As your small business grows and develops over time, you might realise that you are soon growing out of storing products in your spare room or garage. That actually dropping off a bag of 100+ items to the post office every day is counterproductive. So where do you go next? If you find yourself in this situation you might be ready to look at logistic partners.
What does a logistics partner do?
Your logistics partner is the company responsible for carrying out the deliveries of your products directly to your customers, both nationally and internationally. What kind of logistic partner do you need? One that does everything from storage/warehousing your products down to being responsible for moving them in and out of the UK? Or a mixture of needs. The location of your logistics partner is key and shouldn’t be overlooked.
“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker
Whether you are using a single or multiple logistics partner, there are some location based factors that should be considered.
6 Reasons Why Your Logistics Partner Location Is Important:
If you’re using third-party warehousing then you need to consider;
- How near are they to your facility/offices/manufacturing premises?
- How easy is it to arrange a visit to view your products? If it’s a full day trip to the other end of the country, with all the costs of time spent and miles travelled to cover – is it really in the best location for your needs?
- National distribution costs (more detail in below sections). For example, if your warehousing fulfilment partner is located in the Midlands, then you’ll have a central location to distribute from, evening out your costs and the delivery service offer to your customers.
2. eCommerce B2C Fulfilment & Distribution:
Regardless of what platform you conduct your sales through you will need to consider the location of your warehousing partner and parcel carrier distribution. Too far east or west, right at the end of the country, they might not be able to offer your business a full range of delivery services that your customer needs (especially B2C) and your pricing may be inadvertently affected.
3. Location To Airports and Seaports:
Nobody wants to be spending large amounts of time and money moving products around the country. As an importer and/or exporter, you will need to consider where your products enter and/or exit the UK in relation to their origin or destination.
- Do you have access to seaports? Most of the UK’s major seaports are located in the south of the country
- Do you need access to major airlines? Any air cargo will be best placed near international airports with access to major airlines.
- Your business location in relation to airports and seaports can affect the cost of haulage and add time to your product’s journey.
4. Transport Costs For National Distribution:
Where are your products going? Consider the location of your warehousing/distribution centre in relation to national distribution. In Rural and fringe locations, you may become restricted in terms of service and distribution which will then impact pricing.
5. Export packing:
If you’re a manufacturer and your freight forwarder provides in-house export packing services then it makes perfect sense to be located nearby. Collection of cargo from your facility and subsequent transit to seaport or airport for export transportation will be made cost-effective and time-efficient.
6. So what could be some of the best locations for freight forwarders in the UK?:
- Access to major UK seaports are located mainly in the south of the country (aside from Liverpool).
- You will find a wealth of single and multiple logistics partners to major UK seaports.
- If you are an importer, when it comes to the cost of national distribution from seaports to your distribution centre and from your distribution centre to your nationally based customers taking a more central location like the Midlands can help balance your service and cost options.
- You will also want to consider locations near major airports. The busiest airports in the UK are Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.
- Lesser known is the fact that East Midlands Airport is the UK’s busiest pure cargo airport and second only to Heathrow, handling over 320,000 tonnes of flown cargo every year.
- Pinnacle Freight suggests the Midlands is the best-placed location for a logistics partner. The Midlands today is incredibly well connected, sitting at the heart of the country’s transport network. With relatively equidistant locality to all parts of the UK via major motorways and main road networks, the Midlands is the obvious location that makes the most sense from a road freight perspective, positively managing your time and cost efficiencies. With East Midlands Airport being the UK’s busiest pure cargo airport, you’re well placed to access the best air freight services and rate options available for your international cargo.
Once you have an idea of what your logistic partner needs are and where they are located my advice is to talk to them. Ask them all the questions you have, visit their warehouses, see the operations in full swing, discuss your needs and find the right logistics partner for you and your small business.
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