Whether you’re new to warehousing or looking to adjust your strategy, finding a warehousing partner that fits can be a challenge. You want a company that shares your values and respects your vision – one that can handle your logistics needs. While the industry is overflowing with sales reps touting these deliverables, how can you be sure you’ve made a sound investment in the end?
As you explore the options, consider these four questions to help you narrow down the list of prospects. A quality warehousing partner not only displays their expertise online but will take the time to share their solutions to your unique needs.
1. Location: “What makes your warehouse location advantageous for my business?”
If you know anything about warehousing, you know location is key. The closer your product is stored to its end destination, the more efficient your operation tends to become. That said, there are several more location considerations when it comes to choosing a warehousing partner.
Proximity isn’t always efficient if a warehouse lives in a busy or hard-to-reach area. Locations that are difficult to find via GPS or have poor signage can impact timelines, too. Talk with your warehousing partner about any barriers trucks may incur reaching and exiting the facility before you commit.
Area Conditions and Restrictions
Working with a warehousing partner outside your familiar territory presents a new set of challenges. Ask about any area laws that may impact your operation, and investigate how the climate could affect storage and transportation. If an area is prone to flooding, for example, ensure your warehousing partner has the proper measures in place to protect against damage and loss.
Development Opportunities and Trucking Solutions
Maybe you’ve connected with a warehousing partner you would like to work with, but they don’t have a current location that suits your needs. Inquire about industrial commercial real estate development services to see if your preferred company is able to help you achieve your storage needs at a price that works for your business.
Take trucking out of your workflow with a warehousing partner that does both. Contracting with a company with integrated trucking reduces accessibility barriers, streamlines your supply chain, and maximizes your investment.
IWDG owns and operates warehouse locations and dedicated trucking fleets throughout the Midwest and Texas. We also offer commercial real estate services that help clients expand or relocate in an efficient, cost-effective manner.
2. Space & Services: “Are you able to accommodate my storage and logistic needs?”
The right location is no good if there isn’t any available space, but warehousing goes beyond where your inventory will live. A good warehousing partner is a logistics partner, too – Focused on reducing friction and improving your return on investment. Talk to your prospects about customized solutions in these areas.
Not only will you need to know how much space is available, but it’s important to confirm that your prospective partner offers the type of storage you need. Different items require different kinds or numbers of bins, varying shelving heights, and more. There are additional considerations when it comes to storing higher risk items like chemicals. Ensure your warehousing partner not only has the space for your inventory but can provide an ideal environment for your products.
Scalability and Seasonal Fluctuations
While your warehousing partner may have enough space for you right now, what happens when circumstances change? Ask about opportunities for growth and how seasonal fluctuations will affect your business. Whether you’re on track to increase sales by 10% or simply want to know how the holidays will impact shipping times, your logistics partner should have a clear answer.
Technology & Processing Customization
Storage is one thing, but it’s the technology and added services that make a warehousing partner stand out. Ask for a demo of the warehouse management system to ensure you will be able to keep up with your supply chain in real time.
When it comes to processing, get a list of all the options. A partner that can customize organization, fulfillment, and transportation workflows to your liking will streamline your operation and save you money in the long run.
IWDG is an experienced logistics partner dedicated to supporting your supply chain through custom, reliable, and cost-effective solutions. Find a comprehensive list of services on our warehousing page.
3. Experience & Employees: “How can I trust my product is in safe hands?”
Trust is the cornerstone to any successful business relationship. From CEO to forklift operator, a trustworthy warehousing partner will prioritize experience, professionalism, and work ethic. Any reliable prospect will be able to back-up claims regarding these topics.
Time in the Trade
Look at how long a warehousing company has been in business as a first sign of relevant experience. While older is not always better, it is an indication of longevity, which takes a level of expertise and customer satisfaction. Go deeper and inquire about the experience of the C-Suite and your account manager to ensure these potential advisors have the kind of experience you need from a warehousing partner.
Your Inventory & Other Specialties
Make sure your prospects have experience in your type of inventory before getting too far into the sales funnel. A company can be in business for 100 years with glowing reviews and never worked with a product like yours. Also ask about any specialties your warehouse partner may have, especially if you plan to expand your catalog down the line.
Work Force & Sub-Contractors
Upper management aren’t the only people who should have experience. Have a conversation about the average tenure of their workforce and your work ethic expectations. Other good questions to ask about employees:
- “How many shifts do you run?” – The more shifts, the more time available to receive, pack, and ship.
- “Do you use sub-contractors?” – While not detrimental, sub-contractors tend to be less reliable. Look for a warehousing partner that employs their own workforce.
IWDG has over 40 years of experience personalizing efficient logistics strategies for our clients. Our professional team emphasizes convenience and transparency. We staff our warehouses 24/7 to accurately monitor demand and respond with dependable supply chain services.
4. Risk Management: “How does your company manage risk to my inventory and your employees?”
Safety is a major concern when it comes to choosing a warehousing partner. From protecting your product to minimizing risk for employees, your logistics company should be forthcoming about the precautions they take in these areas.
Warehouse Safety and Cleanliness
Ask for a rundown of safety regulations and procedures designed to protect the building, its contents, and the people within. Also pay attention to the cleanliness of a facility. Keeping clean not only reduces the risk of accidents and damage but shows professionalism and care.
Outside of physical damage, ensure your warehousing company is taking measures to protect against break-in and theft. Ask about cameras, security officers, and other precautions that will keep your inventory safe.
Regardless of their safety measures, your potential warehousing partners should carry insurance that covers loss in the event of natural disaster, accidental damage, theft, and the like. Do not hesitate to ask about related coverage and what the process for inventory replacement is should your product ever be lost or damaged in their care.
IWDG has stringent safety and cleanliness standards for the protection of your items and our employees. We offer climate-controlled warehousing, staff our facilities around the clock, and carry several insurance policies to minimize risk to your inventory.
Add Us to The List
While these questions are a helpful for conversations with any warehousing service, we hope you add IWDG to your list of considerations. We are happy to talk through all your questions and concerns as we explore how a custom supply chain solution can improve your bottom line.
Whether you’re looking for a little support or a step-by-step guide, we provide a variety of services to help you succeed.
Take a look around or get started with your no-obligation quote today!
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