to have your warehouse operations in order to scale up and keep your business running smoothly.
But managing and maintaining the complete warehouse operations for your business is not at all an easy task or something to be done manually as your business grows over time.
Not having standardised guidelines and processes in place to run your warehouse is the most common issue faced by millions of businesses, but by working on this very basic yet crucial part of your day to day operations can help you achieve higher productivity and increase your overall profitability.
The second blog in our 5 part series of warehouse focused write-ups deals with the first two most important and conventional processes necessary for a warehouse to run smoothly, the processes of
- Receiving of fresh stocks
- Put-away of fresh stocks
Starting off with the Receiving operations of a warehouse, the process involves the transfer of goods and services from one party to another in the form of new stocks or supplies.
Receiving Operations of Warehouse
The process is highly sensitive to the e-commerce wms staff and needs complete accuracy and efficiency to ensure the credibility of the transaction and to avoid any liabilities on your part.
The process of receiving is essential for a business both in terms of fulfilling consumer demands as well as maintaining uninterrupted operations within the facility as stocks are required for both functions.
Receiving operations require financial documentation of the inventory received in order to create errorless accounting and payments for the goods asked for. The process involves a full procedure to account for each shipment received and includes the steps to:
- Checking the quality of goods received
- Confirming the condition of items acquired
- Ensuring the quantity of inventory obtained
- Allocating space to the goods in the warehouse
- Preparing paperwork in accordance to shipments
Even the slightest of error in any one of these procedures can cost the company to pay for any loss, damage or theft of an item, directly impacting the overall profitability of the business. To ensure no such thing happens, it is necessary for businesses to onboard a technologically advanced and automated warehouse management system that streamlines the process of receiving as well as putaway.
To ensure your receiving process is highly efficient and eliminates room for error, you need to incorporate the below cycle:
1. Unload the shipment
Receiving begins as soon as the shipment is unloaded from the transport to the unloading docks of the warehouse and the following steps ensure smooth unloading of the items:
- Quantity of the shipment is checked
- Invoice Receipt Note or IRN is generated
- Goods are kept in the Bulk area for verification
- Receipt of the logistics is signed to release the transport
- GRN or Goods Receipt Note for detailed inspection of goods is done
2.Verify the delivery
Post the IRN and GRN creation the next step involves cross-checking all details of the goods received. You have to make sure that the delivery received matches the requirements raised in the purchase order which includes all the details right from descriptions and quantities of each order.
Include the following points in your checklist:
- Product Codes
- Shipment description
- Weight of the cargo
- Condition of orders received
- Damages or missing items
If you find any inconsistencies between the purchase order and the consignment records, raise a query right away to avoid any issues with the suppliers
3. Generate Unique Barcodes
Once the verification is done, the process of adding the received goods into the warehouse stock begins, and that is done by either created unique barcodes for the consignment or adding the pre-existing barcodes into the system and based on the shipment type, classifying them as:
- Item Level – unique SKU is given to each item, done for products like mobiles, televisions, etc
- SKU Level – the same SKU is given to a group of items, done for products like bottles, cutlery, etc
- None Level – a single SKU is given to the entire shipment, done for products like pens, food items, etc
These SKUs are then organized for better storage and monitoring. For each SKU, shortage-debit notes and excess notes are created along with uploading extra GRN columns and manufacturer batch-codes as and when required. The data of these notes may include manufacturing and expiry dates, factory number, belt number etc.
4. Perform Quality Checks
After each shipment is accounted for and given unique identification for easy acknowledgment, the next process in line is to perform specific quality control checks which further distinguish the received items as good or bad inventory. The process of QC involves:
- Having random checks on each shipment
- Analyzing quality, size, condition of items
- Marking good and bad inventory
- Providing shelves to good inventory (putaway process, discussed further in the blog)
- Initiating RTV or return to vendor for bad inventory
Both good and bad inventory needs to be recorded and information of the same needs to be sent to the suppliers as well as the payroll team to complete the process of receiving.
