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What is Inbound Flow?

Inbound flow refers to the process where items arrive in the warehouse and reach the storage area. It includes items’ arrival, registration, etc., till it reaches the storehouse. It also refers to the rate of the oncoming flow of products within a specific time frame.

A consistent inbound flow promotes a balanced processing lifecycle and optimum use of resources. 

Significance of Inbound Flow in an E-commerce Shipping and Delivery

Inbound flow is crucial as it allows a warehouse manager to understand the oncoming flow that requires management and subsequent delivery. The following benefits accompany a well-optimized flow. 

  • Efficient processing: An accurate idea of an inbound flow allows a warehouse to free up resources to ensure efficient processing and faster turnaround times.
  • Balancing outbound flow and optimum use of resources: Inbound flow allows a warehouse manager to balance resources, and further optimize and schedule the outbound flow in a warehouse. It also ensures that the resources, such as the workforce, stocking shelves, and other related assets, are constantly used in equilibrium. 

Prerequisites of Inbound Flow and How It Works

The requirement of an inbound flow primarily depends on the order rate and allocation of a shipping company’s services. Along with the current and projected order rate, a shipping company can decipher its historical data to identify the inbound flow. 

  • Container preparation and arrival date allocation: A container is prepared with multiple products, and according to the freight transit time and outbound flow, the arrival date is selected. The rest of the shipping and subsequent processing cycle follows through. 

Use Case with Inbound Flow

For example, a warehouse with a stocking capacity of 10,000 products can process within seven days. Accordingly, the warehouse has partnered with two shipping companies with an inbound flow of 4,000 and 5,000 products weekly. Therefore, with a weekly inbound flow of 9,000 products, the warehouse processes 9,000 products within seven days and expects another 9,000 to be shipped. 

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