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Deliveries—every warehouse gets them, everyone has their own way of dealing with them, and every different delivery makes its own impact on your warehouse.

And while all products are different and requires different handling steps, there’s a lot that can be done to make your warehouse more ready for deliveries. By taking proactive steps to make your warehouse more able to receive shipments (and working with your 3P providers to streamline the process by which they arrive) you can keep your warehouse more organized, more productive, and overall easier on everyone.


Get an idea of every shipment you’re due to receive

In too many cases, warehouse managers aren’t totally up to date on what products they’re expecting or what’s due to arrive at their warehouse. Work with your usual shipping provider (or your three biggest ones, in cases where you get a lot of product from a lot of sources) to get accurate, detailed bills of shipment to understand what you’ll be getting, when you’ll be getting it, and if you’ll have to sign for it when it arrives. A lot of delivery day chaos can be prevented by knowing which shipments the managers will have to be there for in person.


Delegate receiving authority

On that note, it might also be a good call to get someone who can sign and be responsible for packages when they show up just in case you can’t be there all the time. Keep your employees aware of upcoming deliveries (especially larger ones and/or ones with more vital items) and make sure there’s someone there that can take charge if you’re unable to be there and sign for it.


Know where everything is and where everything should go

Of course, after the shipments have arrived safely, there’s always the matter of putting them away correctly. Make sure you have plenty of wire shelving and industrial shelves set up at your receiving area to keep your products organized and arranged correctly before they go off to their final destination, and make sure all products are counted and tracked on their way to whatever shelves they need to stay on.


Prepare for snags in customs

Half the battle is getting packages into your warehouse in the first place, and nowhere is this more evident than in the unending battle with U.S. customs. Customs clearance can be one of the most frustrating parts of receiving shipment, and there’s really no good way around it. Try to work with suppliers that will let you declare your goods online to shave a little time off the process, and always have a contingency plan for any shipment that gets tied up in customs on its way to you.


Keep a clear line of communication with your customers

Whether you sell direct to consumers or you work to distribute product into retail locations, keeping your clients and customers aware of what items are due down the pipe is key. Whenever you get updated shipping information about key inventory items, pass it along to the customer so they know when they can expect it. And if you hit any delays, honesty is the best policy; a delay in shipping will eventually be forgotten, but if the client feels like you’re withholding information about when their items are due in, you run the risk of dissatisfied customers—customers who might not come back.

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