What is a Public Warehouse?
A public warehouse is a facility that stores inventory for many different businesses as opposed to a “private warehouse,” which is owned and operated by the company whose inventory is stored there. Most small businesses cannot afford to own, lease, or staff, their own warehouse. If you own a small business that holds product inventory, read on.
When Should We Look into a Public Warehouse?
When you have to search through 30 boxes – stacked top of each other – in your basement for two hours to find one item for a customer, it’s time to look into a warehouse. A public warehouse will offer warehouse management services (WMS). WMS includes: an organized inventory management system, meaning there is a place for everything and everything in its place; shipping services, at least offered if not mandatory for the contract; and quarterly inventory audits, in addition to any that you would request.
Choosing a Warehouse for your Business
Where is it? It doesn’t matter what your product is, if you’re going to store it somewhere apart from the point of sale, it needs to be within reasonable proximity to where you – and the customer – are. Find out how many miles away from your business the warehouse is located. A simple Google Maps or Mapquest search can assist you with this. If you will be managing your own shipping – ie: picking up your own products – you definitely want it to be nearby. If you’re going to rely the WMS for shipping, obviously, cost per mile is going to come into play.
What does it cost? There is a cost for WMS depending each individual company’s needs. Keep in mind, a good WMS will allow your company to run more efficiently and provide better service to your customers – meaning more return business and better word-of-mouth advertising.
What will they do for me? If a WMS doesn’t offer shipping and receiving services, well-mapped inventory storage and conduct routine audits, they probably aren’t the best company for your business. The more organized and efficient they run their business, the better they are for your business. A good WMS will behave just as if they are your business partner. They will care about your inventory as if it is their own. They will consider your customers as their customers.