Top 3 Factors in Choosing a Warehouse Location
A critical link in your supply chain: the right 3PL partner
Logistics pros know that the right warehouse partner is crucial to keeping the supply chain working efficiently and effectively. You want a centralized 3PL that works well for suppliers and for customers alike. You are looking for that elusive win-win-win scenario that will cover all the bases and not hurt profit margins. Here are 3 top factors to consider when choosing the best centralized warehouse location:
Location, location, location.
No, that’s not the entire top 3 list, but the real estate cliché is just as vital when selecting a warehouse. Location is paramount. Consider where today’s customers are primarily located, and map out anticipated future customers as well. Add the locations of key suppliers. In general, being closer to the customer can mean reduced shipping rates. You can also earn customer service points by offering fast deliveries.
Top supply chain directors see the advantage of smartly centralizing their warehouse and distribution centers. Maintain a wide range of inventory at a location easily accessible by carriers. And choose a partner that can offer options from open warehousing to racked inventory and special services such as pick and pack and other valuable operations.
The R&S Advantage: Our 3PL warehouses are located at the crossroads of I-75 and I-40, close to I-81. From our Knoxville TN area location, approximately two-thirds of the USA is within a single day’s drive. R&S is a perfect centralized resource if your suppliers or customers are in the Southeast, eastern seaboard, or east of the Mississippi.
People in the Process
Consider the workforce at the warehouse location you’ll be using. Has the warehouse been in business for long? Are the staff transient, or can they show you some seniority? Weigh factors such as the complexity of your requests. If the business is frequently handling your freight, or performing value-added services such as kitting, be sure you are comfortable with the staff’s level of experience and reliability.
The R&S Advantage: We are grateful to have many experienced hands in our Knoxville, Tennessee operations, and we work hard to acquire and retain reliable staff. The R&S operation has grown dramatically in our 19+ years of service. We regularly complete value-added projects such as kitting and fulfillment for our clients.
It stands to reason that a facility located in a major urban market will have more expensive square footage and higher people costs. Depending on your needs, it may be a worthwhile tradeoff, but in others, it just doesn’t make sense. Additionally, your business may have special needs: refrigerated storage, oversized items, or high security. You may put a premium on 24/7 data access. The logistics manager’s dilemma: weighing the expenses against the services delivered. What can you stand to live without to hit your numbers, and what are the costs associated with a no-frills operation?
The R&S Advantage: Knoxville, Tennessee and our other locations are exceptional secondary markets. They don’t experience the traffic hassles of Atlanta or even Nashville, and the staffing and spacing costs are significantly lower than those higher-profile areas. These features enable us to maintain more than 800,000 square feet at very economical rates. Our facilities feature closed-circuit 24/7 monitoring. Fire safety and suppression systems run throughout our facilities. Your inventory can be monitored 24/7 from anywhere in the world, using our powerful global enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool.
Choosing the right warehouse, or 3PL partner is so much more than throwing darts at a map and negotiating the cheapest lease. This executive decision is a key piece of your centralized supply chain strategy. The business that you partner with, and the subsequent business relationship, must pay dividends for your company for years to come.