As your business grows, it may be time to consider a mini warehouse or commercial self-storage solution. There are thousands of locations across the country where your business can store products for sale or for use by field service technicians, marketing teams and many other uses.
What is a Mini Warehouse?
In concept, a mini warehouse is similar to consumer level storage solutions. You rent only the space you need for the term you need it in a building with many small, secured spaces.
However, when compared to consumer self-storage, commercial self-storage solutions offer a range of options to support your business strategy. Commercial self-storage solutions are also better equipped for business operations in terms of security and services.
Many companies are transitioning to mini warehouse solutions to support a decentralized warehouse strategy. Rather than shipping from large distribution centers, the decentralized strategy moves smaller quantities of product close to the end user.
Major retailers and e-commerce companies are following the trend, moving to smaller mini warehouse options for faster fulfillment and shipping. Depending on locations, you could reduce shipping time by a day or more, leading to higher customer satisfaction. Field service and healthcare companies, among others, are using mini warehouses to store parts, medical devices and consumables in locations closer to the installed base of machines and customers.
What Types of Businesses Will Benefit From a Mini Warehouse Solution?
Regardless of the industry vertical, businesses that benefit from developing a mini warehouse strategy share common characteristics.
First, these businesses typically require at least 300 square feet of unstaffed storage space. Total needs may vary seasonally or with business requirements to support holiday sales, marketing promotions or other tactics that require additional products on hand. With a commercial self-storage option, you can scale up additional space as needed and then contract to your core long-term requirements.
A mini warehouse option is ideal for storing small parcel SKUs typically found in e-commerce and startup businesses. The mini warehouse often provides more cost-effective storage than increasing the square footage of leased office space to store product, which is especially important for small businesses.
As the demand for responsive customer service increases, companies in a variety of industries are turning to commercial self-storage options. For example, retailers can stock high-volume items close to their stores and replenish shelves within hours rather than days.
Pharmaceutical companies store samples in secure locations. Medical device companies can serve hospital and surgery centers for just-in-time delivery for joint replacements and other types of devices.
Service and repair organizations can store parts in a secure location rather than in technicians' trucks or garages. Technicians can retrieve parts faster with smaller distributed locations throughout their service territory.
Advantages of a Decentralized Warehouse Strategy Using Mini Warehouses
There are many advantages to using a decentralized mini warehouse solution, including:
Better Customer Service and SLA Results
A mini warehouse strategy allows you to forward deploy critical inventory closer to the customer. Responsiveness and shipping times are reduced to meet customers' expectations for timely delivery.
For any business, from B2C and B2B sales to field service, the centralized system can optimize your inventory for each location to ensure stock is on hand in areas of highest demand. You save on transportation and logistics expenses while improving customer service.
Increased Efficiency With Inventory Management
For some industries such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices, chain of custody tracking is critical. A mini warehouse equipped with the right technology can monitor the location of each item to ensure complete accountability. The same accountability and visibility is available for retail and e-commerce situations as well.
Inventory management can help you meet high expectations for customer service by tracking and monitoring inventory in real-time. Knowing the right part is available when the service technician makes the initial call contributes to a high level of customer satisfaction.
Employees Become More Productive
Employees can focus on their tasks, so field service technicians, regional sales reps and other key personnel don't have to also function as warehouse workers. The Warehouse Anywhere always-on RFID technology will track inbound shipments and add the products to the inventory, and then manage the stock until it leaves the mini warehouse. Your field representatives and technicians will spend more time in their core functions rather than spending their time manually tracking the inventory.
Our Approach to Mini Warehouses
With warehouses available in more than 10,000 locations across the country, Warehouse Anywhere offers a complete solution for a mini warehouse strategy. Managing inventory in multiple locations is easy with a single invoice for all locations, and you can secure and extend leases using our mobile app. If you have more than 25 units, we assign an account manager to handle all your needs. With five plans available, your mini warehouse strategy can scale up with us as your business grows.
Our advanced technology employs RFID tracking to deliver real-time tracking of every item with an accuracy level that can't be matched by manual methods. Your employees won't have to work as warehouse operators and the accuracy and timeliness of your inventory counts will improve significantly.
We can develop a detailed analysis of parts usage based on historical data and the installed customer base to determine the individual parts, quantities and locations necessary to meet anticipated demands. Anyone in the organization can view the current stock situation via mobile apps and Web access displaying real-time information from the inventory control systems.
Full shelving is provided at many of our locations, so you don't have to invest in fixtures in most cases. Using multiple locations is easy with a single lease payment and a single point of contact to reduce your administrative burden.
Depending on your needs, you can use storage spaces equipped with Bluetooth-enabled locks that can be accessed via mobiles apps so employees don't have to manage keys. Managers can track who comes and goes from the warehouse to monitor employees and manage inventory.
To find out more about how your business can benefit from a mini warehouse strategy, contact us for a quote today!
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