Outbound Operations: The Warehouse Dispatch Process

The warehouse dispatch process traces all outbound operations from the warehouse. This article looks at how the warehouse dispatch process is carried out in PALMS™ Smart WMS.

Warehouse Inbound Process Flow

A robust warehouse inbound process flow is essential for enhancing your business’s productivity. Depending on the specific challenges faced by your warehouse, you might need to hire additional staff.

The inbound process flow should encompass the following steps:

  1. Schedule All Deliveries: Avoid leaving delivery timing to chance, as this can lead to a crowded delivery area and delays in unloading pallets. Implement an automated scheduling system for delivery drivers or plan delivery days and times in advance.
  2. Designate an Unloading Area: Often overlooked, the unloading area is crucial in your inbound process flow. This space is dedicated to breaking down cases and transporting products to shelves.
  3. Implement Inventory Management: Simply shelving products is not enough; an inventory management process characterized by precision and speed is necessary. If products require special handling or storage conditions, these should be included in your process flow. Additionally, any specific storage needs, such as warehouse labels, should be part of the inbound flow.
  4. Update Your Reports: Your inbound process flow should include thorough documentation of products entering the warehouse and their subsequent storage locations. Whether managed manually or through an automated system, it is essential to have written records of all processed work.

Warehouse Dispatch Process and Outbound Flow

Grasping the warehouse dispatch process flow in your warehouse is vital for the success of your organization. This process is key to meeting the expectations of both distribution service providers and customers.

At a minimum, the warehouse dispatch process flow should involve the following steps:

  1. Establish a Packing Area: Ensure your warehouse’s packing area operates smoothly. Packing stations should be equipped with SKU numbers, barcode scanners, label printers, packing materials, and computers for processing orders. Always keep these stations well-stocked with e-commerce packaging to avoid delays.
  2. Set Up a Shipping Staging Area: This area is where completed packages are prepared for loading onto trucks. Efficient organization allows drivers to start loading packages immediately upon arrival.
  3. Track Shipping and Delivery Notifications: Utilize your warehouse management system (WMS) to monitor which products have been shipped and which are pending. Some WMSs also offer notifications when customers receive their orders, reducing the need for follow-up communication about packages. If there are issues with a package, contact your carrier for further information.
  4. Maintain Accurate Records: Your warehouse dispatch process flow should include detailed documentation of the products leaving your warehouse and their destinations. Whether managed manually by staff or through an automated system, it is essential to have written records of all completed work.

Video: Outbound Operations and the Warehouse Dispatch Process

The Warehouse Dispatch Process: An In-Depth Guide

Efficient warehouse operations are essential for maintaining a seamless supply chain. The warehouse dispatch process involves sales order processing, stock allocation, picking, sorting, packing, loading, invoicing, and dispatching, ensuring that products are delivered accurately and on time. Here, we outline each step in detail, highlighting the integration of technology and best practices to optimize these operations.

Sales Order Processing

The warehouse dispatch process begins with the creation of a sales order, which can be generated through multiple modes:

– Screen Entry: Manually inputting orders via a user interface.

– CSV/Excel Upload: Importing orders in bulk through CSV or Excel files.

– Integration: Automatically creating orders through integration with other systems, such as ERP or e-commerce platforms.

This flexibility ensures that sales orders are captured efficiently, catering to different business needs.

Stock Allocation

Once a sales order is created, stock allocation can be done based on predefined SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) rules:

– FIFO (First In, First Out): Allocates the oldest stock first.

– FEFO (First Expired, First Out): Prioritizes items nearing their expiration date.

– FMFO (First Manufactured, First Out): Uses the manufacturing date to determine allocation.

– Location Flush: Clears stock from specific locations.

– Combination Rules: A mix of the above rules to optimize allocation.

The system ensures that stock is allocated optimally across different units of measurement (UOMs), maintaining accuracy and efficiency.

Picking Instruction Creation

Based on the estimated time of arrival (ETA) in the sales order and the lead time for subsequent processes like picking, packing, loading, and dispatch, the system automatically generates picking instructions. These instructions are then assigned to a picking operator. 

In scenarios where the same team handles both putaway and picking, task interleaving is employed to opportunistically assign tasks, enhancing operational efficiency. The system selects an appropriate picking methodology based on order type and SKU characteristics:

– Wave Picking: For batch processing of multiple orders.

– Route-based Picking: Optimized for delivery routes.

– Bulk Picking: For large quantity items.

– Zone Picking: Dividing the warehouse into zones.

– Order Wise Picking: Specific to individual orders.


