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Receiving Goods

How to Properly Receive Merchandise


When the products arrive, they may be in plastic containers, cardboard cartons, wooden crates or other packaging. Some merchandise may be on hangers, other items may be on pallets. Keep in mind that a receiving area is designed to receive, not warehouse merchandise. Each step of processing freight should be done quickly and efficiently.

Begin receiving orders by:

  • Confirming the number of cartons match the quantity on the bill of lading
  • Examining the containers for signs of damage, including leaks, tears or broken seals
  • Verify the weight, if necessary, matches the amount charged

Any discrepancies should be noted on the freight bill before signing. The retailer is responsible for the entire shipment, as-is, once the receipt for goods is signed.

Large shipments should be sorted as the cartons are unloaded. Having like merchandise grouped together will make the remaining processes of receiving merchandise much easier.

Checking In Freight

Once the shipment has been accepted, the next step of processing freight is checking in the merchandise. Some vendors may mail an invoice separately from the shipment. A packing list is often included with the goods. The two documents may look similar but wholesale product prices and shipping costs are generally excluded from packing lists. Many retailers opt to continue the checking in process only after the invoice has arrived.

Start the process of checking freight by comparing the vendors invoice against the store's purchase order to insure:

  • Prices and additional terms of sale are as agreed upon
  • Quantities received by the retailer match purchase order
  • Product styles, colors, sizes received are identical to purchase order
  • Merchandise quality equals, or exceeds, the buyer's expectations

Problems and discrepancies should be documented and reported to the proper party responsible. Cartons missing or damaged in transit become the responsibility of the freight carrier or transport company. Vendors and manufacturers should be notified if the order is of poor quality, incorrect quantities, missing or wrong merchandise. Be sure to obtain a resolution to any problems before continuing to the next process of receiving freight.

Next: Pricing Merchandise...

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