7 Potential Roadblocks to a Successful Warehouse Relocation

It’s settled. The date for your warehouse relocation is scheduled. Now you can sit back and concentrate on all the other work, right? Maybe. However, I’ve learned from experience there are items that tend to be overlooked. Forgetting where you placed your coffee maker is not a big deal. Not remembering a customer needs a large order the week of the move . . . well, that’s another matter.

Few warehouse relocations go perfectly. The key, however, is in avoiding major faux pas that threaten harm to your business. The following are seven critical issues to avoid when planning your warehouse or distribution center relocation. Addressing these issues while still in the planning stage helps reduce time, errors and cost when the relocation takes place.

Check out this handy warehouse relocation checklist.

1. Plan ahead so there are no surprise shipment/delivery issues.

There are few things worse than realizing halfway through the relocation, the order for your best customer is scheduled for delivery that day; and in the confusion of the move, no one knows where it’s at. Bring the warehouse and shipping managers into the conversation to plan how orders and deliveries will occur during the relocation.

2. Don’t wait until the day before the relocation order storage racks and/or other material handling equipment.

Lead times are important in your company, right? You know your product takes X days to make its way through the manufacturing process. Rush orders may reduce that lead-time some. However, dramatic changes to lead times seldom happen. The same is true for ordering additional storage racks and other material handling equipment. It has to come from somewhere. In today’s world, few suppliers maintain huge inventories of new equipment, making lead times longer if they don’t have what you need. Fortunately, a good alternative that can save time is installing used equipment (ECSE carries a large used inventory). Quality used equipment can reduce the lead time and keep the relocation on schedule.

3. Base your future storage needs and capacity on what you know, not what you think.

As a savvy businessperson, you based your decision to relocate upon existing conditions and expectations for the future (growth/downsizing). If your industry is forecasting 6% growth annually, it only makes sense that your warehouse capacity align with such predictions.

Inside a warehouse distribution center

4. Have existing material handling equipment checked prior to the relocation.

Your team may have done a fine job keeping a conveyor working using baling twine and chewing gum. But do you really want to pay big bucks to move something on its last legs in favor of an upgraded version you know will last for years to come? Upgrade your material handling equipment where it makes sense.

5. Have all permits (occupancy, building, fire, etc) in place and ready for the relocation.

This seemingly simple step could stop your relocation dead in the water if you don’t have the paperwork or it is not in order. Contact your local municipalities for more information on permit requirements as part of your planning process.

6. Make sure your computer system is ready during the transition and once the move is complete.

Have your IT team actively involved in the relocation so they can take necessary steps to ensure people at the new warehouse are up, running and networked with those at the old warehouse so that both are able to do business as usual as it relates to internal and external customers.

7. Related to #6 is the failure to update or (if you don’t have) implementing a warehouse management system (WMS).

Look at it this way. Relocating your warehouse or distribution center is like getting a do-over. You have the opportunity to correct and improve the mistakes made the last time. Margins continue to shrink. WMS adds efficiency and control over day-to-day operations. How much? Depending on whether you upgrade a current system or invest in new, the internal rate of return could be 15%, 30% or more.

As we said earlier, few warehouse relocations are perfect. However, avoiding these seven situations will definitely help. The best way to avoid many of relocation pitfalls is by working with professionals who do this every day. Learn more about warehouse relocation by contacting one of our specialists today.

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