If you are a small business owner, then probably running your own warehouse hasn’t really crossed your mind yet. You probably started off by using storage space available at home: under the stairs, in the garage, etc. But if your business is growing and you’re finding your current storage space a limitation, it could mean that it’s time to expand and rent a warehouse to store more products and fulfill orders.
Warehouses play a vital role in the supply chain and can have a dramatic impact on your business’ bottom line. If you keep your warehouse organized and efficient, it will help your business run more smoothly and you’ll be able to make more money.
What should you consider in a warehouse lease?
If you plan on leasing a warehouse, we would recommend you signing the commercial lease for a longer period of time, because in most cases it can be more cost-effective.
There are many things that affect the lease cost, such as the location of the warehouse space, the amenities, and size of the leased space.
If you mainly rely on local suppliers, you can use Google Maps to see how long it takes to drive from their warehouses over to yours. If most of your products come out of your city or region, check on whether your products come by rail, sea or air and use that information to select the ideal location.
You will also have to see how your employees will reach the warehouse, by public transport? Or they will have to drive there? – in this case, you will have to make sure that the warehouse has available parking space. It’s difficult enough to source good, reliable labor, and offering your staff a reasonable commute can increase the chance that they’ll stick around longer. This will allow them to build even more experience on the job, making them more efficient and also lowers your turnover and reduces the number of new employees you need to train.
Be sure that the loading dock can be used by almost all means of transport – vans, trucks, long trucks with trailers, smaller utility vehicles, etc. You will also need to be sure that the loading bay doors are large enough to allow forklifts carrying bulky items through. When you tour the warehouse, be sure to look for optional extras such as dock bumpers – to keep the trucks from damaging the dock, and wheel chocks – to help the parked vehicles in place.
Amenities and utilities
Running a warehouse might sound different than running your business from your previous location (office, home) there is still some overlap. Amenities like men and women’s bathrooms, break areas, employee parking, a kitchen and access to public transit are still important. You will also have to check the availability of high-speed internet – nothing works without the internet these days, making it a necessity – especially if you are running a web application like Nventree.
There are more warehouse amenities that you have to look for, like how the warehouse can accommodate different products, for example, if you have consumables – then you would need refrigeration, or if your business produces hazardous waste – you’ll need a storage area to keep it until you can dispose of it.
Finally, you will have to find out about road maintenance around the warehouse and in the surrounding area – so you know that the roads get cleaned in case of a snowstorm and warehouse can operate properly.
Leasing commercial space is usually a commitment counted in years, you should check the nearby area more available space in case your business outgrows itself. Switching a storage and fulfillment center is disruptive to your business, the transition can have an impact on warehouse efficiency and the time it takes to fulfill an order.
And expanding business will also need inventory management software that can keep up with the growth – this is where Nventree comes in handy. Nventree allows you to keep track of your stock levels even if you are selling on multiple eCommerce platforms.