Receiving is the first and one of the most crucial processes of a warehouse. In order to perform the receiving process properly, the warehouse should be able to verify that it has received the right product, in the right quantity, in the right condition, and at the right time. Receiving also entails the transfer of responsibility of the goods to the warehouse. Optimizing your material handling during receiving will ensure that the warehouse receives cargo efficiently and there’s no accumulation at the docks. Moreover, receiving is an overlooked process amongst all others in most facilities. So let us find out how to streamline material handling during receiving.
Documenting the receiving process
Usually, organizations develop well-defined methods for processes such as order picking and packing while the receiving process gets developed on its own without much planning. So begin with documenting the daily activities of your receiving dock. Note each step from the arrival of the truck all the way through to when the pallets and boxes are moved off of the dock after processing and sent to a production line or storage. Analyze the data on how much time it takes to process a pallet, or unload a truck, how many people-hours required for a shift, how much workers need to walk, the location of key equipment, distance from the dock to rack or line, etc. Once you document and analyze the key details of how the process works, only then you can begin to make changes to streamline it.
Using barcode scanners at the receiving dock
A smart solution to expedite the receiving process is to use barcode scanners. You can use mobile computers with bar code scanners or RFID readers at the receiving dock to immediately identify products as they arrive. As a result, it is easier to remove products from the dock quickly and eliminate the errors that happen with manual receiving. These errors include identification, counting, and data entry errors. Moreover, the storage of valuable archived items can be changed by affixing RFID tags to each item and its container.
Using the right equipment
The right equipment at the receiving docks can make the process a whole lot efficient and faster. Handling devices such as power pallet trucks and conveyors allow you to unload cargo and clear dock areas faster and more efficiently. Another device is a dimensioner, which can automate the capture of weight and dimensions of parcels and pallets to speed up the receiving processing and obtain certified measurements. Additionally, labor management systems and dock schedulers make it easier to properly allocate the right number of personnel by accurately anticipating upcoming shipments. Lastly, there are mobile workstation solutions with attached printers. These allow you to print the labels quickly as and when needed while the printer can easily move from pallet to pallet where it is needed. The operator can move around a pallet while scanning and labeling simultaneously. They can then signal your lift driver to remove the pallet to its next destination.