Choosing a warehouse service provider is an essential step for any business that needs to outsource their order fulfillment. However, selecting a reliable and appropriate provider is easier said than done. Whether you are merely looking for a company to handle your product distribution or using a full-service logistics provider, you would need to understand how the entirety of their warehousing services works.
Here are a few questions you need to ask before settling on the service provider that would cater to your needs.
What Type Of Products Do They Have Experience Handling?
One of the first things to ask when working with a warehousing service provider is if they have enough experience to handle your line of products. Whether its glassware, chemicals, clothing, electronics, batteries, or perishables, you need to make sure that your they can support your items.
Ask if they have the proper infrastructure to store and handle your products correctly. If not, these inadequacies could lead to costly returns, as well as delays. Ensure your service provider could give you the special service needed to ensure the safe and on-time delivery.
What Warehouse Management System Do They Have In Place?
A successful warehouse service provider would come with fully equipped with high tech warehouse management system (WMS) tools such as include bar codes, radio frequency ID, voice-activated technology, and pick-to-label, automating processes. A warehouse with complete and properly running WMS has higher accuracy and speed in identifying, locating, and moving inventory.
Ideally, the service provider could also link with your e-commerce platform or website giving you seamless order fulfillment. This way, you could also monitor and track the flow of your inventory.
How Large Is Their Warehouse And Do They Have Capacity Constraints?
Recently, eCommerce has seen a rapid increase in traffic as more people stayed in their homes for protection against the pandemic. For such situations, you need to find a service provider that could handle your anticipated growth.
As a good rule of thumb, a reliable service provider would have enough space for triple your current requirements. This ensures that they could quickly and efficiently handle fluctuating demands, adapting, and scaling according to your business.
Could They Keep Your Inventory Safe And Insured?
Ask your them if they provide coverage or insurance in the event of theft, fire, flood, or accidental damage while your inventory is in their facility. What safety measures do they have in place for such occurrences? What are the procedures for handling a claim? Request for a copy of their insurance and claim policies.
What Are The Costs And Their Respective Breakdowns?
Identify how the service provider would like to be compensated for their services and the breakdown of their fees. You should request them to give you their pricing, such as for minimum and maximum amount of inventory they could handle. Some providers evaluate their pricing based on each type of service they provide, such as storage, picking, packing, and delivery.
Ask if they could provide any incentives or discounts to decrease the price in specific processes or areas. Also, ask what penalties you could incur if you cannot or have a lapse on your end of the contract.
Lastly, review their standard service agreement as contractual arrangements for each provider could vary widely.