Many businesses are facing supply chain crunches and high demand for e-commerce options. To manage these issues, companies are increasingly exploring co-warehousing opportunities.
By JORI HAMILTON
With co-warehousing, multiple companies share a warehouse space. This helps companies reduce their costs and gain flexibility.
Co-warehousing seems simple, but challenges can crop up that hamper its effectiveness. Now, let’s look at some of the key questions surrounding co-warehousing to help you determine if it can be a breakthrough strategy for your business.
What is co-warehousing exactly?
Businesses use warehouses to store items. However, maintaining a clean and organized warehouse can be challenging. It can also be expensive for a company to pay rent and other warehouse fees on its own.
Co-warehousing is an innovative solution to these issues and other common warehousing problems. It empowers companies to work together to manage a warehouse. At the same time, it can help these businesses reduce their costs without hurting their service.
Companies can reach an agreement on sharing a warehouse. From here, these companies can use their designated space within a warehouse in the same way they would if they had their own space. Meanwhile, companies share the maintenance and costs of the warehouse.
What are the benefits of sharing a warehouse?
There’s a lot to like about warehouse sharing. Some of the reasons why businesses set up shared warehouses include:
1. Cost Savings
A company pays only a portion of the costs for warehouse space. This allows the business to save money it can later invest in other areas of its operations.
Thanks to shared warehousing, a business can improve its bottom line. A company can share resources with other businesses that use the space. This can help a company manage its inventory with precision and care. Over time, it can help the business grow its profits as well.
Co-warehousing gives a business a limited amount of space it can use to store its inventory. To get the most value out of its space, a company must prioritize organization. If it does, the company can fill its space and keep its stock organized. Plus, the business can cut down on excess inventory.
A shared warehousing agreement can be established for a set period of time. During this period, a company can use its warehouse space in accordance with the agreement. If the agreement proves mutually beneficial for the companies involved, they can extend it. Or, if the agreement falls short of a business’ expectations, it can always look for other shared warehousing opportunities once the agreement ends.
It is important for companies to consider the benefits of co-warehousing and the progress they can make with it. At the same time, businesses must examine the downsides of sharing a warehouse so they can make an informed decision about it.
What are the downsides of sharing a warehouse?
There are several reasons why companies shy away from warehouse sharing, such as:
1. Limited Space
By sharing a warehouse, a company has only a limited amount of space at its disposal. If the company grows, it may need more warehouse space. At this point, the company may need to look for additional space at another warehouse.
2. Limited Control
A co-warehouse offers only a fraction of the control of owning a space. Any decisions regarding the control of the shared warehouse must be made with all businesses that use the space.
3. Potential Stakeholder Issues
There is no telling when a business that uses a shared warehouse space will violate an agreement. If this occurs, it can create tension between any companies that use the space. It can also be difficult to get out of a warehouse sharing agreement before it lapses.
Weigh the pros and cons of using a warehouse space carefully. Then, you can decide if a shared space is the right option for your business.
Is now the time to start using a shared warehouse?
Using a shared warehouse can help a business thrive. On the other hand, sharing a warehouse can be a risky proposition.
To determine if co-warehousing is ideal for your company, assess your business needs. Look at how you currently use warehouse space and how a shared warehouse will impact your company. If you believe sharing a warehouse is a viable option, look for business partners.
Seek out co-warehouse partners that are committed to mutual success. Vet partners and learn as much as you can about them. If you find a business partner, establish a warehouse sharing agreement.
It helps to have an attorney craft a pact. An attorney can also ensure you obtain any licenses or insurance you need before you start using the space. This allows you to run your space in alignment with state and federal laws. It ensures that you can protect your business and its employees against legal issues that could arise.
Lastly, track your results. If you find your space is helping your business achieve its desired results, you can continue to use it. Conversely, if your space proves to be a poor investment, try not to stress about it. Instead, learn from the experience and consider new ways to store and manage your inventory.
Start exploring co-warehousing opportunities today
Consider incorporating warehouse sharing into your business strategy. Next, you can determine if co-warehousing is the best option for your business. If so, you can use it to help take your business to the next level.