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How to Pick the Best Public Warehouse

Are you trying to determine how to pick the best public warehouse for your business? This is a common question that many consider when outsourcing their warehousing. So we’ve compiled a listing of the most important things to consider when trying to pick the best public warehouse.

  1. Location – There are so many things to consider when comparing various locations for your public warehouse. Where is your supplier or manufacturer located? Where are your customers located? Do you want the public warehouse to be close to your company headquarters? All of these are important questions to ask, but be careful to remain objective about the best location for your public warehousing needs. Many times companies lean towards a location close to them, losing out on many of the shipping synergies and cost efficiencies available by locating in another area.
  2. Reputation – Even though warehousing and shipping seems very easy, there are so many factors that make it quite complex for many businesses. For example, companies with unique requirements, kitting projects, and a high number of sku’s are just a few of the examples that can make this seemingly easy function difficult. And it should be of no surprise that there a great deal of companies out there that don’t do a great job of routinely and accurately shipping products for customers. So take a critical look at anyone that you consider, because you don’t want to be caught behind the eight ball with shipping errors.
  3. Technology – This may or may not be an important factor for your business. If you have more of a straight warehousing need, then sophisticated order fulfillment software isn’t going to tip the scale on your decision. However, if ecommerce integration, online reporting, and bar code scanned order management are important, then you need to find a capable company with these competencies.
  4. Service – How much service you get from a company will be a function of the size of your deal and the type of provider you choose. In other words, if you have high volume of storage or orders, you’ll probably command a great deal of service and attention. However, if you’re a smaller company, then you may have to search more strategically for the right sized public warehouse to give you the best mix of service and pricing.
  5. Pricing – Of course, many would argue that the company with the lowest prices would be the best way to go. But this isn’t always true. Sometimes, for example, you get what you pay for. Use your common sense – when a company comes in so much lower than others, you might want to consider why. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. And furthermore, quality is extremely important. In order for a company to provide high quality services, they won’t necessarily be the cheapest company out there.

Warehousing Services

What are Warehousing Services?

Warehousing CompaniesWarehousing services include, but are not limited to, receiving orders from a business’s customers, locating the required products from inventory, preparing the client’s order for shipping, and ensuring the product is shipped to the correct location with the correct documentation and packaging.

Receiving the orders from the business’s clients can be via online ordering systems linked to the warehousing services computer inventory systems or by various other methods depending on the business’s capabilities. Business’s may do their ordering via call centers, catalogs, or strictly through their website.

Locating the products in done either electronically, by hand, or by heavy equipment depending on the products being ordered and the facility’s capabilities. Some orders may use different methods even for the same client.

Preparing the orders for shipping can be done either electronically,  by hand, or a combination of the two determined by the quantities being processed and the conditions required by the product. Some products may need special handling depending on fragility or size.

Product shipping includes managing the shipping methods used or required contingent of client needs and the product itself. Managing electronic tracking procedures and quality control to effectively diminish and report errors. Also, this includes the client specified shipping methods and special procedures requested.

More warehousing services may be offered based on the warehousing company’s capabilities with regards to manpower, space available, and implemented technologies. The above services are fairly universal when it comes to warehousing companies in general as far as the minimum services they should be able to provide.

Companies looking into an outsourced warehousing services solution should understand their wants and needs to ensure the company will be able to provide for their clients in a satisfactory manner.

Warehousing Fees

What are the Most Common Warehousing Fees?

Warehousing companies have differing warehousing fees and some are more straightforward than others, but in general there are similar practices by all reputable companies. Storage, warehouse volume, and services utilized will discussed to help you get a handle on common ways a company is charged by the warehousing vendor.

Storage

Storage charges include rates for goods stored in the facility. This can vary based on how much inventory is needed for different seasons if the business’s sales are indeed seasonal by nature. Most businesses have some products selling in higher quantities at different times of the year so this charge reflects products total inventory usually on a monthly basis.

Warehouse Volume

Warehouse volume charges should be understood as the amount of the warehouse used specifically for one company. This volume charge could include space needed in case of emergencies such as flooded areas, or sudden requests for products that require extra space to ensure clients get the products in a timely manner, and other contributing factors that can vary even based on geographical location of the facility.

Services Utilized

Warehousing companies can have many warehousing fees available and depending on the company needs some of these services won’t be utilized. Different technologies for inventories and shopping cart integration exist that may benefit one company, but not necessarily another. Heavy equipment may be needed by one company and not another. Warehousing companies have to offer many different services to try and stay competitive and be able to meet the needs of different types of companies.

Companies should investigate billing practices carefully and ensure there are no hidden fees or variables like the ones listed above that would directly them.

There are many variables that can come into play. Commonalities usually do exist in warehousing companies billing practices, but can also vary based on the type of products and needs of the company employing them.