Warehousing is big business. By the end of the year 2018, there was more than 18,000 warehouses in the United States and the growth in this industry is predicted to continue so what’s driving it?
The answer is easy; it’s online shopping and improvements in dropshipping. Just look at Amazon and the sophistication of their warehouses and business model.
Yes, Amazon is at the top of their game, and they’re using the latest technology, including AI, to improve business processes and warehousing.
Your business may not be in a position to compete with Amazon nor have the need or inclination to do so, but what it does need is the proper organisation of stock in the warehouse to use the space as efficiently as possible.
What Does Your Business Need?
With the growth in warehousing, there’s also been a rise in the number of manufacturers and suppliers of pallet racking and warehouse shelving systems. Therefore your job of choosing the method and supplier becomes more challenging.
The starting point is to understand your needs thoroughly so you can choose the shelving system that is right for your business, rather than what’s the most popular or costs the least.
Your business plan and financial statements will determine how your business is tracking and what it needs in supplies and systems to satisfy current and future customer demand.
How important is the warehouse to your business? Set a budget spend for fitting out your warehouse. Once you’re aware of your business requirements, you’ll need to ask the right questions of prospective shelving installers.
Questions To Ask Shelving Installers
You can spend a lot of time critiquing suppliers and not get the answers you need. Here are our top questions for selecting a warehouse shelving provider.
1. Products – Type of Shelving Systems
Choose providers that specialise in fitting out warehouses of all sizes. These companies will have sales and installation experts who can show you their product range and demonstrate how each product may improve your warehouse layout and performance.
Seek to understand the costs and what investment your business requires when choosing warehouse shelving systems, says Speedrack West. It’s easy to get carried away and over-enthused by a system you don’t need nor can not afford.
Remember, salespeople earn their keep by selling as much as they can. They are likely to be rewarded for selling the premium stock, so take control from the outset and review the shelving systems that are right for your business and your budget.
Technology has made significant improvements in the warehouse driven by the needs of big dropshipping enterprises like Amazon striving for greater efficiency and reduction of operating costs. You can be sure that the complexity and added features of the more advanced system would cost a lot more. Therefore make sure you choose a supplier interested in your business and what it needs from a shelving solution now.
3. Supplier’s Experience
Selling the product is secure, and even new suppliers can do this part competently. It’s the installation of the shelving system that requires expertise. Focus your research on understanding the level of experience of the supplier’s installation team.
Get client references, and if possible, go and see the warehouses for a first-hand account of their experience with the supplier. Plus, to further understand their reach of experience, ask to see their case studies.
4. Permits, Seismic Assessments, Safety
Every industry has specific regulations and laws that govern safety, quality and performance. In addition to the usual governance, many rack systems need a permit and need a seismic assessment. Make sure your chosen supplier manages this part of the process for a permit and can provide tips on warehouse safety.
Your warehouse can deliver more business when it’s operating to peak performance. Therefore don’t rush the process of fitting it out. Choose a shelving supplier that wants your business and can be a partner providing you with what you need when you need it!
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