Issue Payment Information
After carefully examining the items received, a payment receipt is to be generated and sent to the concerned accounting teams which then proceeds to carry out these steps to ensure right payouts:
- Match the payment receipt post QC with that of the invoice received on the shipment
- In cases of any differences, the final amount payable is that of the good inventory received
- Initiate payments and record the final invoice for future use
Putaway Operations of Warehouse
When the process of receiving is all done and the payments are cleared out, the putaway operations of the good inventory received in the warehouse begins.
- As the name goes, putaway of goods received from various vendors, refers to the process of allocating the best accessible places within the warehouse to ensure optimized warehouse operations, faster picking and packing, smoother deliveries and overall better customer experience. With the right putaway process, your business will experience:
- Efficient storage of goods
- Higher safety of products
- Accurate documentation of goods
- Better Utilization of space
- Easier access to products
- Lesser time to locate items
The right warehouse management system enables eCommerce businesses to achieve all of the above by providing highly effective putaway processes.
Putaway and shelf allocation are done based on order rotation, dimensions, weight, fragility, categorisation, and some other properties of each product and the structure of the warehouse.
A putaway list is generated and a worker is assigned to carry out the process by scanning SKU barcodes in the list and assigning locations for each of the items based on their demand, time to pick and pack, size and life.
The process of direct putaway requires immediate shifting of the incoming inventory to a specified location in the warehouse. Using the direct putaway method, saves a lot of time as shipment received is directly placed at a designated location and is easier to trace and cut shorts for your delivery preparations.
The dynamic putaway method requires storing of received goods at the first available space allowing more convenience in terms of accessing the inventory when needed.
For shipments that are rather similar in quantity, quality and characteristics, the dynamic approach can be preferred. Using dynamic putaway you ensure faster deliveries of items higher on demand and help you manage your warehouse space in a better way.
Fixed- location Putaway
Allocating a permanent or fixed space to the incoming shipment is what this type of putaway process does. This method allows your warehouse staff to be familiar with each of the placements and be quicker on initiating picking, packing and delivery processes.
Using the fixed putaway process you get to have a higher functioning warehouse as it will be better managed and gives you the flexibility to prioritise goods based on their demand cycle.
Having the right technology solutions that allow you the ease to know exactly where your inventory is and makes your receiving process hassle-free is crucial if you wish to expand your business and provide great service to your customers.
Now that you have understood the method of putaway, you also need to understand that putaway happens for a number of activities whenever and wherever your products are moving.
Putaway can be done in majorly 3 different ways based on your requirements and storage availability.
Putaway process is required for every single time your product leaves its designated shelf and is taken to another location. Businesses may require putaway processes:
- For when your products go for a photoshoot, sampling, etc
- For transferring stock or fulfilment of stocks from one location to another
- For cancelled items after they are picked, packed but not shipped
To tackle each such putaway process, you need to have a robust and fully automated warehouse management system that can keep checks on all the ongoing and upcoming putaway requirements and give you real-time updates.
The warehouse management system of Unicommerce allows you to manage both of the major tasks of receiving and putaway with utmost proficiency, accuracy and effectiveness. The platform provides over 8 different putaway methods right from:
- Putaway of Cancelled Items
- Putaway of GRN items
- Putaway of Gate Pass items
- Putaway of items ‘not bad’ post-inspection
- Putaway of Picklist items
|Putaway also happens during the process of returns, cancellations and exchange of products that include
With Unicommerce, streamline your operations, enrich your overall productivity and experience the true potential of your business today. Click here to know more about our services or request a demo now!
Read our next blogs in the warehouse management series to understand the right ways to perform the most significant operational processes of Picking, Packing and Dispatch, Returns and Cancellations.
- Prerequisites of Warehouse Management: Vendor Onboarding and Procurement.
- Boost the Efficiency of Warehouse Operations with Packing and Dispatch
- Enhance the Operations of the Warehouse with Order Picking: Process and Methods
- Warehouse Returns and Cancellations Management [Reasons, Problems and Solutions]