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Who, What, Where, When, Why Cont’d... 4. What does your labor situation like? More square footage means you’ll need more skilled workers to carry out day-to-day operations. The location of your warehouse determines the talent available to you. A facility that’s near a developed area or trading hub increases the likelihood of attracting quality employees. Conversely, you might be able to reduce salary expenses in a rural area. You also might find plenty of people eager for work in a region with high unemployment. Other factors can further complicate the situation. A competitor nearby might have already hired the most desirable workers. If you need seasonal help, your location and the availability of affordable housing could limit who will apply. Perhaps workers will object to walking longer distances in a bigger facility. They’ll be concerned about convenient parking and/or access to public transportation, too. Investigate the local labor pool carefully before making a move. And while you’re at it… A warehouse expansion is a logical time to upgrade your existing facilities, equipment, and procedures. You might explore storage solutions like multi-tier racks, mobile shelving, or mezzanine flooring. These options, particularly the latter, make use of vertical space that’s often overlooked. Hardware and software improvements could streamline operations. So could barcoding and other technology. Safety enhancements might be in order too. Pay special attention to software. The right solution can increase your flexibility and make it easier to meet customer demands for speed and reliability. Check out software that automates routine tasks, manages orders and inventory, connects various brands and warehouses, and provides visibility into all aspects of your operations. Many also integrate with third-party logistics (3PL) providers and offer directed putaway to optimize space utilization. Just remember that even the most necessary upgrades come at a cost. Resources are often tight when you’re adding warehouse space. Ensure that each and every upgrade brings a speedy return on investment, and is included in the overall budget to avoid cash flow “surprises.” Consider the impact on your working capital and make sure to plan accordingly. More warehouse space can make you more attractive to customers with improved delivery times–and boost profitability through lower shipping costs and better scalability. Time to Expand Your Ecommerce Warehouse? A Guide from Extensiv 5

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