Whether you are looking for a warehouse on a permanent basis or as a temporary solution to store extra product during a particularly busy time, this is not the type of decision where you pick the first one you happen to come across. Here are just a few helpful hints to guide this all-important decision.
Look at this purchase like you would any other purchase. Get a variety of people involved to ensure all angles are considered. Spend the appropriate amount of time considering and analyzing options. Don’t make a hasty decision.
When choosing a warehouse for your business, it is important to do a thorough analysis of the location as it relates to the various aspects of your business, transportation logistics and what have you. The good thing about using a warehouse that isn’t your own is you can pick one anywhere. If you are in New York but your customers would be better served with a warehouse in a completely different part of the country, you have that option. Before you start sending out pricing proposals, carefully consider the most optimal location.
One of the most important considerations is the systems capability of the warehouse. What are your specific needs as far as support for your product and inventory requirements? Give this some careful thought so you have the full picture and will be in a better position to evaluate whether a particular warehouse has the capabilities to meet your needs.
Room for Growth
While your immediate needs will take center stage in your choice of a warehouse, it is also important to give some thought to your needs down the line, and whether a particular warehouse has the capability to accommodate any expansion coming down the pike. You don’t want to worry about having to look for another warehouse again a few years down the line because this current one can’t handle the volume.
Consider the Warehouse Network
While you may be focusing on just one warehouse right now in a particular area, consider if the warehouse has a network of various locations that may be beneficial to you at some point. For example, if you are planning on expanding operations to Europe, being able to use one company for all your needs, end to end, is highly advantageous.
In choosing the right warehouse, you want to get an idea of how quickly they can get their services up and running for you. Ideally, a good warehouse will be able to receive and start shipping out your inventory within one to six weeks, depending on the nature of your business.
Make a Site Visit and Meet with Executives
This is not a decision to make sight unseen so make sure you factor in visiting time when determining how long you will take to make a decision. Is it clean and properly maintained? How are the relationships between the employees and management? Is the damaged products section in good working order? Make it a point to meet with the managers and executive team to get a better idea of the overall operation in terms of sanitation, productivity, safety and security.