Small businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and while many today focus on low overhead, service-based operations, there are some small businesses with more industrial needs, such as warehousing and freight management. Unfortunatley, the tools and guides for such operations are usually scaled for larger businesses. Where does that leave smaller companies? Often, they’re in search of solutions – and they are out there.
If you’re a small business seeking warehouse management solutions, there are strategies that can work for you. From shared spaces and outsourced services to advanced robotics, these 3 solutions are designed to meet your needs.
Platforms Of Scale
One of the best solutions for small businesses seeking support for their stock and warehousing needs is to work under the auspices of a larger platform. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to become a third-party seller on Amazon, but setting up your business through a platform like Shopify can help you gain access to a variety of inventory and shipping tools. For example, just recently Shopify invested in mobile fulfillment robots that will help complete orders faster.
Robotics solutions are typically only available to small businesses working within larger operations; otherwise, they’re simply cost-prohibitive. However, as advanced robotics come to play a greater role in logistics and supply chain management, prices will continue to drop and simpler options will come to market.
Freight handling at the warehouse level requires expertise and proper training. It also requires staff, and both can be unmanageable for small businesses with only intermittent handling needs. So, why not outsource this part of your operation? Rather than trying to cross-train employees so that they can do part-time freight handling work, you can contract with a freight handling firm. This also allows you to offload risk management and workers’ compensation issues onto that operation and can increase productivity at all levels.
Sometimes small businesses benefit from scaling up, as in the example of working with Shopify – working within a large system comes with access to more advanced technology. In other cases, though, these businesses actually benefit more from thinking small. This is often the case when it comes to actual warehouse needs. Does your company really need to take up space in a large warehouse, operate forklifts and other equipment, and otherwise deal with those hassles? Or could you work with a mini-warehouse solution?
Mini-warehouse solutions have proliferated alongside the businesses that can utilize them, from pharmaceutical companies seeking small, secure locations to home operations that just need a storage locker. Mini-warehouses can also be an option for businesses that want to disseminate stock so that it’s closer to customers, allowing it to be delivered more quickly.
Warehouse management isn’t just an issue for big businesses, but it does look different on a smaller scale. By selecting tools that reflect your business’s needs in terms of physical labor, space, and technology, your company can keep costs down and meet your goals with ease.