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From the moment a warehouse receives a shipment of items, a series of procedures slowly start moving.

Even if your warehouse doesn’t have a specific term for this period, the process is known as goods-in-process and refers to any item that hasn’t landed at its destination yet. Even if your warehouse doesn’t manufacture its own items, any products that show up become ‘goods-in-process’ before they’re fully accounted for and placed in your warehouse storage.


This means that any item you handle, at various points in its journey, becomes ‘goods-in-process’. Everything you do with your items immediately after arrival from shipment, then, becomes part of how you handle goods-in-process, and these steps can impact how your warehouse performs and how quickly your items are processed through receiving.

In fact, by optimizing your goods-in-process management, you might be able to make things easier for the rest of your warehouse and speed things along for your inventory overall. For any goods-in-process management, you’ll want to start with your front of the line information, such as:


  • Order accuracy: Have you received the right items in the right quantity? Do you have a quick process for handling overages, shortages, or broken goods? (Do you have any process for handling order discrepancies? You’d be surprised how many warehouses don’t!)
  • Storage needs: Are these items staying at your warehouse for any amount of time, or are you cross-docking them for use at another store or warehouse? Do you have enough pallet racks or wire shelves to use for storing these goods if they need to be kept on-site for any amount of time?
  • Handling needs: Where will these items be going? Do you distribute product to other warehouses/retail outlets, or do you sell direct to customers? Do you need to provide further packaging or handling information once the purchase has been made?
  • Final destination: Once the items leave your warehouse, how involved do you need to be in the process? Are you prepared to take returns in the event of order mistakes or damaged items? Can you follow up on outgoing orders as needed?


It may sound like a lot, but that’s the trick to goods-in-process management. Being aware of these steps can make you better in-tune with the potential hazards or errors that may be encountered.

Document these steps, work with your staff, and make sure everyone knows how to handle incoming items the same way, every time. Once this is in place, you know your goods-in-process will be in safe hands—at least, until they get to the customer, that is.

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