These questions are very important and should be all clear to you before you consider signing a contract with the warehousing company.
You have to consider that if your drivers are expected to go to the warehouse on a regular basis (this can be for both drops and pick-ups) then you need them to be working/ hauling and not driving empty, wasting both time and fuel traveling to the warehouse.
So unless it is centrally located you need to consider the time it takes to get there and back.
There are many things to consider as I said earlier: cost, location, but what about actual services?
For example, if you need a limited storage space just to cover overages versus a bonded storage space, then the space will vary. Obviously!
First one is self-explanatory, limited space for a limited need, just until the on hand inventory reaches a more manageable size.
But a bonded warehouse can be for long term. An example for this is a factory, say the auto industry. They get parts from all over the planet to assemble their vehicles. They have 5000 transmissions in their inventory, but only need 500 a day for production.
So in that case, they pull and pay duty on the 500 they need, not the entire inventory. It is a means to control both cost and storage issues.
Another consideration is size. Are they big enough to handle both present and near future needs? Because, as a business owner you have to think ahead of time and have the big picture!
Do they offer access at the times you need it most? Say your trucks run routes at four am; you’ll need a warehousing company that will offer access at any time. Am I right?
I can’t stress enough how important this is! You might think, “Well they are a warehousing company, of course they are familiar”. Not true, not even close to it.
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Just like you would not go to a Freightliner dealer to get your Volvo truck fixed, you wouldn’t go to the wrong type of warehouse either.
“So, then how can it be the wrong warehousing company?”- You might ask! Well, this is a great question. And the answer is actually a little simpler that you might imagine.
If you work with reefers and your operations have particular or special needs such as refrigeration services, temperature/environmental/climate control, distribution then you better make sure they offer these.
Perhaps you deal with perishables that need to be handled in a special way. Or perhaps you handle chemicals and other hazardous materials like fuel, which must be store separately from other such materials.
Either way, you better make sure the warehouse is equipped to handle this and has the means to react in the event of an issue.
One of the easiest ways to find the right warehousing company is to find one that already deals with similar branch of customers.
Once the company has dealt with providing particular services, same or similar to the one that you need, then they will be able to better serve! They will have everything in place already, whether it is special storage spaces, ramps, rollers, whatever you might need.
This is fairly easy to figure out, simply ask who their clients are. Let’s say you handle Audi auto parts, if the already have BMW as a client then you’ll know they are familiar with your needs. The same goes if you handle perishables, chemicals, or any other particular freight.
A simple way to check who their clients are is to go to their website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, or other social media outlet they use. There you’ll see for yourself who their clientele is, and what they have to say about them.
Call the company and ask several specific questions and see if they are familiar and knowledgeable about your needs. You can even touch base with some of their clients and pick their brain about the warehousing company you’re interested in.
I have really touched on this but just not directly. So what’s next, after you have looked into their prices and locations?
Then after you have checked out their services and if they can accommodate what you need, what’s next? Well, by my opinion the next thing you need to do is to compare them to the competition, and see how they stack up when placed side by side.
There are easy things to compare the price, for example. What about their other services? Say they offer a great price but are 2 hours away, will the cost of rent off-set the transportation cost?
What if the location is great but their operational hours are limited, can you find ways to work around them?
There are many things to consider and once you have laid them out, whether by spreadsheet, diagrams, post-its, or up on the dry erase board, you can begin to compare.
Go ahead and pull up a map to check roads, mileage, and such. Then look at your other requirements and necessaries, and if they fit the bill go with them! But if they don’t, then go with what’s best for your operation and feed your needs.
This can be a very crucial point to consider. A warehousing company is not different than any other business. They are subject to the economic ups and downs just like you and most of the other companies are.
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