Top 10 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Warehouse


Top 10 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Warehouse

Selecting a warehouse can be an overwhelming and confusing experience. Your company likely has very specific warehousing needs, and it can be difficult to get past all the complicated lingo and sales pitches in order to discern which warehouses are actually a good fit for your business. Below, we outline 6-10 of the ten most important considerations you should think about when choosing a warehouse.

Experience: Check their established date to make sure it’s a good balance of age, showing they’ve weathered the test of time, combined with newness of the facility with modern technology and touches to make things flow efficiently. Too old can mean antiquated processes, but too new can mean they’re still working out the kinks, so to speak. Additionally, what are they experienced with? It’s a simplistic example, but for food manufacturers and distributors crossing their FSMA ¡°T’s¡±, you would definitely want a warehouse with lots of experience meeting strict food grade requirements.

Employees: Compare the size of their facility to the amount of employees and determine if you feel it’s a good fit for the type of service you require. Are the employees knowledgeable about the types of services you need provided? Will you have a ¡°go to¡± account representative whose primary responsibility it is to help make certain your needs (and the other clients’ needs) are addressed?

Processes: How many doors do they have, and what is their system to manage the inbound vs. outbound traffic? Do they have a set staging procedure? What are their standard services (included in the price) vs. special services (for an extra fee)? Can they handle inspection, storage, dispatch, inventory, reverse logistics, packaging, labeling, or reporting?

Risk: When you’re using an outside vendor for warehousing, this can remove a significant part of the risks associated with logistics. Your partners will shoulder some of this burden as they help to resolve potential issues and work proactively to reduce traditional issues associated with moving product with machinery. However, your role must be active, regardless, in mitigating that risk, by asking them about their incident rates, safety plans, insurance coverage, and damage plans. Ask to see copies of their insurance coverage, and make certain their plans and reported incidents marry with your company’s expectations. Find out how they handle issues when they arise in order to practice due diligence in protecting your company from poor vendor selection.

Technology: What type of Warehouse Management System do they use? Can your system for processing orders and managing your supply chain integrate with theirs? What type of handling equipment are they utilizing? If your product lines are numerous with assorted SKU’s, you may need to search for warehouses with more advanced robotics or sorting conveyor belt systems to minimize human error when loading the trucks. No matter the sophistication of your product lines, at a minimum, you need to seek a partner that can provide regular reporting regarding your product moving into and out of their facility¡ªpreferably on a web-based platform that you can access at any time, from any location.

It’s clear that choosing a warehouse requires very careful consideration and a scrutinizing examination of all your needs.

This article was originally published on Trinity Logistics blog, visit http://blog.trinitylogistics.com for more stories


May 26, 2014

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