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A forklift managing inventory inside a storage and warehousing facility.

What to Look for in a Storage and Warehousing Provider?

Warehousing and storage is one of the most common challenges of growing businesses. This is why the number of 3rd-party storage and warehousing facilities are increasing. In this article, we’ll give you a 10-point checklist on what to look for on a storage and warehousing provider.

Warehousing and storage are essential for growing businesses.

In today’s fast-paced and competitive business environment, effective logistics management is critical for success. Central to this is storage and warehousing, a sector that has seen substantial growth in recent years. The need for these services has been driven by the rise of e-commerce, globalized supply chains, and businesses’ increasing focus on their core competencies.

Outsourcing warehousing and storage for your business can bring numerous advantages. It can provide businesses with access to specialized expertise and advanced technology, free up resources to focus on core activities, and offer flexibility to scale operations up or down according to demand. Moreover, a reliable storage and warehousing provider can help reduce operational costs, improve efficiency, and enhance customer service by ensuring quick and accurate order fulfillment.

The impact of warehousing and storage on businesses cannot be overstated. It plays a vital role in maintaining the flow of goods, protecting inventory, and meeting customer demand promptly.

Consider, for example, a growing retail business. As the business expands, it starts receiving orders from across the country. Managing inventory, storing goods safely, and ensuring timely delivery have become increasingly challenging. By partnering with a third-party warehousing and storage provider, the retailer can efficiently manage these logistical challenges. The provider can handle the storage, order fulfillment, and distribution, enabling the retailer to focus on marketing, customer service, and business growth.

Warehouse managers reviewing inventory inside a storage facility.

What to Look for in a Storage and Warehousing Provider

#1 Strong Security Measures 

Security is paramount when it comes to storage and warehousing. This is because your inventory constitutes a significant part of your business assets. As such, a good warehousing provider should have robust security measures in place, like CCTV surveillance, onsite staff, and gated access. If this quality is absent, you may face the risk of theft or damage to your goods, which could lead to financial losses and disruption in your supply chain.

#2 Industry Specific Standards 

Warehousing needs vary across different industries. As such, a good warehousing provider should have the necessary understanding and capacity to handle the specific requirements of your industry. This could include special storage conditions like cold-room storage for perishable goods. If your warehousing provider does not meet industry-specific standards, it could lead to improper storage of your goods, resulting in damage or spoilage, affecting your business negatively.

#3 Easy to Work With

The warehousing provider should be easy to work with, as this reduces stress and makes the process more enjoyable. If a provider is difficult to work with, it could lead to misunderstandings, errors in inventory management, and retrieval issues. This could subsequently lead to delays and inefficiencies in your supply chain, negatively impacting your business operations.

#4 Flexible Warehousing Services

Business needs can change rapidly, and as such, flexibility is a crucial quality to look for in a warehousing provider. They should be able to accommodate last-minute changes, such as overflow storage, without any hitches. If a provider is inflexible, it could lead to inefficiencies in your inventory management and an inability to respond to rapid changes in demand, negatively impacting your business growth.

A woman packing and organizing items in a warehouse.

#5 Quality Fulfillment Services

A warehousing provider should offer high-quality fulfillment services, including receiving, storage, and re-delivery of your inventory as needed. This helps streamline your operations and save time and effort. However, if these services are lacking or of low quality, it could lead to inefficiencies, delays in order fulfillment, and even customer dissatisfaction, which could harm your business reputation and bottom line​​.

#6 Reputable Track Record

Experience and reputation matter a lot in warehousing. A provider with a reputable track record likely understands the intricacies of warehousing and can provide the best experience possible. However, if a provider does not have a solid track record, it could indicate a lack of experience or poor service, potentially leading to issues with your inventory management and overall business operations.

#7 Technology Integration

In today’s digital age, a warehousing provider should be able to integrate with the latest technologies, such as Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), the Internet of Things (IoT), and data analytics. This ensures efficient inventory management, real-time tracking, and data-driven decision-making. Without this capability, your business could face operational inefficiencies, inaccuracies in inventory tracking, and a lack of actionable insights for improvement.

#8 Customer Service

Excellent customer service is a quality that should not be overlooked. The provider should be responsive, provide timely updates, and address any concerns promptly. If a provider lacks good customer service, it can lead to communication gaps, unresolved issues, and overall dissatisfaction, which can affect the smooth operation of your business.

#9 Scalability

As your business grows, your storage and warehousing needs will also increase. Therefore, it’s crucial to find a provider that can scale their services to match your growing needs. If a provider lacks scalability, it may be unable to accommodate your business expansion, leading to potential bottlenecks and hindrances in your growth.

A warehouse manager in front of the facility.

#10 Reliability

Above all, reliability is a key quality to look for in a warehousing provider. They should be able to consistently deliver on their promises and meet your expectations. A reliable provider ensures that your inventory is well-managed and that your operations run smoothly. If a provider is unreliable, it could lead to inconsistencies, delays, and disruption in your supply chain, which could negatively impact your business operations and reputation.

Bonus Quality: Add-on Services

Not all storage and warehousing providers provide equal servicing. Some do it better than others. That’s why you should also look into add-on services a provider offers because they can take your business to the next level. Some services to look for are order fulfillment, kitting, packing, and labeling. Getting these services can make your operations smoother and can increase your productivity. 

When looking for a storage and warehousing provider, it’s important to be meticulous when evaluating your prospects. That’s because you’re giving them a lot of responsibility and influence on your business operations. Hence, mistakes and missteps can have catastrophic consequences.