If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It… (But What If You Can’t Tell It’s Broken?)
I recently stumbled across a blog series on DC Velocity’s website called “You Might Have a Bad Warehouse If…” and was curious what defined a bad warehouse. I laughed at the warehouse full of beepers going off every three seconds (I’d have gone crazy after the first few minutes), questioned the sanity of the woman who married a warehouse (but, hey, who am I to judge?) and cringed at the warehouse manager who stuck his finger in a barrel of poisonous chemicals.
Some of the stories on the blog, however, were not so far-fetched, and this got me to thinking about less obvious signs that your warehouse situation might be broken. Below, I’ve outlined a few indicators that it might be time to revisit your current warehousing situation.
Indicator 1: Trailer Detention Fees
Trailer detention fees could be an indicator of a poor warehouse layout (maybe the dock is located too far from the staging area), insufficient manpower (not enough people to load the trucks or stage the product), or simply poor communication between the warehouse and the carrier (maybe the dock can’t keep up with their scheduled appointments).
Indicator 2: Claims from Shortages or Damages (B2B)
Claims could be an indicator that the warehouse has poor receiving processes (maybe problem product is not handled right away and damages are making it back out the door) or poor inventory management (maybe product is getting lost or misplaced and shipments are being shorted).
Indicator 3: Refused or Returned Product (B2C)
Returns are another indicator that the warehouse could have poor receiving practices or poor inventory management (maybe product is getting mislabeled and put away incorrectly, resulting in the wrong product being shipped).
Indicator 4: Large Inventory Discrepancies
Large inventory discrepancies are yet another indicator of poor shipping and receiving practices (maybe the product did not get cycled in and out correctly) or poor inventory management (maybe the warehouse lacks the technology to keep accurate counts of product).
Indicator 5: Excessive Transportation Costs
Excessive transportation costs could be another indicator of poor receiving practices (maybe you are having to send in extra trucks to replace lost or misplaced product), or it could just be an indicator that your warehouse is not ideally situated between your suppliers and your customers.
Indicator 6: Carrier Complaints
Carrier complaints could be an indicator of poor warehouse layout (maybe the warehouse doesn’t have enough docks for the trucks they’ve scheduled), insufficient manpower (not enough people to load the trucks or stage the product), or if you find a lot of carriers don’t like to deal with that warehouse, it could indicate disrespectful personnel on the dock.
If any of the above apply to you, then it might be a wise decision to re-evaluate your current warehouse partner. But don’t worry. You don’t have to face this daunting task alone. By partnering with a 3PL, changing warehouses can go from terrifying to manageable. Here are some of the ways a 3PL can make the process more bearable:
Benefit 1: Knowledge of Industry Best Practices
3PLs make it a point to stay up to speed on industry trends and best practices. By partnering with other experts in the industry, a 3PL will be able to help you find a warehouse to meet your specific needs and requirements.
Benefit 2: Large Network of Partners
3PLs have a large network of partners both domestically and internationally, which means they will easily be able to locate a warehouse in your desired location.
Benefit 3: Can Arrange Transportation
3PLs often have brokerage divisions with a large network of carrier partners. Depending on the consistency of your freight, they can help locate one-off carriers or carriers that will haul the freight on a regular basis.
Benefit 4: Can Coordinate Manpower (Including Quality Control)
3PLs are also experienced in hiring manpower and can help you arrange for quality control officers, security officers, or any other type of labor you may need.
Benefit 5: Can Audit Warehousing Invoices
If the 3PL arranges the warehousing, then they will be the ones auditing all of the warehouse invoices, ensuring proper billing on pallets in and out, storage fees, clerical fees, etc.
Benefit 6: Can Optimize Supply Chain
3PLs will have the technology and knowledge to look at your current warehouse location as well as the location of your suppliers and customers to advise where the ideal location for your warehouse would be, based on warehousing costs and transportation fees.
Whether you need help evaluating your current warehousing or are ready to make the move to a new space, Trinity Logistics can help. With our large network of warehousing partners, carrier partners, and industry experts, we can help you design your own efficient warehousing situation.