Receiving and Putaway

Receiving and Putaway
It is very difficult and/or expensive to recover from receipts that do not comply with receiving guidelines and very difficult and/or expensive to recover from inaccurate putaway. Receiving and putaway sets the performance and practice tone for the entire warehouse. I am sure you are familiar with the expression, “Garbage-In-Garbage- Out”. The expression applies perfectly to warehousing operations. If we receive “garbage" in the form of damaged and non-compliant product in damaged and non-compliant packaging then we will no doubt ship “garbage" in the form of damaged product and inaccurate orders. If we allow damaged or inaccurate deliveries in the door, we are likely to ship damaged or inaccurate shipments out the door.
The world-class receiving principles presented here are a sure defense against inducting inefficiencies. The principles and practices are meant to serve as guidelines for streamlining receiving operations. They are intended to simplify the flow of material through the receiving process and to insure minimum work content and time is required.
In optimized receiving, receipts and their appropriate resources are scheduled, follow the minimum cost flow path, are processed at the dock that minimizes putaway time, and are inspected, dimensioned, and weighed in process. Putaways are prioritized, executed immediately upon receipt, directed to optimal locations, combined with retrievals to maximize labor and equipment utilization, batched, sequenced, carried out with the appropriate material handling equipment, and verified.
The following world-class receiving and putaway practices described here are:
  • Receiving Flow Optimization
  • Direct Shipping
  • Cross Docking
  • Direct Putaway
  • Receiving Scheduling
  • Inbound Dock Assignment
  • Automated Unloading
  • Delivery Quality Compliance
  • Automated Receiving Inspection
  • Inbound Cubing and Weighing
  • Pre-packaging
  • Direct, Directed Putaway
  • Batched, Sequenced Putaways
  • Automated Putaway
  • Interleaving and Continuous Moves
Receiving Flow Optimization
The performance of any system diminishes with increasing complexity. Supply chain logistics systems are no different, where the number of handling transactions is one of the greatest contributors to system complexity. Hence, minimizing work content, mistakes, time, and accidents is accomplished in supply chain logistics by reducing handling steps.   The figure illustrates the reduction in handling steps that can be achieved by applying advanced receiving and putaway practices.
  • Direct shipping bypasses the warehouse completely requiring two touches; one to load the outbound truck at the origin and one to receive the inbound truck at the destination.
  • Cross docking requires six moves with product moving directly from the inbound dock to the outbound dock.
  • Direct primary putaway requires eight touches and checks to see if there are any empty primary locations and directs putaways to those locations, thus bypassing receiving inspection, putaway, storage, and replenishment.
  • Direct secondary putaway bypasses receiving staging and inspection and moves product directly from unloading into reserve locations.
  • Traditional receiving requires receiving staging, receiving inspection, reserve putaway, and replenishment to a primary picking location.
There are many more opportunities to mis-handle, mis-place, mis-coordinate, and/or mis-communicate in twelve handling steps than there are in ten, eight, six, or two. The costs of those extra steps are reflected in the receiving flow optimization we recently completed for a large food company. It includes the number of touches, inventory days on-hand, damage percentage, fill rate, and cost per case related to direct shipping, cross docking, direct-primary-putaway, direct-secondary- putaway, and traditional receiving. The cost per case ranges from a low of $0.83 per case with direct shipping to $3.56 per case with traditional receiving.