Lean Warehousing: "Improve your receiving performance"

Lean Warehousing: "Improve your receiving performance"

The receiving function is usually that part of your business which operates at a hectic pace behind the scenes to make stock available for your customers. To understand the real worth of your recieving function, an analysis needs to be undertaken to identify performance road blocks and implement steady change to remove the noise. By applying the principles of lean warehousing, your organisation will be able to unlock the hidden potential for improvement, utilising resources, processes and equipment to their capability. The core focus is to remove delays throughout each process and increase the order fulfillment level that drives customer satisfaction.

Improve receiving processes by emiminating waste

Every process and sub process needs to be documented, understood, and followed by all receiving personnel. Whether you are receiving a delivery, unloading a vehicle, using the right materials handling equipment, completing delivery paperwork, sorting and matching items to invoices through to putting stock into your warehouse and cross docking, the receiving function requires the highest level of coordination and discipline to be efficient and effective. Following processes not only increases productivity levels, but identifying and documenting process delays will further enhance the overall performance and move towards best practice. The following are core areas of focus to remove process waste:
  • Over production
  • Waiting time
  • Unnecessary movement (Materials)
  • Over Processing
  • Excessive inventory
  • Unnecessary movement (People)
  • Production of defective products


Competency based training programs | CERT IV

With every discipline and specialty, it is important to have the right mix of skills and level of competency for each task that needs to be performed at a high level within the receiving function.By developing competency based training programs, business are better placed to match the skill levels against the competency level and focus on bridging the performance gap for each individual. A visual control is more effective as it shows all members of the receiving team on the one page, their current level, work-in-process and planned assessments for completion.

Improve systems performance

To allow for ease of use, it is important to limit how much information is not only accessible for the receiving person, but also the volume of information displayed on a screen for processing. Most systems tend to display every field on the screen which can complicate the process and only results in delaying the processing time for booking in stock. Use of radio frequency systems can streamline the process further, but again is dependent on the quality and accuracy of the barcode which is either scanned from an inbound source product or labels printed and applied internally within receiving.

The right warehouse Infrastructure

It is important to have the right layout for the receiving function that works within the physical constraints of the warehouse i.e. position of columns, clearance between aisles, clear access to warehouse door, clearance between rack and sprinkler systems etc. The right type of materials handling equipment needs careful consideration as investing in the wrong type of forklifts can severely impact on the cycle time for receiving as well as the cost to the operation.

Lean warehousing: "Results of improvements within receiving function"

By following a structured program of planning, evaluating, implementing and monitoring, we have proudly contributed to delivering change and improvement in a number warehouse operations. Through tailored assessments and implementation programs, processes have been improved and supported by integrated supply chain technologies for further warehouse optimisation. Here are some improvement deliverables:

  • Improved cycle time within recieving function
  • Implemented EDI functionality to integrate ERP orderflow
  • WMS implementation delivers centralised control
  • RF scanning to support all aspects of warehouse processing
  • Implementation and modification of sortation systems
  • Warehouse layout modification improves goods flow
  • Reduction in overall supply chain costs
  • Implemented standardised performance metrics