Whether you have a fledgling ecommerce business or yours is a major manufacturer or distributor, if you need warehousing space, you can’t be blamed for being a little overwhelmed.
The problem starts with most people’s idea of a warehouse, which itself comes from the literal meaning of the word. ‘Warehouse’ very simply means a shelter (house) for your products (wares).
That straightforward definition can be misleading. If you chose a third-party warehousing solution just because they have space for your goods, you could be making a big mistake.
Today’s third-party warehousing options can include a wide range of services that could make two seemingly similar options very different from each other in terms of value and suitability for your company’s needs.
If you’re in the market for warehousing services, keep the following points in mind to make the right choices.
Picking the right location for warehousing space can be a little tricky. Do you choose one that is close to your facilities or close to your customers? While you might be the only one able to answer that, you can also look for space that is close to major highways, air terminals, railways and intermodal terminals.
2. Third-Party Logistics
What good is warehouse space if you have to arrange to transport your goods to and from it? Or somehow manage customer returns? Or manage your supply chain? Look for warehousing space from a provider that offers the third-party logistics services that takes the complexity out of storing your goods off-site.
3. Stay Connected to Your Products
If you don’t have real-time knowledge of something like inventory levels, it could be very costly. Digital warehousing services, including inventory management systems, barcoding and EDI will keep you in touch with your products as if they were on your site.
4. Specialized Warehousing Services
Many warehousing options are ‘one-size-fits-all’. But if you have sensitive products that must be stored in a climate-controlled space, or you need direct-rail access to avoid the costs of unnecessary handling and transportation of your goods, then you need specialized services that might not be available in every warehouse.
From raw materials metering, to quality assurance procedures and branded packaging, when you’re looking for warehousing, make sure you find the right services too.