Best Practices for Sending Inventory to ShipBob
Updated on October 5, 2021.
Storing inventory might seem like a simple process — you order products from your supplier, get it delivered to a ShipBob fulfillment center, and ShipBob places the items on a shelf. In reality, receiving is a comprehensive process that must be done accurately to set fulfillment operations up for success. How ShipBob receives inventory will impact other areas of the supply chain and customer experience, including inventory tracking, picking, packing, and shipping.
Warehouse receiving is the first step of the fulfillment process and refers to delivering, unloading, and storing inventory in ShipBob’s fulfillment centers. Following our warehouse receiving process can help make inventory management and downstream fulfillment tasks easier, more cost-effective, and more efficient.
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Warehouse Receiving, Defined
Warehouse Receiving Order (WRO): A WRO is a required digital record submitted through the ShipBob dashboard that should correspond directly with the physical inventory that you are sending to us.WROs let our team know what exactly is being sent to our fulfillment center(s). They provide us with information like each item’s name and SKU, and it also lets us know how much of each item is being sent to us.
Unidentified Receiving Order (URO): When incoming shipments cannot be properly received due to missing/inaccurate information, we will pause the receiving process and move the boxes/pallets to an on-hold receiving area and status. This will create an Unidentified Receiving Order (URO) in the ShipBob dashboard, which pauses the SLA and charges $25 per day until it is resolved. Every order in On-Hold Receiving is assigned a URO Tag number.
Box Label: A box label is the packing list containing the box barcode and products listed. It is generated when your WRO is submitted and should be shared with your supplier or manufacturer so they can add it to the outside of the appropriate box.
Shipment Label: The shipment label is provided by the carrier (you can purchase labels through ShipBob in your dashboard or generate a pre-paid label directly from carriers) and adhered to the outside of the box. Make sure to attach this label to the correct box that corresponds with the information you entered in your WRO.
Parcel:Parcel shipments are packages of inventory in boxes, typically weighing less than 150 lbs.
Palletized Containers: Palletized containers are shipping containers with pallets loaded onto the container floor. Palletized inventory are sets of boxes or products placed onto a pallet and typically held together with plastic wrap or metal straps.
LTL: Less-than-load (LTL) is a freight shipping method for 1 to 6 pallets of inventory.
Floor loaded containers: A floor loaded container is a shipping container with items loaded directly onto the container floor without use of pallets.
Checklist for Sending Inventory to ShipBob
Warehouse receiving involves several key steps that must be followed exactly to ensure we plan accordingly for your inventory to arrive and receive the right items and quantities that were expected. We’ve created this best practices checklist to help you optimize how you send inventory to ShipBob.
Enter accurate data when submitting your WRO
Ensuring a smooth and fast receiving process starts with submitting your Warehouse Receiving Order (WRO) in the ShipBob dashboard. Make sure you are providing accurate information for:
Please specify which ShipBob warehouse you are sending inventory to by selecting the warehouse location from the dropdown.
Add the item or items you are sending to ShipBob.
Make sure you enter the correct quantity you are sending.
💡Pro Tip: We highly recommend utilizing barcodes to support inventory accuracy. If you have barcodes, make sure that information is populated in the ShipBob dashboard. Learn more.
- New products: If you are sending a new product to ShipBob, you will need to sync your products from your store or add your new products to the ShipBob dashboard before you can add them to your WRO.
- Expiration Dates: For items with expiration dates, make sure you add correct details for:
- Lot number
- Lot expiration date
- Dangerous Goods: For dangerous goods, make sure you label your products appropriately and acknowledge that you have done so via the popup box.
How you’re sending the inventory to ShipBob:
Choose your shipping type and specify how your inventory and shipping are configured.
Choose your shipping type:
💡Pro Tip: If you’re sending a parcel specifically within the United States, you can opt to purchase ShipBob labels with discounted ShipBob carrier rates through your dashboard. We recommend this to make it easier to send inventory to ShipBob, simplify your WRO creation, and automatically provide ShipBob with critical carrier and tracking information.
- Palletized Container or LTL
- Floor loaded container
- 1 WRO per container is required.
💡Pro Tip: If you’re sending palletized containers, LTL, or Floor loaded containers, make sure to book an appointment here for the fulfillment center to ensure you reserve a dock door.
Specify how your inventory is configured:
- One SKU (per box or pallet)
- Multiple SKUs (per box or pallet)
💡Pro Tip: One SKU per box is the recommended configuration because we do not need to sort out multiple SKUs and we can receive your products faster to make them available for fulfillment.
Specify which labels you will be using (parcels only):
For parcel shipments, choose between:
- Discounted printable shipping labels from ShipBob (origin US only).
- Enter in the origin address for your supplier or US warehouse.
- Use your own labels.
Specify how your shipping is configured:
- Enter the total units per SKU and number of boxes or pallets containing this quantity.
Estimated date of arrival
Add the estimated date when you expect your inventory to arrive at the ShipBob fulfillment center.
Review & submit your WRO
Double check all your inputs, submit your WRO, and click to confirm.
Download box labels.
