Monday, April 4, 2011

Receiving Product at a 3rd Party Order Fulfillment Warehouse

When a company has outsourced its storage and order fulfillment warehouse operations to a 3rd party distribution center, the receiving process takes on added importance. This is because the company is relying on that warehouse to be their last check to make sure the products they have ordered are getting delivered in good shape and in the correct quantity.

Aside from simply storing and reporting on inventory levels of products being keep on site, a warehouse is the inspection and counting inbound product. Since the customer is not able to do it themselves, the 3rd party warehouse has to play that role – and do it right.

One important step to ensure the Receiving process runs efficiently and accurately is for inbound shipments follow any procedure the warehouse may have in place for an ASN (Advanced Shipping Notification). The ASN is a heads up to the warehouse that product is coming in and helps the facility be prepared to inbound the material.

This also speeds up the time it takes for the product to be entered into inventory, and of course be available for filling future orders.

The following are general steps in the Receiving Process:

Before signing the Bill of Lading:

Check for visual damages to cartons and product

Count verification against the Bill of Lading

Once the product is unloaded from the carrier:

Verification of product id’s/ SKU’s and quantities against the ASN

Further visual inspection for damages

Lot/ Serialization number recording into WMS

Product put-away

Getting the receiving process done right is the first key step to maintaining an accurate inventory within a warehouse or order fulfillment facility. Visiting logistics social media and networking sites focused on the supply chain (such as,, and is a good way to learn about best practices for receiving.