Partnering with a freight handling company for your warehouse is a big decision. Your company should create a detailed set of requirements and measureable objectives for improvement before contacting potential providers. In this post, we outline some of the top areas to consider when evaluating an unloading service.
If a critical partner in your supply chain were to cease operations or suffer a major setback, the impact to your business would be tremendous. Be sure to select an unloading service which has been in business for some time. Longevity in the market indicates financial stability, a good reputation, and a network of business relationships which enable growth and long-term success.
There are many sources of temporary labor, including temp agencies and staffing companies. Hiring out your labor is as easy as contacting a temp agency and showing your new associates how to move goods on and off of a truck, right? Any experienced warehouse manager should be shaking their head at that last question.
The reality is that efficiency and safety are paramount in the warehouse, and hiring workers without the industry acumen to honor those principles is a recipe for failure. Partnering with a dyed-in-the-wool unloading service will bring experienced and dedicated supply chain laborers and managers to your warehouse, saving you immense time on training and process improvement. Your labor will have expectations of throughput and typical warehouse workload going into the arrangement, and ideally they’ll be properly incentivized based on performance.
Fully Managed Solution
Another big point of contrast between a dedicated unloading service and a temp agency is the amount of oversight and management that comes with the arrangement. Hiring a partner who provides on-site management is the true measure of an effective partner.
An unloading service that manages its provided labor contributes to strategic planning at its client organizations. An outsourced labor manager collects data at every touchpoint in the unloading process and interprets it into information alongside client management. Hiring out labor that comes with its own supervision represents a full-fledged solution to a labor problem, eliminating both the legwork of hiring and the ongoing task of supervision.
As mentioned above, the warehouse (and the entire supply chain) is an area rife with data for capture and study. Loading and unloading times, units per worker, layout and process efficiency, and safety metrics are but a few of the dimensions that can be monitored and optimized in warehouse operations.
An unloading service worth its salt will have made considerable investments in technology, whether through customizing an out-of-the-box solution or in building their own proprietary platforms and software (see LiveDock).
Sometimes companies will stick to more analog approaches because of the difficulty and expense of modernizing, and will rationalize old methods with phrases like “time-tested” and “traditional.” Given the blistering pace of technological advancement today, the digital maturity of a prospective partner should be near the top of your management team’s list.
Are you evaluating a company whose website seems outdated? There’s a good chance their technology behind the scenes matches and should be reviewed carefully.
Flexibility and Scalability
Your warehouse labor partner should be flexible enough to adapt and change alongside your company. Both for short-term spikes in demand and long-term initiatives seek out a partner that is poised to scale and grow with your business.
You may initially approach a freight handling company for help with unloading trucks. If your needs change over time, it’s convenient to be able to pass tasks like janitorial work, sorting, baling, sub-assembly, and store display on to your established partner. Look for companies who are focused enough to do the unloading job exceptionally well, but flexible enough to handle other needs as they arise.
Track Record of Success
Ask your potential partner about their engagements with customers in your industry and similar to your company size. They should be able to detail successful engagements and explain the various ways their service has improved their clients’ businesses.
If you are evaluating a freight handling firm, we encourage you to contact us for a conversation about whether our expertise could be a match for your warehouse or DC.