Receiving products is one of the trickiest but most important jobs any warehouse can do – and this goes double for 3PL vendors.

If you serve as a third-party logistics vendor for an external company such as a retail company or product manufacturer, you know how crucial it is to get orders right and keep products flowing both into and out of your warehouse.

Handling product from another provider can come with its own set of challenges and requirements that can change based on your role in the distribution process. If you want to make sure you’re receiving your products as effectively as possible, here’s three tips to help keep things moving:

Understand your role in the process

3PL warehousing providers tend to do a lot more than just offer warehouse space. Depending on where they factor into the lifespan and shipping process of the products involved, your warehouse may fulfill additional roles, including:

  • Assembling units together
  • Shrink-wrapping goods or packages
  • Repackaging

Above and beyond the standard warehouse storage you’ll need to store and manage products, you may need to provide workstations, warehouse office space, and other fixtures to help your team get the products ready to go and assembled safely.

Plan for where the products will go

If you work as a 3PL provider, you’re probably dealing with products from a variety of different partners and distributors. It can save you a lot of time in the long run by figuring out where each of the products need to be stored before they hit the warehouse.

Do you deal in bulk stock that needs to be used at a later date, that can be kept on pallet racks away from the standard picking area? Can items that will be picked more often or needed sooner than others be kept in warehouse picking bins in a convenient area that your picking team can get to more easily? Make sure you can divide your products easily and quickly to help them get picked as easily as possible.

Figure out how the products will be counted and inspected

In a 3PL warehouse, products will probably be checked more rigorously and more frequently than in other types of warehousing operations to make sure orders are accurate and inventory levels are correct. Above and beyond counting the products when they arrive for both correct levels and to check for damage, make sure you have a plan in place to do counts of any of your 3P items as needed. If your vending partners have a timeline that needs to be adhered to during your partnership, make sure to schedule cycle counts or other appropriate counting methods that line up with these timelines.

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