(FS7) Procedures for Receiving Merchandise at Your Franchise

By the time you’re receiving merchandise, you should have an office to keep your paperwork in. Before you have an office, you should be working on some sort of organizational system for any and all your paperwork because by this time you will already have a small collection of it from the franchisor, the contractors, and any consultants you have. You’ll now need a filing bin for your receipts for merchants. You should already be collecting receipts from your lawyers, consultants, the franchisor, and the contractors. It’s important to keep all receipts and organize them for the sake of taxes.


It’s particularly important for you to keep merchant receipts and make notes of missing shipments or bad quality in supplies because this will take a severe hit to your finances if not corrected immediately. Your franchisor should present you with a list of procedures for maintaining your inventory. You should follow it just to make things easier on all of you. If you’re not given inventory procedures, ask other franchisors what they do during training, research it, and then create one on your own using all the resources that you collected. Here’s a quick run-through of ideas:


Receiving Deliveries

One of the worst day-to-day problems that a retail franchise of any kind will face (aside from the grouchy customer) is running out of product. Here are some tips to make receiving deliveries easier if you’re just starting out:franchise


  • Schedule Deliveries in Advance

Don’t wait until you have next to nothing or until the shelf is completely empty to make your next order. It might take you a bit of time to get into the groove of how quickly your product goes and when you should order, but you should never let yourself run out of product or to order last minute. Many vendors will even set up scheduled deliveries for the same time every week, bi weekly, monthly—whatever. Just make sure to communicate with your vendor and make sure they deliver in the way you’re thinking. This should be found out when you are locating a vendor for your store.


  • Don’t Let Vendors Park In Front of Your Store

This blocks off traffic for your customers. Most franchises and stores have a separate loading dock of some kind for vendors to use.

  • Have Vendors Bring Delivers Into Your Store Before You Check Them


  • Check that All Merchandise is For Your Business


  • Have All Vendors Check In and Out

This will help keep track of who has been entering and exiting your building in case something goes wrong. You will also be able to track which vendor visited your store on which days, which can be helpful if you have multiple vendors. Don’t allow vendors to stock shelves or remove boxes unless you are able to check both before the vendor leaves.


  • Watch Helpers

Whether it’s the vendors or vending assistance, supervise them as they handle the goods in your store, especially if they open boxes, stock, or take boxes out.


  • Put Perishables Away Immediately


Checking the Goods On-Site

Whenever you make an order, you should be told how many boxes you should be expecting. When you receive the delivery, it will be important to go through what you have received and log what’s good and what’s not. Sometimes items go missing, they never get shipped, or they go bad during transition and that makes it all the more important to check the inventory when it comes in. Here are some tips for checking merchandise on receiving it:


  • Look for Damage Immediately

Some products, particularly food items, can become dangerous if they are damaged or bad in some way. If you have ordered anything delicate like electronics, it will be important to note those damages as close to delivery time as possible so you can inform the vendor. The longer you wait, the less they can be held liable.


  • If You Notice Any Boxes That Seem Like They’ve Been Resealed,  Open Them and Check for Damage


  • Check the Date Code on Every Product Every Time

The ‘sell by’ dates should always give you reasonable enough time to sell the product when you receive them. Make note of any products that do not give you less expected time to sell.


Verifying Invoices at Your Franchisefranchisee

As much as every franchisee (and everyone) hates paperwork, it’s one of the most essential parts of keeping any business running and in order. By keeping track of invoices you can prevent financial losses. Try some of these tips to make it easier:


  • Verify every delivery item on the receipt with all the physical boxes or items you received in the delivery.

They should all have shipping numbers on them that will be reflected on the receipt. Use it to match each to make sure you got every one of your expected items and check them off as you go down the receipt.


  • Always keep the delivery receipt.


Make a place in your files for your receipts and keep it. Never return it to the vendor.


  • If the vendor makes a substitution on a product that you were not informed of by your franchisor, call your franchisor or their consultant and verify the substitution is legitimate.


  • If there are any items missing from your shipment, have the driver mark on the receipt that the item was “short” and how much was missing.


Have the driver sign the delivery receipt before he leaves and file it.


Read More From Franchise Series 7: