The right warehouse partner is essential for growth.
Your warehouse is your work horse.
Your warehouse is your customer facing front line.
Your warehouse is a pool of expertise and knowledge.
Your warehouse provides cost effective solutions.
Your warehouse is a catalyst and driver of growth.
The right warehouse is quite literally ‘a golden ticket’.
The most successful beauty brands I have worked with have all had outstanding warehouses working alongside them.
Finding a warehouse that can be all of these things is a daunting and time zapping task.
My experience has shown that often brands settle for what they’ve got because they are unsure how to begin and approach a search.
Your brand is everything to you so don’t settle for second best.
If you feel you need a better warehouse then grasp the bull by the horns and go out and get one.
Using my experience of working in beauty logistics for 15 years I have pulled together 10 hacks that will guide you through the process.
1. BE CLEAR ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE GOING – before you start to look for a warehouse take time to map out where your company is going; web strategy, retail strategy, export strategy, gift strategy. List out the customers you are working with and those you are targeting. Having a clear plan means you can search out warehouses that have the experience you need.
2. KNOW YOUR VOLUMES – before approaching warehouses create a profile; how many orders you get a day, a week, a month. What’s your average order size in terms of units, cases, pallets? When are your peak months? What reworks and customisation do you require? Providing a potential warehouse with the most accurate profile you can will allow them to provide realistic quotes and show you how their services match your needs.
3. SEEK RECOMMENDATIONS – Talk to other brand owners, network in LinkedIn groups or contact me. There is nothing better than real user experiences to gauge who you think will suit you.
4. RESEARCH – all the best warehouses have websites, Twitter accounts, Facebook Pages, and LinkedIn profiles. Take the time to have a look at them. You can get great information on warehouse specialities and services; you can see pictures of the facility and get a real feel for the ‘tone’ of the company. You can also check out the LinkedIn profiles for the Directors and key team members.
5. VISIT– visit all the warehouses you are interested in. Face to face conversation and a look round the facilities will help you to decide whether these are guys you can work with. Do you click? Are you on the same wavelength? Do things look organised?
6. DO THE MATH – get initial quotes from all the warehouses you are interested in and do a simple cost/ service comparison. If you can apply quotes to a typical quiet and busy month then you can get an idea of the overall annual costs.
7. IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE MONEY – don’t be influenced purely by price. Balance all aspects of the decision equally; services, costs, suitability. Most expensive does not mean best quality and cheap doesn’t always mean low quality. You need to focus on the best match possible.
8. TRUST YOU’RE GUT – I’m a big believer that your gut will tell you which warehouse suits you best. TRUST IT!
9. TAKE YOUR TIME – give yourself enough time to approach the task properly. Changing warehouse is a huge undertaking. It takes massive amounts of organisation and is likely to affect your customer service for a short space of time. It really isn’t something you want to be doing regularly. Getting it right first time is a must.
10. NEGOTIATE – once you know which is the right warehouse for you don’t be afraid to negotiate on any sticky prices. You may not get an instant reduction but you may get the promise of a review after 3-6 months when your warehouse has had a chance to really get to know you and understand your volumes.
Working in partnership with a warehouse that compliments your brand and your goals is a strategic must have for any beauty brand looking to grow.
If you would like some assistance finding your perfect match then jump on my website and have a look at my FREE Warehouse Match Service. While you are there you can book a FREE Consultation so we can chat things through.
Good luck in your search.
Rachel ‘matchmaker’ Whittaker