Outsourcing warehousing is a smart move that comes with a lot of benefits especially for startups and small companies. However, it also can be a catastrophic business decision if you don’t choose the right outsourced warehouse.
Choosing the right third-party warehouse provider is difficult and changing because you will have too many options available to choose from. Therefore, your choice must be based first on your needs. Below you will find the things you should consider in choosing an outsourced warehouse.
Your Current and Future Needs
Your current needs are very important but they shouldn’t be your only focus. If you only focus on what you need today without planning for what you will need in the future, your business will probably scale down.
Thus, it is important that you choose a warehousing provider that can keep up with the growth of your company and provides all your requirements. The following list contains the most important services that you will need. Make sure that the warehouse provider offers all these services:
- The right storage: You products will be in the warehouse for a period of time. During that time, you should make sure they are stored in a proper way depending on your product. Therefore, checkout with warehouse suppliers beforehand to see whether or not they have the requirements of your products.
- Returns Management: In any business there are returns and handling these returns is the responsibility of the warehouse. Make sure the warehouse you are choosing is capable of managing these returns.
- Good labeling: Warehouses should be able to label packages properly.
- Repacking: This service is very important. Sometimes your shipment is not packaged in a proper way for delivering thus it needs to be repackaged. Warehouses offering this service will save you money and time.
- Palletizing and Sorting: Products should be stored on pallets for safety and for handling them easily. Organizing the stored products in a clear way is also important.
- Ticketing: Applying tickets to the stored items.
- Order fulfillment: Receiving orders from a customer and fulfilling it accordingly.
Each shipment and product require some technologies to be stored, tracked and organized. Thus, you should opt for a warehouse that uses modern equipment and systems such as WMS (Warehouse Management System). The WMS manages your transaction inventory and records turnovers in the inventory.
Inventory control is perhaps the most challenging area in warehouse management and it is decisive in the success of your business. Asking the warehouse supplier about how they manage the inventory and what technologies they use is a must.
Know Your Budget
Knowing your budget before getting involved in any business deal is the first rule in the world of business. Store your goods where you can afford to and most importantly choose what services you really need carefully. You shouldn’t opt for services that are not necessary for your goods or the well-being of your company.
However, if you search well you will find very reasonable offers for many services. Freight-comparator.com can link you with best and the most inexpensive warehouse suppliers all around the world.
Choose The Location Carefully
The location of the warehouse or warehouses you are considering hiring depends on many factors such as the location of your supplier and the locations of the final destination of your products. This raises the question of whether or not you can fulfill all the orders from one warehouse?
In brief, your whole supply chain and budget will decide the numbers and the locations of your warehouses. Transportation as part of your supply chain is a huge factor you shouldn’t disregard. A warehouse that can provide pickup services and has experience in this domain is a recommended choice.
Take a Field Tour
You should visit the facility before signing any agreement. Your judgment on the field should be your decisive element. Don’t trust the websites as they hide many defects. Nothing is like a walk in the facility to have a good assessment of its capabilities.
There are a lot of scams in these fields and many providers offer warehousing services at low prices but the quality is very low and it will do you more damage than good. Bigger investments will get you better values and better values contribute to the growth of your company and reputation.
A stable warehousing provider that has a history in the business is a partner you want to do business with. Stability is vital in this business because no importer or exporter can afford the losses of interruption. Besides, experienced warehousing providers can provide customized services if you would need any now or in the future.
A warehousing provider can determine the future of your company, a good provider can scale up the business and a bad provider will do the opposite. A good warehousing provider invests in facilities, systems, equipment, and human resources necessary for logistics solutions.