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I have worked in beauty logistics for over 15 years helping brands of all shapes and sizes to find the perfect warehouse.

I thought it would be fun and useful to write an article covering all the frequently asked questions I have answered over this time.

Q. Are there warehouses that specialise in working with beauty brands?

A. Yes. There are a number of excellent warehouses across the country who have extensive experience working in the beauty sector. I would always recommend that you work with an industry experienced warehouse. Their skill, knowledge, understanding and insight are an invaluable addition to your team. I wrote a more detailed article on this recently. Click HERE for a quick read.

Q. Are there warehouses who can look after my wholesale, retail and e-commerce operation?

A. Yes. A large number of the beauty specialist warehouses have the facility to offer you a one stop shop. They will also be able to provide rework, customisation and gift packing services. Some can even take over your customer service. Warehouses that can offer this ‘under one roof’ service are certainly not the cheaper option. Excellent facilities and services do cost but customer satisfaction, fast lead-times, zero stock loss and a can do attitude are worth every penny in this competitive market.

Q. Whats the best location for my warehouse?

A. This really depends on what type of business you are running.

If you are an e-commerce only business then location really doesn’t matter (providing you aren’t looking in the highlands and islands!) Royal Mail and courier delivery costs within the UK are based on weight and size, not the distance they travel. So whether your warehouse is in Nottingham or Newcastle a delivery to Leeds will cost the same. The caveat to be aware of is deliveries into central London and the highlands and islands all have surcharges.

If your business is focused on retail, particularly the major supermarkets and high street retailers then you are best placed to work with a warehouse situated in the Midlands Golden Triangle, (roughly Northampton up to Nottingham and west across to Tamworth). The triangle contains many of the retailers main distribution hubs and includes the M1, M6, M42 and A1 providing fast and direct access to the rest of the country. Retail deliveries are usually pallet deliveries which are costed based on volume and distance traveled so having your warehouse close to the hubs your retail partners use can save you thousands of pounds over time.

Q. How long does it take to find the right warehouse?

A. My advice is to take at least 3 to 6 months. How ever smooth the transition from one warehouse to another it will have an impact on customer satisfaction and your bottom line. It is not something you can afford to get wrong and certainly not something you will want to repeat. Give yourself enough time to research and visit all possibilities so you can make an informed and confident decision. For my guide to choosing the best warehouse click HERE.

Q. When is the best time to change warehouse?

A. At the quietest point of your trading year. At this point your stock holding is at its lowest and your order volumes are small and less frequent. It also means that your new warehouse should have plenty of time to get used to your account before your peak season breaks. Perfect! For more detail check out my recent article.

Q. How long will a warehouse move take?

A. This will depend on whether you have a total shut down or phased transition. The key thing to factor in is a trailer can hold 26 pallets single stacked or 52 pallets double stacked. If you have a stock holding of 500 pallets you therefore need 20 or 10 trips between your old and new warehouse. Most warehouses will be comfortable loading out and receiving 1 or 2 full trailer deliveries a day. So for 500 pallets you could be looking at anywhere from 5-20 days to complete the move. Communication is king for a smooth, speedy transition. Speak to both your outgoing and incoming warehouse to negotiate a solution that suits everybody. You may be able to speed the process up by looking at after hours and weekend work. This will come at additional cost but may well be worth it in the end.

Q. What the most common reason warehouse moves go wrong?

A. Two things spring to mind immediately. Firstly, rushing decisions and compromising. This always results in disappointment. Secondly, lack of planning. A warehouse move is complicated and needs planning thoroughly with the involvement of all parties.

Have I answered your question?

Feel free to post additional questions and comments below or email me at [email protected] and I will get straight back to you.

If you are planning to change your warehouse in the near future then pop over to my website for some more advice. Click HERE.