Transitioning to a new warehouse is no easy task, but sometimes, it's the only option. Maybe your old warehouse is no longer in operation, or your business needs outgrew your current location. Whatever the case may be, proper planning will ensure your move goes smoothly. Here are some warehouse transition tips.
We cannot emphasize this enough – plan, plan, plan. This is a big move, one that takes a lot of coordination between multiple sources. As soon as you know you're going to relocate, start the planning process. Talk to your current warehouse and your new warehouse to determine the best timing for each step of the move. They will guide you in the right direction.
Transferring to a new warehouse during your peak sales season is a recipe for disaster. Try to time the move during a slow season. For instance, if you sell mostly Christmas items, you could switch to a new warehouse in January or February – after you've completed your clearance sales and received most of your returned merchandise. Each industry has its own demand fluctuations, so you will need to consider the best timing for your business specifically.
When you get close to the official move date, start sending your new inventory shipments to the new warehouse. This will save you from having to re-ship the same products, and it will give you a chance to test out the new facility. Of course you will need to notify your shippers and order fulfillers to let them know where your products are going.
Ideally, you should minimize in influx of inventory until you have made most of the switchover. You may not be able to halt orders altogether, but try to keep the shipments as low as possible. Then when you get situated, you can re-assess your inventory levels and make sure everything is in order. The less room for error you leave, the better.
Most warehouse moves can't happen in one transaction. They have to be set up in stages. You can break your shipments up by department or by time sensitivity. For example, if you need to transport perishable food from one warehouse to another, that will need a faster shipping time than non-perishable items. If some of your inventory is seasonal, like garden décor, you will need to determine if it is best left at the old warehouse or taken right away. Choose the option that will make your products accessible when you need them
Talk to your logistics providers about the best plan of action for your warehouse transfer. With the right preparation, you can get through this process successfully.
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