Working with a fulfillment warehouse can become a gratifying partnership when you find one perfectly fitting your business structure. It can also become a nightmare if you’re locked into a contract and realize you can’t escape a warehouse unwilling to grow with your company.
It’s all the more reason you need to learn how to assess your fulfillment company to know whether they’ll continue to give you the services you expect. The best time to assess a fulfillment warehouse is before you even start working with them.
Vetting can take some considerable time, yet the more time you take, the more you’ll target a warehouse just right for your business structure. With millions of logistics warehouses around the country (and world), you have a lot to analyze.
Nevertheless, if you’ve been working with a fulfillment company throughout this year, it’s time to look out for some things at the beginning of 2017. Doing so helps you make a more educated decision about whether to stick around or move on.
Doing a Walk-Through of All Warehouse Operations
It’s unfortunate that too many businesses take fulfillment warehouses at face value and assume they’ll work on automatic pilot doing shipping duties. Not knowing what’s actually going on in the warehouse can come back and haunt you if you don’t go and see for yourself.
If you haven’t done an in-person walk-through of your warehouse, do so as soon as possible. You’ll be able to scope out a lot of issues you otherwise wouldn’t if you just go by what someone else tells you.
A full audit of how well the warehouse conducts their services could take more than one trip. Even so, it’s worth it to know they’re living up to what they promised in the contract.
Have all technology used in the warehouse assessed as well to make sure it’s up to operational standards. Finding any outdated technology there may require updates to keep your logistics competitive.
Some assessments can work without in-person visits, and looking at data through a metrics platform saves you time. Make sure your warehouse uses analytic tools regularly with easy accessibility at all times. By allowing you access on any mobile device, you’ll have freedom to check out the numbers on how well your fulfillment center operates daily.
Metrics programs also give you summations over periods of time. Now you can do annual assessments to compare with the previous year.
Interviewing Staff Members
Those who do all the warehouse tasks know what’s going on more than management does. That’s because they’re the ones in the trenches doing all the physical labor. They’ll know where the real problems are, as long as they’re transparent about it.
Interview the staff individually so you can get different perspectives on how well things operate there. When you assess all their opinions, you get a better picture of how well they function based on the procedures management set in motion.
Benchmarking for Future Improvements
The concept of benchmarking is a proven method in warehouse assessments since you can use comparisons based on others, as well as your expectations. Using your warehouse contract as a guide, you can see where the fulfillment center needs to improve for the future.
Through the employee interviews above, you’ll weed out small things that could make a big difference in how fast you get deliveries out to customers.
In 2017, you may have specific goals for taking yourself to the next level. Doing benchmarking helps you see whether the warehouse is truly up to this in the next year. Comparing with what similar businesses and warehouses do helps you make a more educated decision about whether to continue your fulfillment relationship.
Contact us at insightQuote so we can help you assess quality fulfillment centers through our FulfillmentCompanies.net site.