Automotive Inventory: How To Receive Inventory and Reduce Errors

  Mike Bachara   |     Oct 04, 2021

Auto Parts InventoryReceiving automotive part inventory seems like a straightforward task, and can be when done properly. 

But it is also a common time for inventory errors to occur due to miscounts, inputting mistakes or having untrained staff receive shipments. That’s why, like anything you do in your business, having proper inventory processes and training are paramount. 

To help ensure your inventory is properly received and recorded to ensure inventory accuracy, you can follow three easy steps. 

  1. Organize your receiving space

Before you receive any parts, ensure your space is clear so that you don’t accidentally misplace a part. Start by removing any clutter that does not need to be in the receiving area. Then make sure you have designated areas for received and unreceived shipments and a clean space to open and count items. 

  1. Count the inventory 

Once you have cleaned and prepped your space, it’s time to start counting your inventory. To do this, you’ll need the packing slip that comes with most orders. If there’s no packing slip, you can reach out to the vendor to request a copy (or you can use the invoice). 

Once you have your packing slip, compare the parts you have received with the parts and quantities listed on the packing slip. Pay close attention to part numbers and descriptions to ensure there were no mistakes made when the boxes were packed.  

Make note of any missing parts or extra parts that aren’t on the packing slip. You also want to note any damaged items so that you or another team member can follow up. 

  1. Make sure you received what you ordered

Once you have ensured everything on the packing slip has arrived, you want to make sure that it matches your purchase order. There are a number of reasons you need to do this, including: 

  • Packing slips only show what could be picked and put in the box. Anything that wasn’t available at the time of shipment (i.e. backorders) won’t be listed. 
  • Large orders may be broken up into multiple deliveries so not everything may have arrived in the current shipment. 
  • Vendors make mistakes sometimes too. There may be parts missing from the packing slip or added on by mistake. There may even be transposition errors and the wrong number of parts were picked and delivered. 

If you only received part of an order, mark off what you did receive on the purchase order. This will make it easier to remember what you are still waiting for. 

If there are any differences between the purchase order and packing slip that don’t make sense (or you had any damaged items), now is the time to contact the vendor to inquire. 

If all of the items on the purchase order match the packing slip you are ready for the next step. 

  1. Input inventory into your software 

Now that you know how much inventory was received and have dealt with any discrepancies, it is time to enter the inventory into your computer software. This may include having the employee create an electronic receiving receipt or in a smaller organization, this may mean entering the invoice with the confirmed quantities. 

  1. Label your inventory and put it away 

Now that you know everything lines up it is time to tag and store your parts. At the very least, you should be putting the price and part number on your inventory. It may also be a good idea to include a short description, and the barcode if you use your own system. 

If products are too small for labels, put them in a container where they can be kept separate from other parts and label the container. 

After the products are labelled it’s time to get them into storage. To help minimize mistakes, make sure parts shelves and bins are properly labeled. You may also want to keep track of locations in your inventory management software to ensure parts are easy to find. 

  1. Audit all processes 

To ensure quality control it is always a good idea to have the parts manager spot checking the receiving process at different times of the month to ensure all steps are being followed. This may include counting the inventory before it is received or recounting received inventory before it is put away to ensure it was properly counted and recorded. As well as doing random inventory checks to make sure parts are in the correct location and properly labelled. 

This can help uncover any issues in the process and can help mitigate the risk of internal theft. 

For help uncovering issues in inventory management caused by your receiving process, contact us today

Guide to Optimizing Inventory MGMT

By Mike Bachara

Mike Bachara | Owner of Pro Count West
Mike Bachara | President Pro Count West

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