In our current tough climate, reducing operating costs is a sure way for wholesalers and cash & carries to protect their profitability. Whether you’re a delivered wholesaler or a cash & carry operator, one of the most effective ways to improve the profitability of your business is to improve the efficiency of your warehouse operations, with the help of your warehouse equipment suppliers.

The IGD figures show independent retailers visit their local cash & carries two or three times a week, so the pressure is on to maximise customers’ spend by making sure the different sections of the depot are stocked with the right product. In cash & carries the customer has access to the whole of the depot, so there’s no dividing line between front of house and back of house. Every part of the depot has to perform.

And delivered wholesalers have to manage their stock as efficiently as possible too, from goods in to goods out, particularly with perishables.  In the big wholesaling groups the warehouse side of things is highly disciplined, but it’s a different picture in independent wholesalers and cash & carries, which often lack the discipline the majors impose in product flow and centralised distribution control. Imposing supply chain professionalism and stock management can transform the business. But what state is the warehouse itself in?

Wholesalers and cash & carries, both independents and national groups, can raise their game by asking the companies that supply their warehouse equipment to do more than ‘just’ supply kit.  Ask these suppliers to become solution providers and partners in the business, by helping you use this equipment to best advantage.

This means asking your materials handling suppliers’ opinion about such critical subjects as optimum aisle width. And seeking their advice about ensuring your battery charging and changing areas are up to the mark and planning the best times for truck movements, based around depot opening hours. And if you work with your forklift supplier to ensure everyone who drives your trucks is properly trained, you will also improve your safety standards and reduce forklift damage to your goods.

Similarly, you should consult all your suppliers about how best to use their kit in your business, because you’ll be surprised how much more they can offer you besides the products they sell.

Make it your 2012 resolution to involve your warehouse equipment suppliers in helping you get the best out of your depot operations.

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