Incoming Shipments America Today

How do you check on your received goods?

Verifying incoming shipments: a retailer’s headache or piece of cake?

By Steffie Broere

September 25 2020

In today’s retail environment, inventory accuracy is key. Being one hundred per cent sure your inventory is spot-on starts with knowing what enters the back door. Here’s a question: how often does your store staff actually check your incoming goods? And if they do, what is the amount of time spent making sure you receive what you expect?  

An increasing number of retailers choose to expand the traditional role of stores. Bricks-and-mortar stores are now used as mini-DCs where Omni-orders from Click&Collect/BOPIS and ship-from-store are fulfilled. This stresses the need for adequate replenishment to make both your online and in-store shopper happy. No packed stock rooms, just enough to make sure the right item is always available. Having access to insights on incoming deliveries from the distribution centres and knowing they contain the goods you are expecting to receive ensures 100% accuracy of new store stock. 

America Today store

Goods receiving used to take two hours, but now it’s like five seconds

Charlotte den Heijer
Merchandise planner, America Today

How do you check on your received goods?

Envision the packing list that comes with each shipment. What do you do with it? You basically have 3 options: 

  1. Trust that every link throughout the supply chain functioned flawlessly and just put the production on the shelf  
    This implies the risk associated with inaccurate replenishments and any mistakes or losses are simply accepted. For example, a commonly made mistake is an employee at the production site or distribution centre who accidentally puts 49 shirts in a box instead of 50.  Inaccuracy occurring at source, during transport and or in a distribution centre ends up causing inaccuracy in store and can’t be traced and accounted for anymore.
  2. Grab a pen, go through your incoming shipment by hand and cross off everything you receive
    For many retailers, validating received goods is still a manual process, A time-consuming and labour-intensive process. Every item needs to be unpacked to retrieve size and product information. ​ This process creates confidence that all items put on shelves are the items that you were expecting to receive from your distribution centre. Missing or excess items can be reported and this keeps your incoming stock clean. The question remains, is it worth the extra costs to check thoroughly?
  3. Skip the paperwork, let technology do the counting
    Time is money. The more time store staff have to serve customers, the more profitable a store is. Lean store operations are key to maximizing time spent making customers happy. Having RFID in place enables retailers to check incoming shipments within just a few seconds, receiving swiftly and accurately. Or as one of our valued customers in The Netherlands, America Today, states: “Goods receiving used to take two hours, but now it's like five seconds”. 

Watch the full America Today case study video:

Verifying incoming shipments with RFID

Many brands and retailers are starting to adopt or have already adopted RFID. The main purpose of the technology is optimizing store and supply chain processes, which includes verifying incoming shipments.  

Using RFID technology, goods can be received in a lean yet effective way. With just a few clicks and a quick scan, newly received boxes can be added directly to the store’s inventory. Cartons can be received with or without unboxing, at any time, to any place within the store. This will help the store correct errors created earlier in the supply chain before the newly received goods are added to the store stock. This, in turn, allows you to reach the high inventory accuracy you want.

Moving to real-time stock

After receiving, goods are added to the EPCIS repository (e.g. Nedap iD Cloud). This platform provides a standardized single point of integration to business and consumer applications for complete supply chain and inventory visibility in real-time. It monitors the inventory transactions and movements from all related sources as they happen and can provide accurate stock information to relevant back-end systems, such as an order management system. This way, you always know what you have in store. 

Steffie Broere - Customer Success Manager
Customer Success Manager
Steffie Broere