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Shipping and Receiving Process Workflow: A Closer Look

The shipping and receiving process is vital in shipping and logistics

  • Written by Alex Dolce
  • Published on December 27, 2023
  • Time to read 9 minutes

Introduction

The shipping and receiving process is vital in shipping and logistics. Without it, we wouldn’t be where we are today in our e-commerce and digital world (especially with online ordering and shopping). From order placement to final delivery, this integral process is a complex web of interconnected stages. So, we’re here to simplify that process for you. This blog looks at the various steps in the shipping and receiving process workflow that keep businesses running seamlessly. That way, you can better understand the fulfillment process as a whole. 

So, let’s go over the ‘flow!

1. Order Placement and Processing

To start, an order needs to be made in the process of shipping and receiving. So, the first step of the process kicks off with a customer placing an order! This order is done through one of many channels, whether online platforms, phone calls, or face-to-face transactions.

Next, the channel enters the order details into the system for processing, marking the beginning of the logistical journey.

2. Picking and Packing:

After an order is made, the next step in the workflow begins. So, this scene happens on a warehouse floor, and the spotlight shifts to warehouse staff. This staff picks the items for the order from inventory shelves.

After the picking, the items are sent for packing. In this stage, packers ensure items are accurate and well-protected for the upcoming journey.  Overall, this entire process is known as “picking and packing” and is the heartbeat of the supply chain.

3. Shipping Label Generation and Shipping

After picking and packing, the flow progresses to generating shipping labels and sticking them to packages. Shipping labels show all the information about the order’s destination, shipping method, and tracking number. Therefore, they’re super important to the shipping process overall.

After labeling, the orders are handed to the carrier they’re traveling with. Thus, this initiates the actual “shipping” part of the process that transports the goods from the warehouse to the customer’s doorstep.

4. Tracking:

Once the actual shipping of the orders starts, a tracking number comes into play. Customers get a unique tracking number for their specific order. With this, they can check their shipment’s status and location in real-time, ensuring their package arrives when they’re expecting it.

5. Receiving and Inventory Update:

As orders get closer to their destination, the carrier/deliverer checks the package to ensure it’s suitable for receiving. To do this, the delivery person compares the items in the package with the packing list.

At the same time, the reviewer updates the inventory management system, offering a real-time snapshot of stock levels for the warehouse to reference.

6. Quality Checks and Order Fulfillment Confirmation:

Quality checks take center stage in this step of the shipping and receiving workflow. These checks are there to ensure quality and that items meet standards. Plus, this step adds an extra layer of assurance.

Once the goods pass inspection, the system generates an order fulfillment confirmation, informing the customer that their order receiving and processing has been successful.

7. Returns Processing and Reporting:

In the event of a return, this situation flips the workflow. So, it changes from provider to customer, to customer back to provider. This process involves events like return authorization, shipping back to the warehouse, inspection, and subsequent inventory updates.

After the return, regular reports help analyze the efficiency of the shipping and receiving processes. Therefore, it helps identify issues and proposes optimizations and things to fix for continuous improvement.

Now that you know the shipping and receiving process workflow, you hopefully better understand the supply chain overall and how it works. 

Conclusion

In the dynamic world of commerce, shipping and receiving are very important for businesses that want to provide a seamless customer experience, minimizing mistakes. Businesses can meet and exceed customer expectations by understanding and optimizing each stage of the workflow. Plus, they can maintain accuracy in inventory management. When finely tuned, the shipping and receiving process workflow becomes a strategic asset. Thus, it contributes to the overall success and growth of the business. So, if you’re a business owner wanting to make the most of your supply chain, think of how you can make the most of the shipping and receiving process workflow!

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