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Getting your products to your customers is hard enough. You’ll make things worse when you don’t have a warehouse solution that works well for your business. That’s why 50% of companies believe warehouse management is one of the most critical parts of the supply chain.
It isn’t easy to get a space big enough for storage and create procedures to keep everything straight. That’s why many people turn to warehouse experts to get help.
With how vital your supply chain is, you can’t afford to work with an unreliable warehouse service. Keep the eight factors below in mind when choosing a warehouse services provider.
1. Storage Ability
The first thing to consider when looking at your warehouse services options is the ability to store your products. If all you’re keeping are basic products that only need space, most warehouse services can likely meet your needs.
Things are different if your products have additional requirements. Depending on your product, you may need things like climate control, special packaging, careful handling, and other requirements.
Your warehouse provider needs to be able to meet your storage requirements. Narrow down your choices to those with expertise in handling products similar to yours.
2. Warehouse Locations
Location is critical if you want fast shipping globally. Unfortunately, that isn’t the easiest thing to do if you have a warehouse in an out-of-the-way location.
You need a warehouse that’s centrally located to distribution centers. You want your products to get shipped quickly and not spend a ton of time in transit.
It’s even better if your warehouse service provider has multiple locations. The closer your warehouse location is to your customers, the better.
3. Inventory Scaling
Even if a warehousing provider can handle all your needs now, that may not be true in the future. Ideally, you’ll experience a lot of growth in the coming months and years. You need your warehousing service to be able to handle your inventory storage needs.
Ask about scalability before investing in warehousing. Your warehouse options should be able to tell you how much inventory they can handle.
On top of that, they need to be able to make changes quickly. You never know when you’ll get a surplus of demand. You need to quickly adapt your warehousing strategy to get your products into your customers’ hands.
Safety is a big deal when you run a warehouse. You’re dealing with heavy products in many cases. You don’t want someone to get injured while handling your property.
Ask your warehouse service provider what their security procedures are like. They should have no problem telling you how they keep people safe in the warehouse.
There are also regulations that govern safety in warehouses. You can compare a company’s safety protocols with what they’re supposed to be doing. If they don’t match, you should look for another warehouse that takes safety seriously.
5. Customer Service
Being able to handle your inventory needs isn’t good enough to be an excellent warehouse service company. That service doesn’t mean anything if you don’t provide excellent customer service to your clients.
You shouldn’t have to wait days to hear back from your warehouse partner when you need information. Every time you reach out, you should get a response in under 24 hours to let you know someone is looking at your question.
Check with your warehousing options to see how they handle communication. Do they do things by phone or work by email and text? You need to find a provider that will communicate the way you need.
Handling everything manually in a warehouse is no easy task. There are countless things to take care of, and you and your employees won’t have the time to take care of everything.
That’s why modern warehouse services use technology to get things done. Your warehouse needs to be up to date on the latest warehouse software updates.
It also pays to work with a company that has a stock management system that you can connect to your internal systems. Doing this will help you keep track of your inventory and know when you need to order new products.
Warehouse security is critical if you expect to trust another company to handle your inventory storage. You don’t want just anyone to be able to walk into the building and look through all the stuff. There should be procedures in place to only allow authorized personnel in the building.
Here are a few things to look for when asking about security:
- Guarded entrance and exists
- Surveillance system
- Review system
- Access control systems
Of course, you may not need every one of these things. However, you should check to see if there are measures to keep the goods stored in the warehouse secure.
8. Client Feedback
Great client feedback is a must for any warehousing service. You need much more than a great sales pitch and inventory space to serve customers. You need to be experts to run an efficient warehouse.
Reading online reviews is a great way to vet your warehouse options. See what other clients say about a company’s good and bad points.
You can also ask for references from your warehousing options. Speak with previous clients to learn more about their interactions with a warehouse and if a warehouse service is worth using.
Don’t Cut Corners When Choosing a Warehouse Services Provider
Unless you have an excellent logistics operation, it’s hard to get your products to your customers safely and on time. If you want to begin optimizing that process, your warehouse operation is the first place to start. Do enough research when choosing a warehouse services provider to ensure you work with a partner that will take care of your products and get them to your customers.
Do you want to read more tips that will help you optimize the rest of your business operations? Head back to the blog to find more tips.