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Accounting Best Practices, Fifth Edition by Steven M. Bragg Englewood, Colorado

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16–9. Obtain Advance Shipping Notices for Inbound Deliveries

There is a great deal of in-house activity surrounding the receipt of goods, including possible cross-docking of received items to an outbound truck, the availability of dock doors, clearing of staging space, and arranging for prompt quality assurance reviews. This is especially difficult if the warehouse manager is not aware of the exact arrival time of inbound deliveries, resulting in a bedlam of unplanned activity when a delivery arrives. Given the difficulty of planning operations against uncertain delivery arrival times, there is an inherent level of inefficiency in the receiving operation.

A good approach for introducing more planning into the receiving function is to arrange for the receipt of advance shipping notices from the inbound freight carrier. This best practice is easiest to implement with the larger third-party freight haulers, several of whom have created onboard tracking systems that monitor their progress and make this information available to customers, either by telephone, proprietary network, or the Internet (mostly the last approach). If freight is not arriving by such a carrier, one can also arrange to have the supplier contact the company by any number of communication media to notify it of the approximate arrival time of a load, as well as the contents of that load. It is also possible to obtain system-to-system transparency of this information through the use of automated electronic data interchange ...

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