Successfully growing your business sometimes means you outstrip your warehouse capacity. Optimising storage and rationalising stockholding is the first step to freeing up space. A new warehouse is the only option once all avenues have been exhausted. Ensure you choose wisely.
Determine Your Priorities
What you eventually choose is likely to be a compromise, so it pays to have a firm stance on what the unbendable criteria are. Space, location and price are the top three factors:
Total square footage coupled with height for available “cube” is just the starting point for filtering prospective facilities by available space. Other space-related factors to take into account are:
Age – Modern premises lend themselves better to installing technology and materials handling equipment than much older ones. They may also have more comfortable office space attached. Older premises may be tried and tested but may be liable to higher building maintenance costs and are liable to be lower.
Loading bays – Do you need bays for a large fleet of smaller vehicles? Cross-docking may be a consideration now or in the future. That may require a yard all around the building and bays in alignment with clear cross access.
Yard space – Access for trucks with adequate space for turning and manoeuvring. What about future requirements as business grows?
Internal layout – Does it suit what you have in mind? Are there building columns that may cause problems? How about eave heights – do you have plans for vertical storage? Can a mezzanine floor be easily added? Can floor slabs support the weight of proposed loadings.
Choosing the right location for a new warehouse is important. Critical factors may include:
Close to customer base - Are you better with multiple small staging facilities (hubs) close to customer locations or concentrating on a single storage and distribution centre?
Close to production facility – A production line may require a local warehouse.
Close to sea/air/rail/motorway transport links – Proximity may reduce onward transport costs.
Available labour pool – A remote warehouse may be very cheap but will it attract the workforce you need?
Fitting out and equipping a warehouse shell is a significant expense. Assume the previous occupants have stripped it bare when compiling numbers. Much can be sourced from the second-hand market but start with costing brand new supplies to arrive at a headline budget.
Racking & shelving – Keep automation in mind unless you are certain it won’t be required.
Signage, labelling and line marking – while not big ticket items these will need to be budgeted for
Basic handling equipment – Forklifts, picking carts, packing stations.
Lighting – is often a fit out item so any fitted may be specific to the previous occupant and will in any case ned to be re-aligned to your storage layout
Fire safety - ESFR and standard sprinklers, fire extinguishers.
Administration and staff facilities – Office accommodation possibly with reception area, toilets, furniture, fixtures, fittings, internet & phone system.
IT – Desktops, laptops, handheld scanners, tablets, printers, conduits, cabling, networking.
Security – Access control, CCTV, intruder detection, security station, adequate locks and barriers.
Download Our FREE Guide
Investing in the wrong warehouse can be a costly mistake, and it is worth taking some time to weigh up your options and see what can be achieved within your budget. Download our free Warehouse Productivity Guide - How To Design & Run An Efficient Warehouse to ensure productive design is at the heart of your decision. For confidential advice please call 01285 640038.