Warehousing plays a major role in maintaining a speedy, efficient and seamless supply chain in today’s fast-paced business environment.
E-commerce is booming, and there’s high customer demand for same-day and next-day shipping. As a result, retailers, warehouse staff, transportation and logistics companies and distribution centers are feeling immense pressure to overcome these new obstacles.
It’s challenging to locate and choose a facility to house supply chain operations. However, selecting the right space is critical, as it could make or break your business’s success.
Here’s more about the importance of good warehousing and how to find the best facility that suits your needs.
The Importance of Good Warehousing
The e-commerce industry is experiencing rapid growth, meaning entrepreneurs and supply chains face fierce competition. Additionally, demand for industrial space is increasing, leaving businesses scrambling to find space and existing warehouses reaching capacity.
Besides basic storage, there are a few additional elements to consider in good warehousing space. A warehouse should:
- Be accessible
- Increase turnover
- Improve production
- Decrease shrinkage
- Provide optimal safety
Companies must keep product costs down, optimize warehouse space, fulfill orders correctly and ship items efficiently. If done correctly, warehousing can help companies reach and exceed these goals. How can a company keep products flowing through the supply chain if it cannot choose the right space to operate in?
How to Find the Right Industrial Space
Choosing the perfect space for your supply chain needs can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the industry. Certain warehouse features are non-negotiable, such as its overall layout, design or capacity. On the other hand, some spaces have additional features that may not be necessary for every type of business.
Consider these tips if you’re trying to select the right facility for your business.
1. Determine Size and Scalability
The size of the industrial space is the most important factor in the selection process. There are a few questions you can ask yourself when considering the size, such as:
- Does the warehouse have enough space for upscaling or downscaling inventory?
- Is this facility large enough for my stock?
- Are there excess areas that could make this space more expensive?
- Will the size impede supply chain efficiency?
Suppose you expect your inventory to grow in scale. In that case, you must choose a large warehouse to store those additional products.
2. Analyze the Warehouse Layout
Choosing a warehouse with an ideal layout is critical because it will streamline movement within the space and boost efficiency. Workers should be able to navigate the area easily. It’s difficult to run a successful facility if everything is crowded, workers perform tasks on top of each other or products are crammed into small areas.
3. Consider Location and Logistics
Where your industrial space is located geographically also determines how efficient your supply chain will be. Consider the distance of your warehouse to distribution centers, the frequency at which stock is received and delivered, and the cost of transporting goods from the facility to delivery destinations.
It’s also important to consider how close the warehouse is to ports, highways and railways, depending on which products are transported by ship, truck or train. Ensure you have easy access to rental logistics and land transportation setups.
4. Research Workforce Availability and Employee Skills
Once you find a suitable location, you’ll need to analyze the labor market in the area. You’ll have to hire a skilled workforce if you want an efficient supply chain.
The presence of a dedicated and hardworking group of warehouse employees will ensure your operations are running at optimal performance. Suppose your company sells special products, such as fragile or breakable items. In that case, your workers must take extra precautions to prevent damage.
5. Identify All Costs and Associated Risks
Most retail businesses have trouble offering free or low-cost shipping. One way to make it easier is to keep warehousing expenses low. Myriad factors contribute to the overall cost of operating your facility, including:
- Cost of property based on size, location and layout
- Cost of managing the warehouse, staff and other resources
- Cost to forward or ship orders to other locations
- Cost of distribution from the warehouse
Once you sign a contract with a warehouse provider, there will be several associated risks you’ll have to deal with. Handling, storing and shipping products must be considered. Many companies will buy an insurance plan to cover these factors and responsibilities.
6. Select Suitable Technologies
It’s no surprise that many companies are implementing new technologies. Using the latest tech can be a game-changer for modern companies, from inventory management software to robotics and automation. Keep in mind that the warehouse you choose must be able to house any advanced technology, heavy machinery or other equipment.
7. Prioritize Safety and Security
Warehouses and industrial spaces can be dangerous for workers and potentially damaging for stored goods if safety is not a priority. Plenty of protective equipment should be available for employees during the workday, and all staff should receive adequate training.
Tech and equipment in a warehouse tend to be very expensive, which means thieves could target these facilities. Ensure decent safety measures are in place, such as cameras, alarm systems, entryway monitoring, outdoor lighting and window security.
Select the Best Facility for Your Supply Chain Operations
The right warehousing space is a critical investment, whether your company ships to domestic or international markets. Businesses must choose the best facilities for their operations in today’s competitive, global economy. Consider following the tips above if you’re interested in transitioning to or establishing a facility to handle your supply chain needs.
About the author
Rose Morrison is a construction writer with a passion for sustainable building and innovative construction technologies. She is the managing editor of Renovated and regularly contributes to a number of reputable sites, such as NCCER, The Safety Mag, and Geospatial World. For more from Rose, you can follow her on Twitter.