Receiving Function in Warehouse Management


In the contemporary industry, the operations for high-velocity grocery warehouses need the proper utilization of management systems to ensure the quality of products. Furthermore, contemporary facilities have to take the needs of the clientele base into account to be competitive in the market. For retail grocery warehouses, it is essential to keep track of the state-to-art technologies and digital innovations to successfully control the functions of the management system. However, taking the complexity of the subject into account, the current work focuses only on the receiving process of warehouse management and attempts to critically analyze and provide recommendations concerning the reception function in a high-velocity retail grocery warehouse.

Key Performance Metrics of the Receiving Function

Concerning retail grocery warehousing, one of the primary processes is the receiving of the goods. In general, this function refers to the whole process from the notification about the arrival of merchandise to the stage of storing the production (Bartholdi & Hackman, 2019). The efficiency level of the process can be measured in several ways; for instance, by using key performance indicators (KPI). According to Sunol (2021), the primary KPIs concerning the reception function are the following: cost, productivity, cycle time, door utilization, and accuracy.

The first KPI regards the overall expenses of the receiving process of each working line in the warehouse, while productivity establishes the amount of merchandise received per hour by a single employee (Sunol, 2021). The cycle time refers to the estimated interval to process each receipt; door utilization reports the number of entrances to the warehouse involved in the reception; accuracy presents the percentage of correct receipts (Sunol, 2021). Overall, the mentioned KPIs comprise the primary assessment of quality and efficiency control in the receiving function of the warehouse management.

Other Key Functions of the Warehouse Management

While the receiving process is the primary focus of the paper, all the functions of the warehouse management are interconnected and influence each other; therefore, to understand the purpose and potential downfalls of the reception function, it is essential to provide a short yet concise description of other segments as well. Other primary processes include storage, handling, distribution, and reverse logistics. The grocery retail store can use manual storage systems or automated technology such as retrieval software to improve efficiency. The warehouse should only accommodate the goods for a short period of time to minimize spoilage since prolonged storage periods include extra expenses (Beitzen-Heineke, Balta-Ozkan & Reefke, 2017).

The packing process impacts lead time requiring greater accuracy to improve reduced-order return rate and customer dissatisfaction. Similar measurement indicators can be used, such as productivity, accuracy, labor and equipment utilization, and picking cycle time (Gözaçan & Lafci, 2020). The growth of the roles and responsibilities of the warehouse due to the advancement of the supply chain creates an extra function – distribution. The assessment might be performed by order lead time, fulfillment, and backorder rate to determine its relevance and efficiency.

Principles of Warehouse Layout and Design

The design and layout of the warehouse play a significant role in the receiving function since a proper plan might assist to minimize cost and potential risks concerning the production yet also maximize the KPIs of dock door utilization and receiving cycle time. The layout should meet the contemporary requirements of the warehouse management and take into account parameters, such as the type, weight, dimensions of the production, and the number of stock-keeping units (SKUs) (Richards, 2018). Furthermore, the design of the warehouse should be changed periodically to keep utilizing its storage facilities optimally (Liu, Yao, Zeng & Luan, 2019).

There is also a need to provide material handling equipment that considers the dimensions of the warehouse and the goods stored (Huang, 2019). Groceries are extremely delicate and require special type shelving to avoid damage. Modern automation systems can be installed, such as robots and conveyor belts (Mourtzis, Samothrakis, Zogopoulos & Vlachou, 2019). It is essential that the executives follow the mentioned recommendations in the initial stages of building a warehouse.

When designing the plan of the warehouse, the management must also consider and make space for packing stations. The areas for intermediate picking are normally overlooked; nevertheless, they play a vital role in the management. Moreover, the spacing should allow for multiple movements within the pathways (Žunić, Delalić, Hodžić, Beširević & Hindija, 2018). The SKUs accumulation should be considered against the available storage space regarding the slow-moving and fast-moving SKUs (Deng, Mao & Gan, 2018). Overall, the layout of the warehouse is essential for the effective functioning of the receiving process.

Assessing the Efficiency of Warehouse Design

It is necessary to check the effectiveness of high-traffic grocery warehouse design concerning the receiving function. For instance, the executives might need to check whether the warehouse meets the requirement of the output ratio (Pyza, Jachimowski, Jacyna-Gołda, & Lewczuk, 2017). Another way to check the effectiveness of the system is to evaluate the accessibility of the products and whether they are easily moveable by the available equipment (Jachimowski, Gołębiowski, Izdebski, Pyza, & Szczepański, 2017).

Moreover, one can check for the presence of lags when allocating the SKUs (Lewczuk, Kłodawski & Jacyna-Gołda, 2018). When employees struggle to find empty slots during the receiving process, it demonstrates that the spacing is not enough. It becomes problematic because the lags interfere with other departments within the warehouse increasing overall cycle time (Pokrovskaya & Fedorenko, 2019).

The chaos resulting from the limited SKU slots lowers efficiency since the arrivals of new consignments prompt reshuffling over and over again, leading to wasteful redundancy. Therefore, the design and layout of the warehouse must be thoroughly analyzed to meet the requirements of the receiving function and all the consequent processes.

