Small Business Warehousing and Distribution: 7 Questions You Need to Ask

Are you a small business ready to upgrade your storage, distribution or warehousing system? We’re here to help – but the first step is finding out what sort of solutions will give you more productivity for the big price. When considering new solutions, you need to start by asking a series of important questions about your operations and logistics. Get started with these foundational starting places:

1. What Type of Goods Do You Have?

Yes, you obviously know what kind of goods you are selling. But now it’s time to take a close look at them from a distribution angle. What are they? What materials are they made of, and how fragile are those materials? Are there any packaging requirements to ensure product safety or proper use? How large are your products, and how heavy on a per-unit basis? Can shipment size and weight be standardized for all shipments, or do you sell many different products that will take a variety of different approaches to get right? The more product details you provide, the more we can tailor a solution for your needs (the same is true if you are involved in shipping services).

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2. What Does Your Budget Look Like?

How much money do you plan on devoting to your new warehousing solutions? This question is not only about one-time costs. We also want to know how much money you are willing to spend in the future. Is there room for a small extra monthly expense when adopting a new procedure, or is your primary goal to cut ongoing costs instead? This is a very strategic question, so think about the big picture and what your current goals are.

3. Do You Want Specific Improvements, or a Total Overhaul?

Some companies are only interested in fixing one or two things when it comes to order fulfillment and inventory management. Maybe they want to switch to digital documents in one part of the process, or maybe they want to track a particular production or shipping step more closely. Other companies, however, have old system they are ready to get rid of completely and are ready for a full, turnkey solution in a brand new warehouse. We can help with either option.

4. How Big Do You Plan on Growing In the Next Few Years?

Scalability is an important consideration when thinking about supply chain solutions. If you plan on some rapid expansion, you need to pick out warehouse solutions – and space – that will grow with you and give you the tools that you need. This is important not only when considering your budget, but also when thinking about picking out a new storage facility or considering shipping costs.

5. What Does Your Current Packaging Strategy Look Like?

How do you pack your goods? What kind of packaging is necessary for your shipping? Do you use pallets, cartons or other methods of containing product units? How much does all of this cost you? These questions will help use find ways to save you money and develop new, faster ways to deliver goods.

6. What are Your Main Distribution Pain Points?

We ask this question to get an idea of what you don’t like about your current distribution strategy. What about your supply chain makes you uneasy? What do you think is taking too long – what do you believe you are paying too much for? If there were something you could change, what would it be?

7. What Do Your Customers Want When it Comes to Distribution?

Based on your industry, what are your customers demanding for their distribution services? This question isn’t just about low costs, it is about what trends are affecting your market and how products are currently being delivered. Find out what your customers want to stay on top of the game and win more market share.

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