Entrepreneurs will have plenty of options when opening a warehouse-based business. There are plenty of small companies out there that cannot afford a warehouse. Thus, they rely on third-party companies to store their products, and this is where you can step in.
By operating a warehousing business, you are essentially helping small companies store their products before distributing them to customers.
But opening a warehouse-based business does come with many challenges. It’s a pretty competitive market, so you must come prepared. Here are things to consider when launching a warehouse-based business.
1. Think About What You Will Offer
When you decide to open a warehouse business, the first step is to determine what exactly you plan to offer. Remember, a warehousing business is not all about storage.
Try to cater to specific areas that you are an expert in. A majority of warehouse operators today also provide overall logistics solutions, including inventory management, account administration, third-party logistics, round-the-clock security, order fulfillment services, and delivery and tracking. When deciding what to offer, keep in mind what your targeted clientele will need.
Consider catering to underserved businesses. For instance, food companies and art dealers may require specific requirements for storage, which means they only have limited options for their warehousing needs.
Try to cater to these by offering a warehouse specific to their needs. When finding your niche, consider the type of warehouse that you plan to build.
On the outside, most warehouses might seem like a “one size fits all” structure, but they actually have significant differences.
A distribution center is one of the most lucrative forms of warehouse-based business. It generally works by stocking things for a short period before distributing them out to clients and customers.
2. Utilizing the Space
When it comes to the design of your warehouse, consider the space. The building size will mainly depend on what your niche will be. Once you have identified your niche, you can estimate how much space you need to run the business.
But make sure you are getting the most from the space. Having too much space will be a waste of money.
The dimension and allotment of space for the products you will store in the warehouse play an important role in deciding the overall layout of the building.
This factor will also affect the designing of the shelves, the capacity of installations, and the distribution of goods within the warehouse. Warehouse space is generally flexible by design since it typically features column-free construction.
But the space should allow for the easy rotation and circulation of goods inside the building and must be organized in a way that workers can quickly and easily access the products from the shelf.
It should also provide workers with a convenient way of identifying and obtaining items.
The number of personnel working in the warehouse is another factor to consider when deciding the layout and size of the space. More importantly, make sure that the space is designed in a manner that the workers remain safe while going around the building.
There should be enough space for them to move and work around the premises to prevent accidents.
3. Health and Safety
Warehousing work poses numerous health and safety hazards. Therefore, one of the most important things to consider when launching a warehouse-based business is to ensure the health and safety of all workers.
Ensure that everyone is trained in all aspects of health and safety, from manual lifting to working at heights, first aid, and COSHH.
Manual handling is the most common reason behind warehouse injuries. To reduce the workers’ risk, they must be provided with adequate training on manual handling to ensure that proper ergonomic postures are adopted.
Since most workers in the warehouse require working at heights, make sure you have the right tools and equipment to assist them. For instance, instead of asking workers to load items on the top rack manually, have them use a forklift.
In fact, a forklift is vital to the efficient operation of warehouses and storage facilities.
Every warehouse-based business must have an effective and comprehensive first aid strategy. The first aid kit should be fully stocked and should contain dressings, bandages, plasters, and other necessary items.
Consider the number of your warehouse staff and the potential risks to determine how many of these you will require.
Another way to ensure health and safety in the warehouse is to have the workers undergo the COSHH training, especially if your business requires dealing with substances that are hazardous to health. COSHH means Control of Substances Hazardous to Health.
During the training, workers will be taught to evaluate health risks on dangerous substances and decide on appropriate control measures to minimize their risks.
4. Automated Warehouse Systems
For your business to be competitive, you must implement systems that can help make your operations more efficient while minimizing human errors and reducing costs. Therefore, you should consider investing in an automated warehouse system.
But first, identify which tasks are repetitive and look for ways to automate them. A fully automated system can significantly benefit your warehouse business if implemented correctly by specialist IoT engineer contracts.
Automated technology can be the key to allowing small warehouse businesses to process tasks faster and handle orders more efficiently, which eventually improves customer experience and makes the business more competitive and profitable.
Warehouse automation refers to the process of automating the movement of products in and out of warehouses and into the customers with less assistance from humans.
It can help make labor-intensive duties much easier, especially those that involve repetitive physical work. For instance, you can use a mobile robot to load heavy packages on behalf of a worker.
The robot can move the product from one place towards the shipping zone, while the software will keep track of the inventory and ensure that records are updated.
Using robots can help improve the speed, efficiency, accuracy, and reliability of various tasks within the warehouse. Inventing automated warehouse systems would require a lot of money, but they can benefit your business in so many ways.