Choosing the right warehouse can seem like an impossible task, or at best a matter of luck rather than management, as there are so many factors in the mix for you to think about.
Different businesses and industries have different warehousing needs, so you need to pin these down first before you look at any prospective premises. This will help you to decide what will and what won’t be a good fit for your enterprise.
This in itself can be hard work as you’ll have to employ a change of address service and fill out an inordinate amount of forms, and take care of other formalities. So, here are the top five factors you need to consider.
You might be tempted to choose the warehouse in that out-of-town location because it’s a lot cheaper, but this could turn out to be a false economy. On average, transportation accounts for 20% of a company’s outgoings, so a warehouse off the beaten track or 50 miles away from the nearest port will add to this figure.
It’s also important for staff and visitors to be able to get to you easily, so while those warehouses in West Molesey might seem more expensive, the urban location will work out better in the long run.
The age of the warehouse
This is a bit of a Goldilocks situation here – you need a warehouse that’s been around long enough to prove that it “works” – it’s in the right place, easily accessible and so on – but that’s not so old it’s starting to fall to bits. Look for one that’s structurally sound, easily found and that has a bit of modern tech in it. Try not to cross out a location because of something as frivilous as a leaky roof, because you could always mend it with the help of professionals like Atlanta Commercial Roofing.
The size of the warehouse
You need to match the size of the warehouse to the size of your business and the number of employees who will be working in and around it. If it has too much space you may be losing money on it month after month; too small, however, might hamper your productivity and mean you can’t cope with big orders. Your customers won’t appreciate this.
The internal layout
You need to look at the plans for the building, as well as make an in-person inspection before deciding on a warehouse as its internal layout might not be right for you. Older buildings can often have large columns, for example, that may get in the way of forklifts or conveyor belts. This might not be a huge problem, but it may slow down processing or packaging, so it’s worth thinking about. The forklift certification will ensure safe and healthy working conditions at the constructions sites, warehouses and other industrial locations.
The technology available to you
When you’re looking at warehouses, you need to ask yourself questions like:
- what sort of warehouse management system (WMS) is the premises most suited to? You might need to look for somewhere with up-to-date sorting systems to lessen human error when orders are being picked, loaded and sent out;
- what handling equipment is most suitable for this warehouse? It’s no good finding a cheap place that can’t support your heavy lifting gear, for example, and
- what mechanisms are there for reporting to you? You need a system that you can access at any time from any location.
Remember, it’s not just the physical shell of the building you’re investing in, you need to think about what you can put into it to benefit your enterprise. That is why before purchasing a warehouse you should check out YourBuildingInspector.com.au and run building and pest inspection.
This article is in association with Cattaneo Commercial