Removing Human Error at Goods In
Goods In, also known by various other names such as Receive, Goods Receipt, and Inbound, is the lynchpin of any warehouse. But making it as efficient as possible is clearly an ongoing challenge for many retailers.
Understandably, with items arriving in pallets in large quantities, it is often difficult to unwrap and check each and every one. Miscounting and not checking all items actually received against POs can result in time wasted in reconciling orders and inventory levels later on, not to mention the risk of overpayment for goods, missed sales opportunities, and dissatisfied customers.
Performing regular stock takes is the solution, but manual counting could be more efficient as it increases the cost of labour and lowers the return. It also increases the risk of other mistakes, misplaced or lost orders, and inaccurate stock figures appearing online.
As your business grows and more goods are being ordered and received, you don’t have the time to keep playing detective to identify what went where to try and remedy the situation.
Clearly, prevention has to be better than cure, so here are some best practices to consider for minimising human error and streamlining your goods receipt process:
FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED
Don’t risk being swamped by unexpected deliveries to the warehouse. It is time-consuming and stressful for operatives to deal with deliveries appearing out of the blue, at any time of day or night, and risks errors being made.
Establish a process for creating a planned delivery schedule. No more surprises!
NEED FOR SPEED
Once goods arrive, there’s usually an invoice attached. Therefore, the faster you can record them in your warehouse stock levels, label containers, and reconcile items against orders, the better.
A Warehouse Management System (WMS) can help you do this quickly and accurately by simply scanning barcodes. It will also make it easy to advise suppliers about the receipt of deliveries without them having to chase.
IF IT’S BROKE, FIX IT
It’s a fact of life that pallets sometimes arrive at the warehouse broken with damaged goods inside.
This calls for a fast and smooth process to capture proof of the damage and return individual or all items concerned.
Can’t read the label
Pallets or the items therein can sometimes arrive with illegible labels or insufficient description attached rendering them as good as useless. If this is a regular occurrence with certain suppliers it is clearly frustrating and a waste of your Goods In team’s time to second guess what’s inside.
Some WMS will allow you to receive your deliveries without scanning the items, and automatically record as received all items and quantities on the order.
INCORRECT PO ENTRY
We’re all human, and from time to time, errors can occur at the put-away stage with incorrect POs being assigned to individual items or batches – a dead cert for causing reconciliation headaches further down the line. Manually tracking back to mend the error of your ways is often time-consuming and a hassle you or your warehouse team could do without.
A WMS will make it easy to rectify by allowing a swift amendment to allocate the right products to the right PO.
PROVE IT OR LOSE IT
Unpacking goods for put away can carry unwanted surprises. You’ve counted and recounted them, but the 1000 items you know you ordered only adds up to 900. Your PO confirms the 1000 items, but so does the supplier’s delivery note, stock system, and invoice. How will you prove what you actually ordered is not what you received? A foolproof way is by weighing pallets at the time of delivery.
A WMS can help you quickly and easily record this data. If it’s under or overweight, an email can be generated to alert the supplier and rectify the situation before it becomes a potential dispute.
Weighing individual items at Goods In is also a way to avoid unnecessary holds up at dispatch. Many retailers leave it until the point of dispatch to weigh items for customer delivery, creating a bottleneck and risking pre-arranged delivery slots being missed with carriers. Not a good recipe for continued customer loyalty.
The sooner you can record returned items and let customers know that a refund or agreed exchange is on the way, the better. However, doing this manually is time-consuming.
A WMS can help by recording what was returned and whether or not it can be resold and then notifying the external systems that handle the customer contact.
In summary, a faster and more accurate method of managing Goods In can be achieved using a fit-for-purpose ecommerce WMS, allowing goods to be scanned in and automatically reconciled against a PO. Barcode scanning eliminates the margin for human error and ensures that all delivered items are correctly recorded. The correct stock figures will be listed online, meaning fewer oversells or missed sales opportunities.
If you want to learn more about how Peoplevox can help you make your ecommerce warehouse more efficient, you can contact us anytime for a free, no-obligation consultation.