It is standard that racking quotes are offered for free in most industries. This makes sense for a client because you want to know what you’re heading into before you sign on for a job. Quotes are necessary in almost every industry, but they are also a source of confusion for many. Today we are breaking down what goes into a quote, and some things to consider when both requesting and receiving them.
Racking Quotes Require Consultation
Quotes require consultation and communication. The more information and detail you provide, the more accurate your quote will be.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution in racking
Each warehouse is different. Physically, each warehouse will have its own dimensions and physical conditions. Beyond that, the product or commodity being warehoused will also dictate the type of racking required. The lifecycle of the product, and the journey it follows through your warehouse also affects the racking system’s design.
The racking company should know about your business and your product
The racking company compiling a quote for you should be asking about far more than just the dimensions of your warehouse. A good racking company will ask about your work and your warehousing practices.
Details will alter the estimated costs of your quote. Some questions worth asking are:
- Is the product perishable?
- Does it need to be stored in special conditions to prevent damage?
- How long is it expected to stay in the warehouse?
- How quickly should it be moving from points A to B?
- How is the product stored?
- How is the product organized and picked?
- Is there specialized equipment being used to pick the product?
- Are there current space needs? Does the warehouse need more space, or can a system be designed to work within the current space?
The answers to these questions will dramatically shape the style and design of your racking system.
For example, a warehouse that stores flowers with a short shelf life would require a moisture and temperature controlled environment. This racking quote may factor in galvanized steel to prevent the rack from rusting. If the flowers are hand-picked, the racking system could be narrower, optimizing space while allowing employees to pick the product by hand.
Alternatively, a warehouse manufacturing tires, stored for months at a time on large skids, would require a wide racking aisle to allow for forklifts to pick the product.
The racking company should be asking about what isn’t working
Honesty is the best policy. When a racking company asks you what you dislike about your current system, be straightforward about what you want changed. Would increased speed be the most valuable thing for your company? What about more space?
An expert racking company would be able to suggest design features to improve productivity. Need more space, but lack the ability to fully change locations? Explain this to your racking expert and they may suggest adding a modular mezzanine to your current warehouse, increasing floor space without the need for changing location. Or they could recommend converting part of your racking to Very Narrow Aisle (VNA), which can save up to 50% of your current floorspace. Perhaps automating a portion of your picking process would increase speed and efficiency.
The main takeaway here is: look for a racking company that acts to improve your system, not just replace it.
Quotes Require Site Inspections
No good quote can be trusted without a site inspection. Site inspections take time, labor and human resources from the racking company. This is part of the professional service required to do quality work.
A site inspection allows for:
- Trained professionals with skills in warehouse and racking design to examine the flow and efficiency of your warehouse
- Examination of your current system and the movement of products in real time
- Gauge shape, size, layout and style of warehouse
- Checking and confirming measurements
- Get first hand experience with the product, and the conditions it is kept in
- Assess the flow of traffic (both human and machine) for efficiency and congestion
- Take stock of the condition of the current racking system. How old is it? Is there damage? Are there pressure points that are putting the system at risk?
A good racking company should request a site visit before delivering a full quote. In the event that a site visit is not possible, the company should be striving to collect as much of the above information as possible.
Quotes Require Assumptions And Need Flexibility
It is easy to look at the number on your quote and make an immediate judgment call on the perceived quality and service you will be getting. But the reality behind that quote is more complicated.
Quotes are estimates. Quotes can vary widely and change for reasons beyond the control of the company giving the estimate. Some factors that change quotes are:
Lead time and unexpected delays
A project that is under a significant time crunch will require more resources, and therefore cost more.
The less time you have to work with, the higher the cost associated with the project.
Unfortunately, delayed projects can also be costly. A project with a delayed start time may require a quote update. Cost of manufacturing and shipping material can change rapidly, as can the cost and availability of labour. If your project’s start time is delayed substantially, expect the quote price to also change.
Costs change as the projects’ needs change
It should go without saying that if your warehouse project plan changes, the cost for the system itself will change. Thankfully, if you are working with a skilled racking company experienced in quote generation, this issue should be flagged early.
An important distinction should be made around the nature of any costly changes. Changes can occur when the client decides to change the design, material, or timeline of the project – resulting in a cost change. But changes can also occur due to shipment delays, material shortages, labor shortages, and even issues arising during installation. In many cases, the changes are unpredictable. Therefore, the quote should include contingencies as well as estimating the cost of potential delays.
A good racking company will get as much information as possible on your projects’ needs in advance to help reduce the risk of costly changes anywhere they can.
A racking quote require time, money, and human resources to be done well, and there is no promise of a contract at the end of them.
This is the cost of doing business, but it is also the best way to provide clear, quality work with as close to accurate costs as possible. Be weary of companies that cannot provide professional-quality quotes. Look for companies that deliver quotes in separate attachments, with clear line items, and an easy-to-understand breakdown of their services and rates. Thinking about getting an amazing quote for your next project? Racked Out does them right. Come say hello.