Warehousing & Fulfillment

What to Look for When Choosing a Warehouse

Finding the right warehouse significantly determines the speed and efficiency of your supply chain. Check out our 10 tips to select the right warehouse.
What to Look for When Choosing a Warehouse
Gayatri Bhaumik

By Gayatri Bhaumik

 

May 28, 2020

In the current global marketplace, good warehousing is becoming an essential factor for enabling a seamless worldwide supply network. The surge in eCommerce has not only revolutionized how consumers order their products but has also changed entrepreneurs’ perspective of the distribution and warehouse business. The growth in eCommerce is responsible for the increase and strong demand for warehouse space, especially for enabling last-mile deliveries.

As well as the growth of eCommerce, the huge demand for warehousing services is also the result of consumer demand for same-day and next-day shipping. This exerts immense pressure on retailers, transportation companies, and distribution centers to make fast, effective deliveries.

For those just starting their eCommerce journey, finding a good warehouse and partnering with an excellent shipping solutions company will make your customer delivery experience seamless. Easyship can support this with warehouse partners around the world that can easily fulfill your orders, wherever they may be.

Why is it Important to Find the Right Warehouse?

Warehouses are crucial links in the supply chain network for both domestic and global markets. Finding the right warehouse significantly determines the speed and efficiency of your supply chain. In the current growth phase of the eCommerce industry, entrepreneurs and supply chains are in constant competition, especially in terms of overall product cost and delivery time.

Therefore, warehousing, if done correctly, can contribute to the faster flow of a product through the supply chain. This is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting a warehouse.

As an entrepreneur, your warehouse of choice should meet the general objectives of warehousing. Besides providing basic storage services, the warehouse should provide efficient accessibility, facilitate increased turnover, improve production, and decrease shrinkage. You should also choose a warehouse that provides optimal safety for your products in transit. This minimizes the chance of customers complaining because their products were damaged in transit.

Woman Walking in a New Warehouse

10 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Warehouse

Selecting a reliable warehouse to store your products can be quite overwhelming and confusing. Each eCommerce entrepreneur will have specific warehousing needs that should be addressed by the warehouse they eventually choose.

Some specific features, such as warehouse location and warehouse layout, are non-negotiable and will have to be right for your business. Below are just a few of the essential factors to consider when selecting a warehouse.

1.   Location

Location is a key consideration when choosing a warehouse. You should ensure that the warehouse business is located reasonably close to your customers to ensure timely and cost-effective deliveries.

Before selecting a warehouse, check transportation costs from the warehouse to the most common final destinations for your customers’ orders. Finding a warehouse in the right location will enable you to meet (and beat!) your customers’ expectations because you’ll be able to deliver their orders in a matter of hours or days.

Warehouse location will come into play no matter what type of eCommerce business you operate. Whether you’re a regional retailer, a national supplier, or an international conglomerate, having warehouses in the right locations to reach your customer base will minimize costs and delivery times.

2.   Access

You should also consider how easy it is to access the warehouse. This will lessen the likelihood of your orders being delayed because they can’t leave the warehouse. When choosing a warehouse, ensure that it meets the specific prerequisites that your goods require.

For instance, if you’re heavily involved in importing and exporting, choosing a warehouse next to a major port is a huge plus as it’ll have the infrastructure you need for your business. When weighing up the ease of access to your preferred warehousing facility, consider the following:

  • Access to public transportation
  • Road conditions and safety
  • Nature of traffic
  • Proper road signage
  • Highway interconnectivity

Choosing a warehouse location with congested roads, bad signage, and highways without exit ramps can lead to excessive fuel consumption, wasted time, and increased accident rates. Time wastage can heighten shipping costs and delay deliveries, which negatively influence the synergies between suppliers and customers.

3.   Diverse Capabilities

Warehousing facilities with diverse capabilities provide better storage services compared to those with a basic warehouse layout. Opting for a warehouse that offers integrated solutions assures effective and seamless storage and distribution services. Engaging the services of a warehouse with a wide range of services provides an assurance of reliable services and an efficient supply chain network.

Asset-based warehouse solutions, for instance, provide more value compared to a traditional non-asset warehouse layout, in terms of cost and nature of operations. Asset-based providers invest heavily in their facilities, trucks, and employees, allowing them to offer a higher level of service compared to traditional warehousing service providers.

4.   Experience

The best way to determine the experience of a warehouse business is to check its operational dates. Finding out when the warehouse was established provides better insights into its age, and ability to withstand the test of time. You should match the age of the facility with its ability to cope with technological advancements that allow warehousing processes to flow efficiently.

You should also establish whether the warehouse has experience in handling products from your specific industry. For instance, if you deal with food products, finding a warehouse with expertise in handling food ensures that it will meet strict food storage standards.

5.   Nature of Employees

Employees play a crucial role in the handling and storage of goods in a warehouse. As such, the employees’ natures should be among the key factors to consider when selecting a warehouse. The presence of a reliable and experienced workforce in a warehouse is an added advantage. Among the key things to check is if employees have the necessary skills to handle special products.

Also, compare the size of the warehouse facility and the number of employees. From this, you can determine if the warehouse is a good fit to handle your products with the attention it deserves. Ideally, you want a good size-employee ratio so that there is enough staff to handle the amount of goods the warehouse deals with.

6.   Association Memberships

Before engaging the services of a warehouse, check whether the facility is an active member of established associations, such as the International Warehouse Logistics Association. Warehouses with such affiliations provide additional credibility for their services. This also shows the warehouse’s willingness and commitment to providing services according to the association’s warehousing standards.

7.   Technology

Advancing technology has led to better service provisions in all sectors, including warehousing. In this case, ask about the warehouse management system. Confirm whether the company’s processing and supply chain systems can be integrated with shipping companies and other essential services.

Warehouses embracing advanced technology, such as drones, pick-by-vision systems, and electronic data exchange, are better at providing smooth operations in this day and age. The adoption of adept technology in warehousing is critical for ensuring smooth warehousing operations.

8.   Additional Services

Most warehouses provide basic storage and shipping services. However, it might be more beneficial for you to choose a warehouse that provides additional services. If your warehousing operations can include packaging, labeling, dispatching, quality control, and reverse logistics, it’ll save you a lot of time and money.

9.   Client Profile

You should also consider the warehouse’s client profile. If the warehouse is used to handling storage services for small companies with simple warehousing requirements, they probably can’t handle the advanced needs of bigger companies. Similarly, if the warehouse handles products from established brands and you are a mid-sized company, ensure that you don’t pay for unnecessary services and that they give you the same customer service big companies get.

10.  Associated Risks

Once you contract the warehouse service provider, the risks of handling, storing, and shipping products shift to the warehouse. As such, they should be aware of the risks associated with such responsibilities, have safety procedures in place, and compensation plans. This requires the warehouse business vendor to have insurance coverage that covers such responsibilities.

Improve Your Operations with the Right Warehouse

Entrepreneurs should consider several factors when choosing a warehouse for their goods. Unfortunately, the seemingly promising future of warehousing has significantly been affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Threats from this pandemic have created serious risks to supply chains, with manufacturers and retailers facing the possibility to halt production.

Nevertheless, despite the coronavirus and other associated challenges, warehousing plays an essential role in completing shipping requests. Easyship has warehouse partners located across the globe and can help you find the right space for your products, no matter where you are.

As a client, you’ll also be able to take advantage of our competitive shipping rates and useful automated features to streamline your shipping process. Sign up for an account today to see how we can help!