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The Case for a “Supersized” Receiving Area

Inadequate receiving space can trigger inefficiencies and errors; don't let other functions "borrow" receiving space

Dock door in a receiving area

Receiving is an often-overlooked but critical component to warehouse workflow. Receiving  mistakes can flow through every other aspect of your operation.

If you can’t quickly and accurately break down landed shipments and send them to effective putaway, you can sabotage every other aspect of the operation. It has a direct impact on inventory accuracy (and security – in fact receiving is an area of particular vulnerability), throughput, and accurate fulfillment. Too little receiving space tends to become a root cause for many errors and throughput headaches.

Sadly, many operations consider receiving areas as “free” space, forgetting that it is critical space for maintaining operational continuity and flow. People consider it “free” space, when it’s anything but.  Since receiving areas are often empty floor space, it’s tempting to “steal” that space for other functions. Temporary inventory stacked into receiving area floor space can cause issues when a shipment — or a number of them — hit the docks. When crunch times come, that lack of physical footprint can be a real problem.  Where does the temporary stock go then?

Make sure you maintain enough space to service your incoming shipments

Ideally you’d like floor space enough to service every receiving door you have, but that may or may not be adequate if the putaway function is time consuming. If you’re simply slotting the pallet so it can be loaded into bulk storage, that’s one thing. If it has to be broken and its contents distributed to many locations, it may occupy that space for much longer.

Room, or lack of it, is often an issue for receiving, as we are often talking large quantities of unbroken, wrapped, and banded pallets. These areas can use tweaks such as empty pallet storage racks to quickly remove dead pallets from the area. They can also benefit from extendable conveyors that help quickly empty trailers or broken pallet contents.

The flexibility to use receiving area space in a temporary role is a good thing. Just be certain that what’s “temporary” stays temporary.  


Scott Stone Cisco-Eagle's Director of Marketing. He has over 25 years of experience in the industry.