Warehousing and shipping both play a critical role in your supply chain, affecting everything from inventory management to order delivery. Approximately 43% of small businesses fail to track inventory or use a manual system that isn’t as effective as it could be. Specialized services have emerged over recent years to assist in improving the storage and shipping capabilities of smaller businesses. Here are five factors to consider when selecting warehouse services for your business needs.
Number of SKUs
Before selecting warehouse services, identify what your specific requirements and needs are. Do you need a company capable of fulfilling OSHA requirements and complying with hazardous materials regulations? Do you need an environmentally controlled storage facility? Will you need storage in bulk or racks? How much storage space will you need? The fee you’ll be charged may depend either on the number of SKUs or the space per foot used for storing goods. If that’s the case, the more variations of a product you have, the higher the storage fees. Warehouses often place minimum order limits on a monthly basis for large companies. This makes it ideal for businesses that quickly turn over inventory in order to avoid paying higher storage fees. If you have large SKUs and slow turnover rates, standalone warehousing can be a cost-effective solution.
You may want to consider choosing a public warehouse (a facility that offers month-to-month warehousing services) if you sell seasonal goods. Public warehouses lower your cost by charging a monthly fee plus transaction fees. Private warehouses can become expensive during periods when sales are low or when there is limited storage space available due to high demand. If you have long-term storage needs, contract warehouses are ideal because you can settle on an agreed amount depending on factors other than simple storage space.
Location and Shipping
While some companies require storage at a secure facility, others have their own warehouse for goods but lack the capability to manage and distribute their products. Independent of the warehouse location, many businesses require warehouse management, shipping and receiving, loading and unloading and lastly, product inventory management. It’s important to determine not only where your products should be housed, but also how to (and who will) oversee this critical component of your supply chain. Commercial moving companies can manage inventory and also store and deliver your manufactured goods, operating at the facility of your choosing. Either way, the most important aspect to consider is if your warehousing solution can fulfill orders quickly and capably.
Technology and Software
The warehousing solution you choose should be equipped with the most up-to-date software to track inventory and shipments for an end-to-end shipping and receiving process. This can help you better automate all the various activities involved within the fulfillment process and connect the facility directly to your sales channels. You can also track orders in real time. Beyond managing and tracking the quantity of goods, it’s also important to ensure the quality of your products is properly maintained. Inventory management should include identifying pre-existing damage upon product arrival, regular inspections of product quality and reports of asset conditions.
Other Stored Products
Knowing how the selected provider stores items is important to the quality of your products. For example, you may have your products stored next to items that give off a distinct smell. If you sell clothes, that smell could permeate your inventory and create complaints from customers. Ask in advance about items that will be stored near yours. This can help you avoid any issues that may damage your brand or products.
Choosing the best warehouse and supply services provider is critical for the success of your business. At Gibbs Contracting, we offer efficient warehouse storage, management, shipping and receiving operations with experienced staff at secure locations. Call us today to discuss your warehousing and storage needs.