Global Material Handling System Integrators

Material handling receiving operations for product returns

I was talking to a long time client in the computer printer industry the other day and it reminded me of a problem his company was having with product returns in the receiving operation. All of his returns, about 250 boxes, would arrive on his dock at 9:30 am each day. The shipping company would take the individual boxes out of the truck one a time to be scanned for verification and just set the boxes in the receiving area where ever they could find space. As you can image, this created a huge mess with boxes all over the place sitting on the floor waiting to be processed and really hindered the receiving process for other shipments. The process involved opening each box to make sure what was in the box was the same product that the customer told them they would be returning. The company had already issued credit back to the consumer before receiving the return so this was a very important step. Once the product was processed it was then determined if the products should be scrapped or could it be repaired. The process took several minutes for each return thus the receiving area all had boxes sitting on the floor and was very disorganized. The solution we came up with was actually quite simple. It was determined to have a receiving associate meet the returns shipment at the dock each morning and when they arrived he would stack all the scanned boxes on several pallets to get them off the floor. The pallets would then be stored in pallet racks until they were ready for processing. The cleaned up the receiving area and gave the company the flexibility to process the returns at any time during the day since they did not have to do it immediately to open up floor space in the receiving area. A change in process was all that was needed.

Author: Gregg Durham


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