Dock to Stock: Successful Inbound Logistics

The fulfillment lifecycle begins when product arrives at a fulfillment center and is received into inventory.

The fulfillment lifecycle begins when product arrives at a fulfillment center and is received into inventory. This crucial first step sets the tone for inventory accuracy and operational success (our Shipwire Receiving Guide dives into the nitty-gritty details and specifications of all inbound logistics, helping set up your inventory for success). Since global facilities experience high inbound and outbound volumes daily, organization and operational procedures are essential and our receiving process is methodical, repeatable and scalable. To enable the best experience for your brand, it’s important to plan ahead and allow inbound operations teams to pre-assign storage locations, which will allow them to move inventory as efficiently as possible using the fewest resources. Following a few simple guidelines will help our operators meet all of your service needs.

Plan ahead of time

Success begins before inventory arrives at the warehouse dock. Be sure to ship inventory to the warehouse well before reaching your restocking minimums and anticipate higher volumes around peak season, marketing campaigns or flash sales. Around the holidays, it’s also important to consider warehouse closures and receiving cutoffs. Peak inbound shipping occurs from September through November, during which time many of our facilities require that delivery appointments be scheduled in advance. Shipwire can enhance your overall performance and end-customer experience during peak season by generating volume and order forecasts to support inventory decisions.

Keep us in the know

To send products to our facilities, you need to create an Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN) in your Shipwire account. We require that all shipments have an ASN label and that all master cases, inner packs and base products are labeled with barcodes and base unit quantities. When tracking or Bill of Lading (BOL) information is added to the ASN, it will push the inbound shipment information to our warehouses, allowing us to plan storage in advance. The BOL details the type, quantity and destination of the product being shipped and serves as a receipt of shipment when your products are delivered. If you are unable to provide the necessary tracking information prior to shipment to our facilities, it can be entered later. However, valid tracking must be included at least three days before the shipments scheduled arrival. Inventory that arrives at the warehouse without a valid ASN is subject to be turned away and returned to its origin. Providing the necessary information ahead of time prevents any potential errors, delays and additional labor fees.

Package and label correctly

Our facilities have specific requirements regarding barcodes, labels and packaging for all layers of your inbound shipment: pallets, master cases, inner packs and base products. Compliant labeling enables efficiency and lets our operators quickly identify the contents and quantity in each shipment without needing to open master cases or inner packs. Not only is this important for the safety of your inventory during shipping and storage, it’s also imperative to ensure the systematic intake of your inventory into our Warehouse Management System (WMS) and the Shipwire Platform. Any inbound shipments that do not comply with our labeling requirements will be subject to labor fees to correct faults and will result in delays. You can create barcode labels yourself or use the label tool in the Shipwire Platform. To access the label generator, log into your Shipwire account and navigate to Product Catalog > Select Product > Download Label. Be sure to download the base product label and pack boxes as described in the Shipwire Receiving Guide.

Cross-Border Paperwork and Compliance

Inventory must arrive clear of customs, duties and tariffs. You must be the ultimate consignee and take responsibility for customs duties to ensure the shipment clears as standard receiving. To satisfy documentation requirements for a received shipment, you must provide the correct Importer of Record and Tax ID information. To understand the regulations and help you navigate the inventory import process, we recommend you work closely with a customs broker. Failure to meet these requirements may result in inventory being denied, significant delays and/or additional fees charged.

Coordinate Delivery

We suggest working with your freight forwarder to determine who will set up a delivery appointment for the inbound shipment. When sending shipments, please note specifics around scheduling an appointment based on the location you are shipping to in the Shipwire Receiving Guide. Each location varies, so we encourage you to review the information in the receiving guide to understand requirements, forms and any additional information needed for scheduling a delivery. By following these tips and requirements, our team is able to forecast our labor needs and dock space. It also allows the inbound operation to pre-assign storage locations, make better use of resources and move inventory as quickly and safely as possible.

When efficiently prepared, quickly processed and properly accounted for, your products will move seamlessly through the receiving and fulfillment processes and your customers will enjoy prompt and accurate shipping.

Looking for a 3PL provider that checks all the boxes?

Shipwire is set up to enable brands and retailers to scale. With 200+ pre-built connectors, you can get set up quickly and integrate easily with retailers, marketplaces, shopping carts and other commerce tools. We focus on the end-to-end customer experience by prioritizing connectivity, transparency and consistency in every customer relationship, and we adhere to Lean Six Sigma best practices to ensure operational excellence.

Backed by Ingram Micro’s 40+ years of operational experience and a network of U.S. and global fulfillment centers, we’re ready to help you elevate your business. If you’re looking to improve your current fulfillment processes, get in touch with us today.

Casey Billings
Senior Product Marketing Manager at Shipwire
Casey Billings is the Senior Product Marketing Manager at Shipwire. Her work is devoted to product and feature launches, demand generation and understanding how our products make our customers’ lives easier. She’s previously spent time on our Global Account Management team, gaining a better understanding of our customers’ point of view and experiences first-hand. She has a passion for customer communications and nerdy product launches, as well as, tennis and hiking in the Pacific Northwest.
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