When first setting up a business, the entire scope of the enterprise can quickly be somewhat overwhelming. There are dozens of aspects to even something as simple as a bakery, florist or newsagents, all of which need to be seen to and addressed quickly.
As your business grows and expands, logistics and warehouse design and layout will also increasingly become an issue that needs attention. In short, logistics and warehousing involves all aspects of stock, where it is, where it’s going and how it gets there.
Getting Started with Warehousing
At the start of things, all aspects of stock will largely be kept within one building. For some businesses it may well remain this way too. If you own a restaurant, for example, it’s unlikely you’ll ever need a dedicated warehouse space as the movement of goods is very one way.
You receive food, you prepare food, and the prepared food goes straight to the consumer. Waste food is thrown away. All this can take place under one roof. However a business such as a courier, which involves the delivery of goods on behalf of other companies, requires much more stringent logistics and warehousing.
Working out exactly what sort of stock you’ll be handling and where it’s most likely to go is the first step to getting to grips to the issue of logistics. For example, if all your stock will be kept within the company from start to finish, then its oversight will be far more simple than goods being received from second and third parties.
Its easier to co-ordinate with your own people than it is the people of another company. Likewise if your business is contained within a single building, then chances are you’ll be dealing with a dedicated stock room rather than a warehouse.
Another thing to consider is distance. Will your goods be kept within the county? Or is your business more regional, national or even international? If so, you’ll need to plan for things such as ship and air transportation. These carry their own trials and costs that you would do well to acquaint yourself with, such as packaging fees and tariffs.
Remember also the sorts of good you’ll deal with. Dairy products, meats, certain chemicals and flowers, for example, are all products that will need to be kept chilled. This will require a means of refrigeration.
If they’re in bulk, you’ll probably need extensive storage place, which will probably require a specialised building. You can hire storage space from a third party, if you so wish, and doing so is quick and convenient, freeing up attention away from logistics and warehousing towards other areas.
However, in the long run, it’s always more efficient cost- and energy-wise to acquire your won in-company storage facility. Doing so allows you greater personal oversight into how it runs and operates.
As your business grows and its operations expand, it may become necessary for you to acquire a team specifically orientated around logistics and warehousing. In that instance, you can either hire a consultancy to assist you in that regard, or hire one for yourself. The latter case is fastest to do and cheapest short-term, however a dedicated team allows for better growth and optimisation.