Impact of the Receiving Function on the Management System

A well-implemented reception function promotes an effective workflow in the consequent phases, such as put-away, storage, handling, distribution, and reverse logistics. Therefore, while accounting for about 10% of the warehouse management processes cost, the receiving stage lays the foundation of the whole operation (Bartholdi & Hackman, 2019). The system ensures smooth working, which benefits the organization from the economic perspective, and improves customer service. The warehouse management also helps in identifying bulk locations when the product is being received and the quantity available in storage, as well as providing options for both paper and digital receipts (Kusrini, Novendri & Helia, 2018).

Another significant implementation that is interconnected with the receiving function is the inventory system, and it assists with proper material handling and safeguarding of inventory specifically designed for side loading in small quantities (Hamdy, Mostafa & Elawady, 2018). Ultimately, proper utilization of the receiving function should be the primary focus of warehouse management due to its impact on the consequent processes of the operation.

Furthermore, the receiving process is necessary for the functional implementation of logistics management. In case the verification stage identifies defective goods, it is necessary to document them and send the damaged commodities back to the supplier or to other storage. The effective receiving process is also necessary to maximize the speed of identifying and shipping the production, and, therefore, minimize the inactivity time of the shipping personnel. This, in turn, would assist in decreasing the cost of transportation and improve the overall performance of the framework. Therefore, the receiving function is essential to the functioning workflow of logistics management.

Innovative Means of Improving Quality Management

As mentioned prior, receiving is the most crucial process in warehouse administration and is actively influenced by digital management. The facility must assess the quality of the production and confirm that it meets all the requirements for storage to perform effectively. The obligatory specifications are the following: quantity, condition, time, and quality (Sureddy & Yallamula, 2020).

A failure to assess these parameters might have a negative impact on the future operations of the warehouse as well as the other processes, such as packing (Panfilova, Dzenzeliuk, Domnina, Morgunova & Zatsarinnaya, 2020). Therefore, the executives are accountable for maintaining the satisfactory state of goods until shipping and need to implement advanced technologies to identify, filter, and dispose of the damaged commodities to avoid taking liability for them.

It is essential to optimize the warehouse receiving process to improve the efficiency of the whole operation since it directly affects the consequent functions. The executives are required to continually analyze the workflow, search for innovative ways to improve the system and implement state-of-art technologies in the framework. One of the potential risks could be addressed by avoiding accumulation at the receiving docks. Groceries are highly perishable goods and, therefore, it is essential to increase the speed of transportation to avoid spoilage of the production. The usage of conveyors and power pallet trucks is useful in unloading and clearing the docks quickly (Kinnunen, Marttonen-Arola & Kärri, 2020).

Moreover, dimensioners can be used to automate the capture of the size of parcels and weight to obtain certified measurements and receiving processes (Alsultan, Jun & Lambert, 2020). Additional means include application software such as dock schedulers and labor management systems to allocate the right number of personnel according to the anticipated shipments. Therefore, innovative technologies might greatly assist in the proper utilization of the reception function and improve the overall performance of the warehouse.

Recommendations for Improving the Receiving Process

Various mechanisms can be put in place to enhance the quality of the management system of high-velocity grocery retailing and particularly in the receiving phase. The initial stage of the reception function concerns the communication with the suppliers, and, therefore, several adjustments might be implemented in this area. According to Sunol (2020), it is essential to collaborate with the providers of the goods and coordinate the following information: position and information of the labels, the type and amount of cargo, and the dimensions of the production. Taking these factors into consideration, it is possible to maximize the speed of the reception function.

Consequently, it is vital to properly estimate the number of hours and labor force for the receiving process to avoid insufficient or excessive allocation of resources (Sunol, 2020). Considering the pre-receiving phase, Smith and Srinivas (2019) propose four strategies for faster check-in processes: improvement of the parking space for trucks, implementation of single and multi-attribute dispatching rules for the staging areas, and automation of the operation. Overall, these recommendations describe several methods to improve the quality of the pre-receiving phase.

The consequent part is the actual receiving stage, and there are several guidelines that should be followed to improve the efficiency of warehouse management. First of all, it is essential that all production is thoroughly inspected and documented to avoid damaged commodities and unnecessary risks. Therefore, the clerks need to separate the quality goods from the defective ones, so the management can send the unfit products back to the supplier (Critiquing your warehouse, n.d.). Furthermore, it is necessary to properly identify the goods and consequently document them in the databases of the warehouse (Newcastle Systems, 2016).

Another argument concerns maximizing and optimizing the available areas, particularly the use of vertical space, for a more effective and convenient receiving process (Berkdemir, Atak & Cebi, 2020). For instance, the management can add taller storage units with compatible equipment to pick and store grains or vegetables on such heights. Ultimately, the mentioned recommendations might greatly improve the performance of the receiving function and warehouse management as a whole.


Summing up, the receiving process plays an essential role in the overall performance of the warehouse management system and significantly influences the quality of production and consumer experience. It is the initial stage of the operation, and, therefore, ensures the effective execution of the consequent functions, such as handling or reverse logistics, which, in turn, decreases the cost of the transportation framework and enhances the relationship with the clientele base.

The current work also demonstrates the significance of the receiving process, the primary ways to assess the effectiveness of the function, the purpose of design and layout of the warehouse, describes the impact of reception on the management and logistics, and provides guidelines for better optimization and performance of the receiving operation.


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