Lee Simmons, Head of Projects and Development
The arrival of goods at our warehouse from your supplier marks a complex transition point. To ensure that this receipt of goods happens smoothly and without mishap, we follow a tried and tested procedure. It involves a number of events that happen at the warehouse before the client’s system is updated and stock made ready for sale. As the starting point for any investigation in the event of a stock discrepancy, it is important for us to follow this process, for clients to understand it and also to play their part. So below we have set out the key considerations that you need to be aware of with regard to the receipt of goods into the warehouse.
While your logistics partner is providing a service and charging for it, there is a commitment required on both sides, as specified in the service level agreement. This might include the presentation of product, specific labelling, supplier manifests and notification methods. In order for your partner to receipt goods quickly and get product to shelf as efficiently as possible, they will need to be prepared in advance to take the delivery and this will involve some form of process between you and your manufacturer.
Be sure to get a commitment from your supplier on when goods will be available within your enterprise resource planning system (ERP). Stock on the floor of a warehouse remains invisible until it is checked in and this will be an area that most logistics partners will charge for, so it is important to get a level of commitment that can be measured and reported on to ensure service levels are maintained.
As soon as stock arrives in the warehouse it must be reconciled against a purchase order or Advance Shipping Notification (ASN), so the delivery can be checked off. All logistics partners will require a document so they can inspect the delivery and confirm that the goods received match the delivery expected. We will ask for this information in advance of the stock arriving so that we can plan suitable resource to check off the delivery as soon as it arrives and prepare the necessary space for storage.
Location location location
All third party logistics companies will have some sort of location set-up within their warehouse. While they can all be different, they ultimately provide the same thing: when goods arrive and have been checked off they will be booked into a given location.
This location will be a specific area, or shelf, or tote bin, which will become the product’s home until it is either sold or moved for any reason. The location will be the first point of an audit trail and this is where the warehouse operative will be directed to, if asked to pick, count or inspect the item.
Your logistics partner’s commitment
Your partner is your eyes and ears and their product knowledge on the shop floor is invaluable. It’s not uncommon for our customers to not see their products and so they rely on us to keep an eye out for any significant changes, such as new packaging or a different code. Your logistics partner should help to identify any changes and ensure that these are brought to light.
A good example of this was a delivery we received containing cameras. We were expecting the delivery but, upon arrival, one of our members of staff (an expert on the contract) noticed a tiny change to the packaging. On further investigation, it turned out that this consignment contained a new model of camera that should not have been sent to us, as it had not yet been released for sale. Needless to say this was reported to our customer and we ended up preventing what could have been a big problem. Our customer certainly appreciated our efforts.
Incidents like this underline just how important it is for your logistics partner to have an intimate knowledge of your products. And it illustrates how an efficient goods receipt procedure provides genuine added value.