Warehouses are becoming more important in business. The concept has been around for thousands of years, so they are nothing new. However, they now play a more pivotal role than ever before because of the sheer volume of goods processed in the modern economy coupled with fierce competition.
The purpose of this post is to offer guidance to businesses that may not have operated a warehouse before. Check out our advice below.
Start Planning Now
Setting up a warehouse takes longer than you might think. While there are plenty of contractors who will promise to throw up a building you can use in a couple of months, that just refers to the construction phase. Planning can take much longer, not just because you have to wait for permission, but it can also take time to thrash out what you really need.
If you can, consider renovation. Currently, there are hundreds of unused and unloved buildings that you could restore and convert into something that benefits your business. Renovation is typically easier than starting from scratch.
Involve The Entire Team
The success of your warehouse depends not just on you, but also support and buy-in from the entire team. The facility needs to meet the needs of everyone who is likely to use it. This includes workers on the ground, managers, and even your suppliers and customers. You want a setup that can accommodate as many of their needs as possible.
The next step is to consider who you will work with. Make sure that you choose a good interior flatwork contractor who can create a level surface for you inside. You need to be able to wheel items along the ground easily, without any annoying changes in gradient.
You’ll also want to hire a project manager to oversee the construction (if you don’t have one in-house). This individual will need to bring together multiple teams and contractors and organize them in a way that results in completion on budget and schedule.
Don’t Implement Technology Immediately
Many firms like to plan precisely what format their warehouse will take in advance, deciding on the technology they will implement ahead of time. Taking this approach is common, but not recommended. Warehouses are complex ecosystems of relationships. Trying to plan them down to every last detail rarely works.
Instead, take an agile approach. Try new technologies sequentially and then iterate on them as you go along. This way, you can build up your warehouse efficiency naturally, instead of feeling like you have to compete with Amazon from the get-go.
Vet Your Contractors
Don’t just choose the first contractor that comes along offering you a quote. Instead, delve into their track record to see whether they offer the quality of services they claim. Check that they’ve worked on similar projects before and then call their past clients to confirm what they tell you.
Maintain Your Focus
Even while warehouse construction is going on, you need to maintain focus on your existing customers. Avoid getting sidetracked by passing management over to a dedicated project manager.