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Automated Inbound Pallet

Today, the inbound pallet receiving process is entirely manual.  Forklift operators drive into an inbound container or truck, pick up a pallet and bring the pallet in through the dock door. The pallet is placed down, then an associate (or the driver) examines all visible faces of the pallet to identify the right barcode label and scans it using a barcode scanner. The pallet is also usually dimensioned and weighed, also manually.  This process can take 3 minutes (or longer) per pallet and occupies the time of both the associate, driver and MHE (Material Handling Environment). Additionally this process takes up valuable space at the receiving dock.  In most cases, the pallet needs to be inspected for damage, which is also time consuming.  In the event there is damage, the process of capturing images or “proof” for insurance or dispute resolution can further take up an associate’s time.

What is inbound pallet receiving and how can it be improved
Labor intensive pallet receiving can be improved through the use of automated pallet scanning and inventory processing

PalletSCAN: Automating and Digitizing the
Pallet Receiving Process

Automated inbound pallet receiving
VIDEO: Automated Inbound Pallet Receiving Demonstration

Vimaan’s PalletSCAN solutions completely automates, streamlines and digitizes the inbound pallet receiving process  This reduces  labor and MHE requirements, reduces clutter and real estate usage at the receiving gate, and provides extensive searchable data that can be used for subsequent dispute resolution or analytics. Vimaan sensors automatically scan pallet labels from all five visible sides of a pallet, inspect for damage and even measure package dimensions – all from simply driving or walking through a “gate”.

Pallet Receiving Implementation

Vimaan automates the inbound pallet receiving process using a combination of sensors, cameras and proprietary computer vision and machine learning technology.  The solution comprises two components:

  • In order to read the face (side) of the pallet that is facing the forklift driver (and is therefore obscured by the forklift), cameras and sensors are mounted on to the forklift.
  • In order to read the other four visible faces of the pallet (the top, the sides, and the “back face”), Vimaan’s sensors and cameras are mounted on a “gate” that is designed to fit around the dock door, or can also be placed at any location inside a warehouse facility. 

How Pallet Receiving Automation Works

During the automated receiving process, the system automatically detects when a driver is about to pick up a pallet.  The front face of the pallet is scanned automatically, and then as the driver starts to drive through the “gate”, the sensors automatically detect the presence of the pallet and MHE and then scan each of the visible faces as well as the entire pallet in 3D.   Vimaan’s proprietary Computer Vision and Machine Learning backend software then collates all the data collected from the forklift and gate sensors and cameras to extract label information, dimensions, damage, or other anomalies. 

It is important to note that NO change to the normal workflow is required. If receiving is done on an MHE, the driver simply picks up the pallet and drives through the gate.  If receiving is done with electronic pallet jacks, the associate simply picks up the pallet and walks through the gate. 

Pallet Receiving Capabilities and Metrics

Mixed SKU 4-sided pallet scanning
  • Includes label detection, 1D/2D barcode identification and reading
  • Interprets readable text on all labels on all sides
  • Isolates the label(s) and text or barcode field(s) of interest to customer
  • Highlights missing or unreadable labels
  • Reads through shrink wrap (as long as label is readable by human eye)
  • Counts the number of cases using the Tier-Height method.
  • Identifies pallets stacked on top of each other.
  • Classifies the pallet type including CHIP, PICO, etc.
  • Identifies the pallets containing different product codes.
Multi case label reading reports

Multi Case Label Reading and Association

  • Counts cases on a pallet and reads visible labels associated with each case
  • Highlights if any particular case is missing a label
  • Validates cases on a pallet against a WMS or ASN
Pallet dimensioning report

Pallet Dimensioning

  • PalletSCAN 3D supports fast drive through pallet dimensioning.
  • Provides max length, width, height of pallet
  • Provides shapes and 3D composite views of the pallet
  • All above data can be automatically integrated with the customer’s WMS or other receiving software to update and highlight discrepancies
  • Vimaan ViewDeck: App to review, search, and view data, highlight discrepancies, and generate valuable analytics by dock door, associate, vendor, etc.
  • Forklift mounted user interface screens to receive putaway instructions from customer WMS and display putaway/pallet handling instructions for driver
  • Throughput: 3-5 pallets per minute per gate
  • Dimension capability: 12” – 120”

This enables significant cost savings through lower labor requirements, while making the process of pallet receiving faster with higher quality results. Using Vimaan’s solutions, process times can improve from ONE pallet every THREE minutes (or longer) to THREE pallets (or more) every minute! This includes the automation of 5-sided pallet scanning, 1D/2D barcode reading, label text reading, damage detection, dimensioning, WMS (Warehouse Management System) validation, and image capture and archiving. See the applications below on more details on how Vimaan improves the process of inbound pallet receiving.

Featured Inbound Pallet Receiving Process

WHAT IS INVENTORY ACCURACY… AND WHY 3pLs and brands need to care

Inbound Pallet Receiving is the first and arguably the most important step in establishing high inventory accuracy across the warehouse

Inventory accuracy is a challenge in almost every warehouse we walk into, and the reasons behind the inaccuracies vary. Understanding the truth behind your inventory involves not just cycle counting of stored inventory, but also accurate tracking of inventory movement starting with inbound pallet receiving to outbound shipping all while reconciling it in near real time against your WMS. 


Inbound Pallet Receiving Resources

Warehouse Receiving Solutions


Inbound palleted goods are scanned, tracked and inspected faster with greater accuracy.


Combined with PalletSCAN, MHE equipped with PickTRACK provides automates inbound pallet receiving.


Scans, Tracks and INSPECTS High Volume Packages during inbound receiving and outbound shipping.

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