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How Orders are Processed in a Warehouse: From Order to Dispatch

Ethan Townzen
Written by
Ethan Townzen
Published on
July 10, 2024
Orders being processed in a warehouse

We process millions of orders in our warehouses at Buske Logistics for clients such as PepsiCo and Golden Valley Food every year. How orders move through our warehouses is a complex with many moving parts.

Using our warehouse in Tampa, Florida, as an example, we will provide a comprehensive look at how orders are processed on a daily basis. 

Key Steps in Warehouse Order Processing

In the fast-paced world of logistics, our  warehouse in Tampa or any other location plays a vital role in fulfilling orders quickly and accurately. When an order comes in, the clock starts ticking. From picking and packing to shipping, each step must be meticulously managed.

Step 1: Transmitting an Order to the Warehouse

The process begins when an order is placed, typically through an e-commerce platform or a business's ERP system. This order is then transmitted to the warehouse management system (WMS) via EDI or an API connection and to the transportation management system (TMS). Once an order is transmitted, the clock starts:

WMS

The WMS acts as a book of record for all of the inventory in a warehouse and facilitates the preparation of a given order.

  • Order Entry: The WMS captures the order details and validates them against inventory levels.
  • Stock Availability Check: The system checks if the items are in stock and allocates the required quantities for the order.

TMS

While the WMS system is preparing the picking and preparation of the order, there is also a process involved to make sure the truck is there to pick up an order when it’s ready. 

  • Tendering an order: Based on a previously build route guides that are typically conducted on annual basis, an order is tendered to a preferred group of carriers for pick up. The information transmitted to the carriers include where it’s going, commodity, pick up date, delivery date, and customer. This is typical in large scale operations; otherwise, eCommerce orders may be taken to a local post office or pickup scheduled with a postal carrier.
  • Auction: If one of the preferred carriers doesn’t accept a load, the TMS or transportation clerk will typically send that load out to auction to vetted brokers or other carriers that have capacity. While convenient, it typically comes at a higher cost.
  • Dock Scheduling: Once a carrier has accepted a load, the TMS will typically autogenerate dock appointment for the carrier from what’s available. For example, we use C3 Solutions for our dock scheduling needs.

Step 2: Order Picking

Once validated, the order moves to the picking stage. Order picking is the process of retrieving items from their storage locations. This can be a manual or automated process, depending on the warehouse's infrastructure.

  • Pick Lists: Generated by the WMS, these lists guide pickers on which items to retrieve and from where.
  • Picking Methods: Warehouses might use various picking methods like batch picking, zone picking, or wave picking to optimize efficiency.
  • Quantity picked: Depending on the end customer, quantities that can be picked include a full pallet, a case of product, or individual units.

For instance, Buske Logistics uses Made4Net’s WMS to automate the order-picking process. This technology increases efficiency and reduces downtime, ensuring that items are picked accurately and quickly.

Step 3: Order Packing

After picking, items are moved to the packing area. This is typical only in eCommerce where cases are broken apart to retrieve individual items and have to be repacked. 

In the order packing step, orders are carefully packaged to ensure they are secure during transit. Proper packing is crucial, especially for fragile or high-value items. 

For example, when handling delicate bottles for Yuengling, Buske uses specialized packaging materials and techniques that significantly minimize the risk of damage. Our approach to packing and labeling ensures that orders arrive safely and in perfect condition.

  • Packed: Carefully placed into packaging to protect them during shipping.
  • Labeled: Shipping labels and any necessary documentation are added.

Step 4: Quality Control

Before WMS solutions were an option, orders were physically checked for the correct SKUs and quantities. With the advent of automated picking procedures using scan guns, it leaves very little room for error to require a quality check.

  • In modern day WMS solutions when an operator scans and moves an item, any information that held in the database is transferred from a storage location, a forklift or operator, and then ultimately to a truck where it is dispatched from the system. 

Step 5: Order Dispatch 

Once the order passes all other steps, it is ready for dispatch. Orders are sorted based on their delivery location, pick-up appointment, and carrier. At our warehouse in Tampa, we have robust relationships with multiple carriers, ensuring flexibility and reliability in shipping options.

  • Shipping: The order is handed over to a carrier for delivery.
  • Tracking: Both the warehouse and the customer can track the shipment until it reaches its destination.

Step 6: Delivery and Customer Satisfaction

The final stage is delivering the order to the customer. Larger customers and carriers will send back what’s called a POD or proof of delivery. For larger customers like Walmart Distribution Centers, that can be a simple scan from the forklift driver that sends a signal to the shipper’s ERP, WMS, and TMS that this order has been received. For eCommerce and smaller customers, that could simply be a picture that is sent by the carrier to a recipient’s email address. 

If an order has a different quantity than what was delivered, a process will start to correct the right quantities. 

How Buske Logistics Handles Order Processing

We pride ourselves on our efficient and reliable order processing capabilities. Our warehouse in Tampa and other locations are equipped to handle high volumes with precision and speed.

  • Client-Centric Approach: We tailor our warehousing and logistics services to meet the specific needs of each client, ensuring seamless integration into their supply chain. 

For example, when working with PepsiCo, we seamlessly integrate our systems to manage their high-demand inventory, ensuring their products are always available and delivered on time.

  • Advanced Technology: Utilizing the latest in warehouse automation and management systems, we guarantee accuracy and efficiency in order processing. 

For instance, when we partnered with Molson Coors, we integrated advanced warehouse management software Made4Net that automates inventory tracking and order picking. 

This system enables real-time monitoring and precise handling of their extensive product range, significantly reducing errors and speeding up the order fulfillment process.

  • Scalability: Our temporary storage in Tampa options provide the flexibility to scale operations as needed, accommodating both short-term and long-term storage requirements.
  • Expertise and Reliability: With over a century of experience and a commitment to excellence, we ensure that your orders are processed efficiently and accurately. Buske Logistics operates 30-plus locations across the US and Canada, working with multiple Fortune 100 companies. Our extensive network and proven track record make us a reliable partner for all your logistics needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the main steps involved in order processing in a warehouse?

Order processing typically involves receiving the order, inventory management, picking, packing, quality control, and shipping. Each step is crucial for ensuring that the order is fulfilled accurately and efficiently.

2. How can I ensure my warehouse processes are efficient?

Implementing advanced technologies like automated order management systems, efficient inventory control, and automated picking can significantly improve efficiency. Partnering with a reliable provider like Buske Logistics can also ensure high standards and reliability.

3. Why is quality control important in order processing?

Quality control helps to ensure that the correct items are shipped in good condition, minimizing returns and enhancing customer satisfaction. This step is vital for maintaining a positive customer experience.

Partner with Buske Logistics for Seamless Order Processing

Efficient order processing is critical for any business relying on warehousing. From the moment an order is received until it is dispatched, each step must be carefully managed to ensure customer satisfaction. 

Buske Logistics provides comprehensive warehousing and logistics solutions that streamline this process, offering robust warehouse services in Tampa and beyond.

If you are looking for a reliable partner to handle your warehousing and order processing needs, look no further. Our expertise and advanced solutions can help you achieve operational excellence and meet your customers' expectations consistently.

Contact us today to discover how we can support your business needs.