To Warehouse or Not to Warehouse – That is the Question

With warehouse space at an absolute premium currently, it’s very easy to suddenly find yourself with nowhere to store your cargo once it arrives into Port, and having to stack boxes floor to ceiling in your back office until shelf space frees up. However, with some planning and asking the right questions, it doesn’t have to be like that.

Some people mistakenly believe the shipping process ends when your cargo arrives in Port, however there’s still plenty of work to do, and decisions to make, even once your items hit land.

Once of those important decisions, is whether or not you’re going to need a warehouse.

While it might seem like the only question you need to answer when deciding whether to engage a warehouse or not is ‘do I have the space to store my cargo?’ – there are actually a range of factors to take into consideration. These include;

  • How are you getting your cargo from the Port to you? (Or your warehouse?)
  • How will the cargo be unloaded from the container? By hand, by forklift, and by who?
  • If it IS stored in a warehouse, how will you then move it from there to your office/shop front/home?
  • How long do you need to store the stock? Does the product move quickly?
  • How easily can you access stock when you need it? Will you need to have a truck/courier on standby?

It is easy to overlook these questions until it’s too late, which is why we always recommend seeking expert advice when shipping, especially if it’s your first time.

A key reason behind why warehouse space is at such a premium currently, is because at the height of pandemic-related shipping delays, many within the freight and logistics industry – including us – encouraged people to shift from ordering stock ‘just in time’, to ordering ‘just in case’.

While the shift has paid off in terms of having stock readily available, it’s meant that space to store the surplus has become increasingly scarce.

Added to that is long lead times for anyone wanting to build new storage space – not to mention the increased cost – and you can start to understand the current situation, and why some businesses have struggled to find adequate warehouse space to hold their stock.

It’s a situation that is unlikely to change in the short term, but needs to be taken into consideration when placing your orders.

Another consideration is the type of warehouse space you require – does it have features such as;

  • Fully inspected and rated racking to store your cargo efficiently
  • Enough floor space to stage cargo in and out
  • High reach forklift to use the raking efficiently and safely
  • A container forklift that is sized to go in and out of containers
  • A ramp to provide forklift access in and out of containers
  • Warehouse administration software and printers for labels
  • Warehouse supplies such as pallets, shrink wrap, bolt cutters and other tools

Other things to consider are current Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines, First Aid Kits, spill kits, fire suppression, emergency escape plans, security, CCTV and insurance.

All of the above are included in our 3PL warehousing solutions, ensuring our clients don’t need to worry about anything else other than what they do best in their business.