Running a 3PL Warehouse Yourself…Good Idea?

3pl warehouseWarehousing is the performance of both the physical and administrative functions related to the storage of goods and materials. Such functions include the identification, inspection, verification, making receipts, putting the goods away and retrieving them for issuance, and many more.

Managing a 3pl warehouse can be tricky; you have to consider a lot of things first before you can set up a truly efficient warehousing system on your own. Just think about all the associated tasks (inventory control, storage, distribution, receiving, etc) and other responsibilities involved. Organization is another story. You will also have to be responsible for managing your employees, so they adhere to your warehouse protocols and (even more important) safety regulations all the time.

Warehouse safety is always (and should be) the first on your list. This means maintaining a neat and organized warehouse, so it becomes a safe place for work and to comply with OSHA and local fire department codes. Warehouse floors must be water and oil-free, and must be free from cleaning products as well, especially spills that can easily cause slips and injuries. The traffic area must also be free from plastic wraps, cartons, or anything that could cause accidents. All these can be prevented with an effective warehouse safety program best suited for everyone’s needs. Is your firm ready ready to tackle this?

Since receiving and delivering stocks are among the main phases in warehouse operation, aside from storage, you also need to mandate driver training courses intended for vehicle and equipment safety so your employees will possess the needed skills to operate various warehouse equipment such as mechanical loaders, forklifts, lifters, electric stackers, and shrink wrappers. Enforce safety regulations strictly. Both warehouse handlers and general employees should wear sufficient protection equipment during warehouse operations. Is your firm ready ready to tackle this?

Managing a warehouse employee staff promotes warehouse operation productivity and efficiency. This means you should conduct employee evaluations on a periodic basis. Praise them for their good performances and identify their weaknesses. Point out their unprofessional behavior, as well. At the end of the day, reward a job well done, and introduce suggestions and recommendations on how to stimulate improvement in specific areas. Each of these tips are useless though, if in the long run, you do not carefully follow up on future progress. Is your firm ready ready to tackle this?

Running the overall warehouse operations is another responsibility you must ensure you are fully capable of doing. Conduct regular visual inspections of the storage areas and every corner of the warehouse in general. See to it that everyone strictly follows policies regarding designated areas for merchandise storage, and these areas must be clearly marked. Pallets must be checked for damage from time to time, and employees must also be capable of loading pallets the proper way to promote stability at all times. Always make it a point to record the inspection dates, including any damage that you find. Is your firm ready ready to tackle this?

It is also important to review scheduled deliveries, as well. Always coordinate with your drivers to ensure efficient movement of merchandise coming in and out of the warehouse. All these things make managing a warehouse go smoothly, and aside from your organizational talent, you must also possess effective interpersonal skills too. You need to communicate properly to your team so everyone can work as one solid unit. Is your firm ready ready to tackle this?

It comes down to cost and what we term the aggravation factor of running a warehouse. Is your firms’ core competency warehousing, transportation, and fulfillment? If so, you are probably not reading this blog in the first place. If your competencies lie elsewhere, take a good long look at the economic and company-wide effects running your own warehouse versus outsourcing offers. Many times, Advanced Bonded is a cheaper and less painful way of running a 3pl warehouse.