Welcome back to our 5 part series written to help you understand how to choose the best warehouse for your company. Last week we gave an overview of the 3 key factors in selecting the perfect warehouse. When a company starts the search for a third party warehousing company, the first consideration needs to be centered around the best location in the country. The best location is sometimes a very difficult question when you start to consider the needs of suppliers, shippers, and customers. On international freight, you have to understand how you intend to manage your importing or exporting of freight and specific modes of transportation via air or ocean. A great location will obviously take into consideration the business climate, traffic, and interstate systems. With some diligent analysis, a company can make a great long term decision about the best location for the warehouse operations.
Suppliers, shippers, and customers have varying needs that will significantly impact the location decision. Memphis and Atlanta warehouses both tend to be great distribution locations as you look at the accessibility for stakeholders. For instance if your primary customers or suppliers are in the Southeast, Atlanta warehouses will work as a great option. Memphis serves as a great option for the Midwest, Gulfcoast, and Southeast. When making the warehouse decision, determine the primary need driving the decision. Is this the customer, the supplier, or the shipper? When you focus your warehouse location search using this primary decision driver, you will make better choices.
With international freight, the process of importing and exporting freight can significantly affect the decision. International has two primary modes of transportation in the air or on the ocean, so you need to consider the needs of the freight that you are moving and how you can utilize one of these modes. Obviously ocean freight requires a port location for ships to be loaded and unloaded, and air freight is going to require an international airport. Most freight forwarders will use gateway airports that have the most choices for international flights, and your primary ocean ports are on the east and west coasts with a few along the gulf coast. With these several options of how you can move freight internationally, you will need to factor this into the best location for your warehousing and distribution needs.
Some locations in the country have better business climates than others, and this needs to be factored into decision making for a warehouse location. Multiple factors are at play in the business climate of a location such as tax advantages, workforce and cost of living. For instance, Memphis offers certain tax incentives for companies relocating distribution into the area, and the cost of living is average or lower than many major cities in the country. Warehousing and logistics are labor intensive, so you want to make sure that you have a strong workforce in the area to support your operations. These business climate factors can make or break a warehouse location decision.
As you can begin to see, this warehousing location question can get quite in depth. When you start considering the business climate, international freight modes, and the primary needs of your suppliers and customers, the decision becomes complex. Easley’s team works with customers daily to help with these types of decisions, and we are here to serve you. Our people have experience in air and ocean freight. We service locations in Atlanta, Memphis and Chicago daily. Join us next week to learn the second crucial component to selecting the perfect warehouse… Warehouse Pricing & Value. Please let us know if we can help you in your decision making process for a warehouse location.