5 Things to Consider While Choosing Cold Storage Services include location, temperature control, security measures, accessibility, and pricing. If you are handling perishable goods, raw materials, and products like medicines, you need special cold storage facilities to extend their lifespan. These facilities are ideal for reducing damages, preserving the products, and ensuring they are safe for consumer consumption. Cold storage facilities are ideal for storage and essential to comply with product safety laws and ensure excellent customer service and product quality.
When selecting a storage facility, you must widen the scope and consider various facilities to ensure you get the best one. Therefore, you need to pay attention to costs, size, storage resources, facility location, special services, and the duration you need to store the goods. Before settling for any, you should also visit the shortlisted facilities to rate them in terms of sanitation, safety, and services delivered.
So, to help you select the best cold storage service for your business operations, below is the list of factors you must consider.
1. The Resources Available
Before leasing a cold storage facility, pay attention to the resources they have to keep the product fresh, viable, and safe for consumers.
First, consider transportation services, including shipment services for products that need freezing. Such facilities can help you move products to the desired destination, or they can pick up the goods from the port to the storage facility.
Next, consider the integration of technology into the warehouse. High-end cold storage services integrate different preservation and monitoring technologies, like IoT and AI systems.
Reliable cold storage facilities should have smart refrigerators and freezers to monitor the products automatically and adjust temperatures. Such facilities can operate without human input and function automatically, even on weekends and holidays when employees are away. These technologies are also essential for monitoring the storage facility remotely.
Focus on the facility’s organization, design, and compartmentalization to store different goods at different temperatures. Your team should inspect the facility to ensure it is clean and fresh to ensure a conducive internal environment for the stored goods. The facility should be clean, and workers getting in must have all the safety gear.
2. Storage Durations
Before you select a storage facility, consider the duration you need to store the products and how essential it is to have the storage facilities.
Cold storage services enable you to store the products for varying durations, from short- to long-term storage. Knowing the duration helps you determine how much you will need to incur for storage. Based on their operation models, various facilities have a storage duration beyond which you must move the goods to create space for other clients.
Consider short-term services if you use them as part of your e-commerce business, i.e., storage products awaiting delivery. For such needs, create a long-term business relationship with the service providers to ensure your products are handled safely, and you can always have room to store your goods. If you have a startup or smaller company, you should lease the facility or services for long-term needs before building a permanent facility.
For one-time products, i.e., goods you do not trade in frequently, you need short-term storage. However, if the goods are used as part of your manufacturing business, long-term storage will be necessary; hence, you need a permanent or long-term facility.
3. Storage Costs
When charging you for storage services, most facilities would focus on significant expenses plus the profit to determine the cost per hour. These expenses are mainly related to security, electrical needs, and special expenses for various products like medicines. This explains why certain products, like vaccines, may cost more to store than other products. Other factors, like the volume of goods, facility location, and weather, can also significantly affect the costs.
If you need the storage for long-term storage, you can consider negotiating the costs to avoid higher storage expenses. Therefore, nearby facilities offering affordable rates conducive to long-term storage needs should be considered and selected.
To avoid paying more for long-term storage, consider constructing your storage facility with specialized systems and sustainable energy sources to reduce energy costs.
4. Quality Services
When selecting storage systems, hire a company or facility that will offer you additional services. You need special transportation facilities like cooler trucks; hence, consider one with such facilities.
Next, you must ensure that all your products are secure and well-protected in the storage facility. Ensure the facility has CCTVs, security guards, and fence barriers to deter theft and vandalism.
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While your goods are in storage, you should get constant notification on their condition; hence, consider a facility that communicates regularly. At least you should have a dashboard to monitor the stored goods, their condition, and other details like expiration. They must also have modern and automatic storage facilities, enabling you to preserve the goods longer without any issues.
5. Facility Location
Location matters a lot when dealing with perishable goods. They should take the shortest time to reach their destination to avoid any damage. Therefore, an ideal location will depend on the nature of your operations. For example, if you are importing these goods, consider getting a facility located closer to the port to avoid transportation over a longer distance.
Also, ensure the facility is located closer to the road or targeted market to ensure the trucks get to the market and destination faster. If the facilities are located further away, consider hiring special transportation facilities like cold trucks.
Note that the facility location can sometimes have an impact on the costs. Those located closer to facilities like ports can sometimes be expensive due to their strategic location.
When leasing cold storage services, ensure they have resources, including special ones for specific goods.
Next, ensure the environment is clean to avoid issues like smells, which can lead to damage. Select those closer to the road for easy access or those located closer to the market for the goods to be delivered faster.