Receiving and Shipping Function of Materials Management

The principal function of receiving and shipping include deliveries of inbound and outbound freight, inspection, and transfer to and from storage.  Efficient processing of materials at these points is essential for effective stock control, production, and customer satisfaction.

Receiving takes delivery of inbound shipments and releases and materials to inventory.  The major responsibilities include:

  1. Control and scheduling of deliveries.
  2. Accurate checking and recording of shipments received.
  3. Preparation for handling and storage.

Whenever possible, deliveries should be scheduled to balance the workload throughout the day.  For instance, deliveries from local vendors should be requested for the morning hours so that sufficient personnel and equipment are available for processing outbound shipments, which normally peak later in the day. To plan for receiving activities, supervisors should review information due in from purchase orders, bills of lading, or vendor notices of shipment to determine approximate dates of arrival.  This enables storage space to be planned for large shipments or expeditious processing of back orders that may be urgently needed by production.  All shipments received should be given a thorough and accurate inspection.  Prior t to acceptance, each shipment should be physically checked against the freight bill, bill of lading, or other delivery document, as well as the purchase order.  Any discrepancies or damage should be noted so that legal recovery of damages can be processed.  Quality inspection may be the responsibility of the receiving department or may be performed by a separate quality-control function.  In any case, items for which quality control is essential should be tested for acceptance.  Once the materials have been unloaded and accepted, they are prepared of release to storage.  This may involve labeling or repacking and palletization. Of course, handling is reduced if items are immediately palletized during the unloading operation.

Shipping is responsible for:

  1. Preparation of material for shipment.
  2. Inspection of outgoing freight.
  3. Loading onto transport vehicles.

Proper packaging is essential for delivery of goods on time and in usable condition.  Failure to control packing can result in replacement of damaged shipments and unnecessary transportation costs, as well as loss of customer goodwill.  The two basic principles of packaging are:

  1. Proper selection of the container or packaging materials.
  2. Use of the best packing methods.

In selecting a container, we must consider such factors such as size, weight, shape, fragility, and value of the item and the costs of possible containers.  The container should be the smallest size that will adequately protect the item.  Items may be packed in boxes, crates, or bundles.  Cushioning material is normally used for interior protection.  A variety of automated pacing machines and fastening systems are available for efficient packaging.  Inspection of outbound shipments is similar to that of checking incoming freight.  Any discrepancies must be adjusted or changes made to the shipping documents before the shipments are turned over to the carrier.