You will find a lot of advice in our blog section for maximising storage space in your facility, but one subject that is just as important involves the planning that goes into choosing the right warehouse for your business.
The warehouse space you choose to rent or purchase will have an immediate effect on the way you operate your business. Not only in terms of space available, but your profit margins and overall success as a company. Below are some the most important steps you need to consider.
Location is everything when it comes to your warehouse. It will dictate how much you will have to pay to have products delivered and will also shape the cost of shipping them to customers. For ease of access you will want your warehouse to be situated close by to a main mode of transport – be it via main roads, railway points, ports or airport. You will also have to take into consideration how you operate the business. For example, if most of your products are going to mainland addresses it will help financially to not be situated too far away. Companies that are exporting or importing will benefit from being close by to a main port.
Ideally you will want to modify the warehouse to suit the way your business operates. First and foremost, how much space will be required to store your inventory? This will take up the bulk of the space and will need to be planned accordingly. Accessibility comes into play here and if any major structural alterations are required, do you have the budget and time to carry these out? Not only is storage important but how deliveries in and out of the facility are managed. Efficiency is key here and the type of shelving being used will be fundamental to the success of the organisation in the warehouse.
Meeting your budget expectations
Of course, location and logistical requirements are important, but you also need to ensure you can afford the type of warehouse your business needs. Carry out a detailed cost analysis before proceeding with any deal. Not only should the right warehouse allow your business to work well, it should allow for it to make money and remain profitable. A space that requires excessive repair and maintenance work will only eat into funds. In many cases warehouses tend to be located outside of main city centres on the outskirts of towns and cities which helps to lower costs. This will also help when it comes to finding extra budget for the shipping and transportation of goods.
Plan for the future
As with any business your goal will be to continue growing and expanding as a business. Sometimes it can happen faster than you expected, which can create a conundrum around storage space. Moving to a new warehouse is a costly and time consuming exercise. It makes sense to find a warehouse that will allow you to grow and modify cost-effectively to accommodate a larger inventory space. Don’t be too ambitious as you don’t want to be left with lots of space you never end up using, a that will ultimately be a waste of your money.
Availability of local staff
This point refers back to the location of the warehouse, as you will want to be able to recruit reliable and skilled workers who live nearby. As important as it is for deliveries to move to and from the facility, it also has to be accessible to employees travelling to and from the warehouse every day. The larger the pool of people you have access to, the easier you will find it to source staff with the skills you need. You don’t just want anyone working for you, but staff with experience and who are committed to helping make a success of the company.
The use of technology is becoming ever more important to the success of any warehouse facility. Ideally you want to lease one that already comes equipped with some basics, such as software enabling control to aid visibility for shipments that are in transit. It should also allow for an easy integration of an ERP system with current software to monitor inventory and orders. And the warehouse will ideally be able to support the introduction of automation and other technological advancements in the future as well.
You can have all space and efficient processes in the world but without strong security, you run the risk of losing a serious amount of your profits through theft. Assess what you can afford as part of the budget being spent on the warehouse, with remote CCTV systems offering one of the best solutions. This will allow you or designated staff to keep an eye on the premises even when no-one is physically there. It could prove to be the difference between talking a huge loss and saving a lot of money.