Choosing The Best Custom Storage for Your Supply Chain
Developing an effective warehousing and logistics plan is an essential step for many businesses. Whether you’re shipping food, industrial materials, medical equipment, or other products, it is crucial to utilize the most appropriate 3PL services for your situation.
Only once you’ve determined your specific requirements can you identify the warehousing partners that will adequately meet your needs.
To figure out the right custom storage solution, you should consider three things. First, think about your product-related storage concerns. Then, decide whether you need contract or shared storage. Finally, determine whether you should take advantage of any fulfillment or value-added services. Let’s discuss these three points.
Think About Your Product-Related Storage Concerns
Different products require different storage environments. For example, let’s say that you are selling food items. In that case, you would need to have food grade storage.
To store food grade products requires a warehouse that follows specific FDA standards and undergoes annual inspections. They also must comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act, maintain a high level of cleanliness, and take precautions to avoid cross-contamination.
Furthermore, you would need to consider whether you require dry storage or temperature-controlled storage.
Dry storage is appropriate if you ship food products that don’t require climate control while awaiting distribution. You could store items with a long shelf life like rice, grains, canned vegetables, or potato chips this way.
However, if you must store your products within a specific temperature range, temperature-controlled storage would be appropriate. For example, you might need refrigerated (32 °F to 50 °F) or frozen temperature storage (-22 °F to 32 °F) for your product.
Whether your product is a food item, medical device or retail product, determine the specific storage requirements to decide which solution is best.
Consider Whether You Need Contract Storage or Shared Storage
If you are not opening up a private warehouse, you should consider the right arrangement with your warehousing partner. As such, you might need to decide whether to use contract or shared warehousing.
Contract warehousing is appropriate for businesses that do not want the high expense of opening a private warehouse but have ongoing storage demands. It offers a dedicated space for you to store your products with a fixed cost or cost-plus arrangement. These arrangements require you to sign on for a specific number of months or years.
On the other hand, shared warehousing allows you to occupy only as much space as you need and pay for what you use. However, remember that the storage space is first-come, first-serve, which means the space you need may not always be available.
Weigh the pros and cons of each option to see which one best meets your needs.
Determine if You Need Fulfillment and Value-Added Services
Your products won’t be sitting in the warehouse forever, so it is crucial to consider whether you need fulfillment or value-added services. For example, you might consider kitting and assembly.
Many businesses choose to assemble their products only once their customers place an order, which helps them improve cash flow. To meet this need, some warehousing partners offer light product assembly services that they can perform before shipping.
Pick and pack services are another popular option, but how do they work? Well, once you receive a new e-commerce order, warehouse employees will review the packing slip and pick the various items off their shelves. Then, they’ll pack the items and ship them directly to your customer.
Perhaps you need other fulfillment services or a warehouse that’s served by rail carrier services is necessary. Whatever your requirements, be aware of all the options available and consider them carefully. By doing so, you will be able to choose the right custom storage solutions for your needs.
At Murphy Logistics Solutions, we offer our customers a wide range of 3PL services. Learn more about our custom storage solutions.