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What are Loading and Shipping in a Warehouse Management System?

Part 8 Back to Basic - Loading and Shipping in WMS

Loading process is to load the physical inventory into a truck or a container, where shipping is to confirm the inventory loaded into the truck has already left the warehouse. The difference is that after loading, the inventory is still in a warehouse, but after shipping, the inventory is no longer in the warehouse.

When an order is picked, the picked items are usually placed temporarily at the staging area of a warehouse. With many picked orders lying at the staging area in a busy warehouse, it can be very overwhelming if it is not well managed.

A huge Staging Area in a warehouse full of products using AC2 WAVE Warehouse Management System
AC2 Group - Staging Area in a warehouse

When a truck is assigned to pick up for delivery in a warehouse, that delivery can be for one order, but often enough, a truck is to pick up for more than one order. After the goods are loaded into the truck (loading), the truck leaves the warehouse (shipping), reaches the destination, unload the goods and handover them to the recipient (delivering).

The loading feature records the name and time of the people involved in loading the items into the truck. The shipping function records the truck detail such as driver name and helper, the time the truck enters and leaves the warehouse. The delivering function tracks the trace movement, the arrival time, the GPS location, photos and signature of the person receiving the items.

Loading and Shipping are functions of a Warehouse Management System(WMS). WMS manages operation in the warehouse, so at the moment the truck leaves the warehouse, that is the end process of a WMS. The delivering is usually handled by another system such as an Electronic Proof of Delivery system.

If you are operating an eCommerce warehouse, the operation is a bit different which may not require features of loading, shipping & delivering. For most of the eCommerce warehouses, after picking and packing, that is the end of a warehouse process. The packing process usually includes either printing or applying a shipping barcode for tracking purposes, and the delivery is usually handled by courier companies such as FedEx, DHL or SF.

If you are purchasing a WMS, my recommendation is to always get one that has (or will have) the shipping & loading features. The reason is that if you are operating a warehouse, why do you want to limit your capability to only eCommerce? You want to ensure you can respond to opportunities when they knock on your door.

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Read more on What is Warehouse Management System:

In addition to the tips outlined in this article, there are many valuable resources available to help you improve your operations. One book we highly recommend is 'Dodge It If You Can' by David Mouland and Aw Yang Uei. This book presents a real-life collection of anecdotal incidents from industry veterans who have built their careers from scratch, providing practical insights into navigating the challenges of business. Whether you're just starting out or looking to take your warehouse management to the next level, 'Dodge It If You Can' is a must-read for anyone interested in improving their business operations.

Click here to look at some good warehouse management systems.

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