Provide carrier and tracking information for your WRO.
As soon as you have tracking information for your WRO, navigate to the Warehouse Receiving Order page in your dashboard, select the WRO, and add the carrier name using the dropdown, and add the tracking number in the designated field.
When you provide this information, we mark the inventory as “Arrived,” which starts the receiving process and the receiving SLA to hold us accountable.
💡Pro tip: If you buy labels from ShipBob, this information is automatically populated in the WRO Details page for each box.
Book a freight appointment with the fulfillment center
If you’re sending pallets and/or containers to a ShipBob fulfillment center, make sure to book a freight appointment with the fulfillment center to ensure we save a dock door so your inventory shipment is not turned away upon arrival at our fulfillment center.
- An Appointment Plus account (the third-party ShipBob uses for this process) is required to book dock appointments. You can create one when you book your first appointment.
- Make sure you set this appointment as soon as possible to ensure there is availability at the designated fulfillment center on your desired date and time.
- Contact [email protected] if you have any questions about setting a freight appointment.
Attach box and shipping labels
ShipBob uses your box, pallet, and/or container labels to physically identify your inventory upon arrival at our fulfillment centers.
When box labels are missing or cannot be scanned, receiving is delayed and we process inventory through the Unidentified Receiving Orders (URO) flow.
There are two types of labels you need to attach when sending your inventory to ShipBob (both of which must be adhered externally on the box, making sure barcodes are not covered):
- Box labels: Generated when WRO is submitted, the two-page PDF containing the box barcode and products listed should be shared with your supplier or manufacturer so they can add it to the outside appropriate box. Starting October 4th, 2021, all WROs will leverage our new digital record format. This new format means that Box label PDFs will now have two pages: (1) The label with barcodes that must be attached outside of the WRO box but will no longer have inventory items and quantities listed (as pictured below) and (2) An optional packing slip that will list out inventory items and quantities to ensure you and/or your manufacturer/supplier are attaching the labels correctly to the right box/pallet (this is NOT required in your WRO). We will scan barcodes (digital records) on WRO box labels to support editability and timely receiving by having the most accurate information available (instead of relying on packing slips in case changes are made).
- Shipping labels: Provided by carrier and adhered to the outside of the box. Make sure to attach this label to the correct box that corresponds with the information you entered in your WRO.
💡Pro Tip:Make sure you place the shipping and box labels on the outside of each box to ensure ShipBob can identify your items and receive them quickly.
If neither box labels or shipping labels are available, we cannot receive your inventory and will create UROs. This will result in additional fees and delays for your inventory to be available for orders to be picked and fulfilled.
Quick tips for avoiding UROs
Unidentified Receiving Orders (UROs) are created when we cannot receive your inventory according to our process because instructions were not followed. UROs cause the receiving process to be paused until you resolve them. This is done to ensure that the inventory received is accurate and we can avoid downstream issues. You will receive an email when a URO is first created in your account and then a daily reminder email for 14 days until the URO is resolved.
The most common scenarios that lead to UROs and how to resolve them are outlined below.
Missing or unscannable barcodes:
The WRO box, pallet, or container did not have any labels attached, or the barcodes on the labels could not be scanned.
|Make sure you attach both the box and shipping labels externally, and make sure all barcodes are not covered and are fully visible for our team to scan upon arrival.|
Inventory arrived without a WRO in the ShipBob dashboard.
|Submit a WRO every time you send inventory to a ShipBob fulfillment center.|
Unknown items contained in the WRO:
This can occur when you include a completely new SKU, or if you did not add items to the WRO and they arrived at a ShipBob fulfillment center.
Ensure you are adding all items to your WRO.
In the event that your supplier notifies you of a change, you can submit a new WRO with correct details.
If you are sending a completely new SKU, you must add the new product to your ShipBob dashboard before submitting your WRO.
Higher than expected inventory quantity:
If the actual inventory counted is 10% or 25 units higher than expected (what was given in the WRO), then a URO will be created for the additional inventory.
Ensure the quantities entered for your products in the WRO are accurate before you submit the WRO.
Other incorrect information:
Examples include a physical barcode did not match, the lot and expiration dates were incorrect, etc.
When submitting your WRO, make sure that you enter correct details for lot and expiration date when applicable.
If you submit errors and would like to correct them, simply create another WRO with accurate details and delete the original WRO.
Each URO has to be linked to a new WRO in order to be resolved and continue the receiving flow. Learn more about UROs here. If you expected your inventory to be received and have noticed delays, make sure to check if you have any outstanding/unresolved UROs here.
In addition to this page, you may wish to bookmark the following important resources:
- ShipBob dashboard: Where you log in to your ShipBob account.
- Help Center: ShipBob’s knowledge base filled with how-to’s, FAQs, and in-depth guides.
- Office hours: Live working sessions offered Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Support contact info: The various ways to reach out to the ShipBob Merchant Care team. Note: Support hours are 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Central, Monday through Friday.
- ShipBob SLAs: ShipBob’s turnaround times, policies, and SLAs.
- Your pricing plan: How to calculate shipping rates and where to find your pricing plan.