Whether you’re importing, exporting or both, using an outsourced warehouse facility can be a smart move for small business owners. Let’s take a look at the potential benefits for your business.
Only pay for what you need
When you hire warehouse space you’re only paying for the space that you use. Unless your business will fill a warehouse on a consistent basis, outsourcing your warehousing is obviously going to be a far more cost effective option than building/renting, running and staffing your own.
If you’re currently storing stock or items needed for your business on your business premises – or even in your home – you’re likely to find this inconvenient and not the most cost efficient use of space. It’s also unlikely to be as secure as a warehouse facility, and can even have implications for your insurance policy. Renting the warehouse space that you need is a convenient alternative.
Growing your business is no problem when you outsource warehousing. Simply increase your hired space to fulfil your new requirements. Conversely, if you go through a quiet spell and need to reduce your stock inventory it should be easy to adjust your agreement with your warehouser. Outsourcing your warehousing should be the most flexible storage solution, whether scaling up or scaling back.
Choose the right warehouse service and you should benefit from quicker shipping/delivery times. For example, if you’re an exporter shipping by air then a warehousing service at or near your preferred airport would be the best choice, while those shipping by sea should choose a port-centric service. A strategically placed warehouse will eliminate delays in getting goods from the factory (for example) to your choice of carrier – they’ll already be on-site and ready for dispatch – thus enabling you to keep delivery times short (and your customer happy!).
Similarly, if you’re importing for your business, storing stock in an outsourced warehouse with good transport connections will ensure that the goods are in the country when you need them – without taking up space on your own premises.
If renting out warehouse space was your business then security would be at the top of your priority list – a warehouse service with a reputation for being insecure is quickly going to go out of business. You can benefit from this focus on security when you outsource to the specialists.
A warehousing service can offer much more than simply somewhere to store your goods. Some warehouses offer a full spectrum of add-ons include packaging and labelling, packing and unpacking, inventory management, shipping and dealing with returns.
No staffing issues
With an outsourced warehouse comes outsourced staff who are already trained and experienced in their roles. The flexibility of outsourced warehousing means that you only pay for the labour that you need, diminishing any concerns you might have about managing your staffing levels through busy and quiet periods.
Should you have any special handling requirements – for example, if your goods are oversized, heavy or dangerous – sourcing a warehouse facility that already has the specialist facilities and trained staff in place will save you time, money and hassle, and give you increased peace of mind.
As well as the obvious ‘you pay for what you use’ benefit, an external warehousing service is also likely to have greater buying power for related facilities and materials than your average small business owner. For example, a warehouse offering a packaging service will buy the required materials in bulk, making savings that should be passed onto the service user i.e. you!
Delegate and grow your business
Whether you’re importing or exporting, if you’re a small business owner then the demands on your time and energy are likely to be great. Delegating your warehousing and any other related services that you require will free you from this practical aspect of running your business, allowing you to focus your energies on growth and innovation.