Goods Flow Management

Planning Reception

In an ideal cargo reception process, incoming shipments should be arranged prior to the delivery vehicle arriving and information on incoming shipments should be communicated to the warehouse team in advance. Ideally, the consignment contents and volume, and possibly even a scanned copy of a packing list and/or waybill will be communicated in advance as well.

  • If a single organisation is moving cargo between two warehouses/storage locations it directly manages, it should be relatively easy to provide advanced delivery information to the receiving location.
  • If the warehouse in question is receiving cargo from outside sources such as a vendor, agencies should endeavour to obtain as much information as possible up front.
  • In any situation, vehicles approaching the warehouse or storage facility should be instructed to call at least one hour in advance to ensure the warehouse can adequately receive and offload the vehicle. In storage facilities with busy operations, the vehicle will need to be scheduled for a specific time for offloading.

At Cargo Reception

Steps to take at the point of receiving cargo into a warehouse facility include:

  • The weights and volumes for each line item are recorded.
  • Full count is conducted against the waybill. Discrepancies between the piece count and the waybill or damages should be noted on the waybill.
  • All incoming items should be inspected. 
    • Items with expiration dates should be recorded on both stock cards and the warehouse ledger, and compared against any purchase orders or packing lists.
    • Dangerous items should be properly recorded on stock cards and the warehouse ledger, properly labelled, and properly segregated according to their storage needs.
  • A goods received note (GRN) for the received items is generated.
  • Items are placed in appropriate, corresponding place in warehouse/stock room.
  • Physical copies of the GRN and Waybill are backed up in a secure location in the office warehouse.
  • As item are placed in the warehouse, stock cards should be updated. If no stock card yet exists, a new stock card should be generated.
  • Shipments arriving without prior notification may be rejected, depending on security, warehouse capacity and policy of the organisation.
  • If damaged or expired items are received, the items should be rejected and returned if possible. If not possible to reject items (internal transfer) damaged or expired items should be separated from the main consignment and placed in a well-marked location, to be repaired or disposed of later. 

Planning Dispatch

Much like planning cargo reception, there are steps that warehouses and organisations can take to plan for cargo dispatch as well:

  • Cargo dispatch should be planned in advance and communicated to the warehouse.
    • A formal release order should be authorised, and relevant warehouse staff be issued a formal pick order
    • Warehouses should be given time to pull down cargo, compile shipments, and stage for pick up.
  • If at any time a dispatch is not possible (damaged, expired items, or item cannot be found) the requesting party should be notified, and the release order modified. 
  • Vehicles arriving for pick up should be known and scheduled in advance. Vehicles arriving for unplanned cargo pick-ups, or arriving announced for planned cargo pick-ups may be delayed or rejected based on the policy of the managing organisation.

At Cargo Dispatch

Steps to take at the point of releasing cargo from a warehouse facility:

  • A physical piece count on the consolidated cargo is conducted to confirm correct number.
  • A waybill or a goods released note is generated (if required by the terms of the movement), containing information on the released cargo, dates, and names of person releasing and driver picking cargo up.
  • Stock cards and inventory ledger updated with the new piece counts.