Processes to Optimize Warehouse Receiving
Warehouse logistics can be extremely complicated. Technology makes things more efficient and easier in many ways, but it also adds more variables and data points for workers to pay attention to. This means that warehouse bins and physical organization systems are incredibly important. Modern bin systems can pair with warehouse management technology by using RFID labels and QR codes on shelves. Organizing technology and the data it provides offer endless possibilities for making the receiving process more efficient. Receiving is the four-step process that takes place when a shipment arrives at a warehouse. Each step provides an opportunity to make the entire process more efficient.
1. Pre-Receiving or Preparation
Before actually sending products to a warehouse, the originating company should take some important steps to prepare. These steps include creating labels and making several decisions, including how they should package the product, how many packages they can fit on a pallet, and how much the packages should weigh. Ideally, item labels should include a barcode that can be scanned into the warehouse’s inventory management system when the shipment arrives.
2. Unloading Materials
Once the shipment arrives, the warehouse team will unload the products. To make this step as efficient as possible, companies should communicate with the warehouse staff ahead of time about the details of the shipment, including the quantity and size of incoming packages. This allows the warehouse to have the right number of employees and equipment on hand (such as pallet jacks and forklifts) when the truck arrives. For easy unloading, the truck should be organized with items that need to be unpacked first in the back. This allows the team to unpack the truck in the order that the packages were originally arranged.
3. Counting and Confirmation
Once the delivery is unloaded, the warehouse staff will need to check the shipment to make sure that the correct number of items were delivered and that everything was properly sealed and in good condition. This is a time-consuming step, but it’s important because it’s an opportunity to catch any problems early. The sooner a warehouse identifies a missing or damaged item, the easier it is to correct the issue. Automation and inventory management software programs make the inspection process faster and more accurate.
4. Sorting and Organizing
Once everything in the shipment is accounted for, it’s time for the warehouse team to sort it into the correct warehouse bins. Digital inventory management programs make this process more efficient by directing workers to the specific shelf on which an item should be placed for storage. Well-organized warehouses embrace technology while also relying on good physical organization tools. This combined approach can improve efficiency throughout the receiving process.
Tracking Inventory Levels
Modern warehouses place RFID labels on each unit, which makes inventory management easier. This lets the warehouse manager see all of the items that are stored in the space without individually scanning them. Barcodes and RFID labels make inventory management easier. At the same time, they can also make some parts of the process more complicated for workers. It’s important for warehouses to provide comprehensive training. This way the entire team can use these digital tools as effectively as possible.
It’s also a good idea for warehouses to have some analog backups. For example, warehouse bins with dividers that create an individual compartment for each item make it easy to see at a glance whether the item is where it should be. Labels should also include information that humans can read in addition to their machine-friendly bar codes and RFID chips. The right warehouse bins will combine these best practices by including RFID and QR code labels to support digital inventory tracking.
Scanning package labels and sending that information to a warehouse management software program is much quicker than manually recording this information. This frees up employees’ time and attention to focus on visually inspecting the incoming packages. An efficient receiving process should catch any problems that occurred during preparation or shipping at this stage. This gives the company time to order more merchandise, plan for shipping delays, or take any other necessary steps to fix the problem.
When it’s time to fulfill orders, organized warehouse bins and smart technologies work in tandem to allow workers to operate efficiently. If the receiving and storage processes were handled correctly, fulfillment and distribution should be fairly simple. Wearable or handheld devices can direct the employee to the correct shelf based on RFID tracking information. Organized shelving makes it easy to find the right item quickly.
Flexcon’s warehouse bins are sturdy, lightweight, and easy to customize. They’re a great way to optimize storage space and organization in any warehouse. Contact Flexcon to discuss your warehouse organization needs today.