The picking task is automatically assigned to an operator, who receives a notification. An automated guidance algorithm helps identify and guide the operator on the optimal picking path. The operator executes the picking instruction by scanning barcodes, QR codes, or using voice picking instructions. Picked items are then moved to one of the following locations based on operational needs:

– Sorting Area

– Packing Area

– Dispatch Area

Sorting Operation

The system employs a guided sorting operation to sort SKUs belonging to different orders. This can be achieved through:

– HHT-based Sorting: Using Hand Held Terminals.

– Sort-to-Light: Using light indicators to sort SKUs order-wise.

Packing Operation

Packing is executed using HHT or screen operations. SKUs are packed into primary and secondary packaging and then further into transport packs. This step ensures that products are protected and consolidated for shipping.

Preparing for Dispatch

The system identifies the best freight forwarder for the shipment based on serviceability, volumetric weight-based pricing, fixed charges, and delivery lead time. It integrates with the freight forwarder’s portal to generate Air Waybill (AWB) numbers and print packing labels along with the packing list. Labels can be affixed manually or via a label applicator.


Packed SKUs are then loaded into the delivery vehicle, ready for dispatch.


At this stage, the system generates the tax invoice, which can be done within the system or by integrating with government portals to produce e-Invoices or e-WayBills. The invoice, along with the e-WayBill and packing list, is printed automatically.


When the vehicle reaches the security gate, a license plate reader automatically identifies the vehicle and retrieves its details in the system. The security personnel verify these details against physical documents, record important checklist parameters, and complete the vehicle-out process, generating a gate-out pass. An automatic email notification is sent to the customer, updating them on the delivery status.



Proof of Delivery (POD)

The final step is recording proof of delivery. The delivery partner uses a POD app to log the date and time of the delivery, the condition of the goods, the recipient’s details, phone number, and signature. This information is automatically updated against the order, ensuring a complete and verified delivery record.

By meticulously following these steps, warehouses can ensure a smooth and efficient warehouse dispatch process, enhancing overall supply chain performance and customer satisfaction.

Integration of Technology

Modern warehouses often utilize technology in the warehouse to streamline the warehouse dispatch process. This includes:

– Warehouse Management Systems (WMS): Software that manages and optimizes the entire warehouse dispatch process and outbound operations, from picking to dispatching.

– Barcode Scanners and RFID: Devices that enhance accuracy in picking, sorting, and tracking items.

– Automated Sorting Systems: Machinery that can sort items quickly and accurately based on predefined criteria.

– Real-Time Tracking: Systems that provide real-time updates on the status of orders throughout the warehouse dispatch process.

Software utilizes modern technology to streamline the warehouse dispatch process. Warehouse automation machines can sort items quickly and accurately based on predefined criteria. The warehouse dispatch process is managed and optimized, from picking to dispatching. Picking, sorting and tracking are performed with greater accuracy. The system also ensures that you have real-time updates on the status of orders.

To learn about the receiving and putaway process, visit our blog.

Warehouse Dispatch Process FAQs

What are the 5 major warehousing processes?

The five warehousing processes are:

  • Receiving
  • Putaway
  • Storage
  • Order Picking
  • Shipping

What are the main four flows in a warehouse?

The main four flows in a warehouse are:

  • Financial flow
  • Material flow
  • Data flow
  • Documentation flow

What is warehouse order processing?

Warehouse order processing refers to the activities involved in receiving, managing, and fulfilling customer orders within the warehouse. It includes tasks such as order verification, allocation of stock, order picking, packing, and preparing the order for shipment.

How to automate the warehouse dispatch process?

There are multiple ways to automate warehouse processes. Some of them include software while others rely on robotics. The goal of these technologies is to partially assist the staff or fully replace some functions. Here are some popular ways to automate the warehouse management process.

Mobile Robots. The main purpose of collaborative robots is to increase staff productivity and accuracy. 

Drones. Drones are primarily used in warehouse scanning. Warehouse drones are equipped with scanners capable of using barcode, RFID, or other technologies.

Voice picking and tasking. These solutions improve the communication between employees and are among the most common ones.

Goods-to-person (GTP) solutions. These systems deliver goods to employees for packing and assembling. Conveyor systems are an example of such technologies. Nowadays, automated storage and retrieval solutions (AS/RS) are the modern equivalent of GTP systems.

What are the trends in warehouse dispatch process management?

The warehousing industry is changing rapidly, just like everything else. Here are the main trends in the warehouse management process.

Automation. Drones, robots, and driverless forklifts are just a few examples of recent automation technologies with multiple applications in warehousing.

Internet of Things. IoT solutions help monitor and control the environment. IoT also helps with inventory management and real-time data tracking.

Sustainability. A lot of businesses aim to reduce their ecological footprint. That’s why sustainability is a trend in warehousing as well. From energy efficiency to waste reduction, there are many ways to achieve sustainability.

Bhanu Vedantam

Bhanu Vedantam

To speak to the author on this topic, you can contact him at [email protected]



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