Within the logistics industry I would definitely consider chemicals to be a specialty. If you are a manufacturer or distributor of chemicals or materials that are classified as hazardous your supply chain likely demands higher levels of compliance. It’s important to understand that the level of care required when handling these types of products is not something that every 3PL, warehouse provider, or logistics company understands.
If you are in the market for a warehouse or 3PL to help you with the storage or distribution of HAZMAT products I would highly recommend that experience is at the top of your criteria list. Look for someone experienced in handling hazardous materials, but don’t just take their word for it. Get proof of their experience in the form of a site visit, customer references, registrations with DOT and SARA, training certificates, etc…
Although HAZMAT products are packaged in a variety of ways (bags, cartons, pails, etc…), companies experienced in working with chemicals are likely to handle a high volume of drums. These companies also understand the storage and handling conditions of various classes of chemicals. A warehouse provider should have a minimum of segregated storage areas, containment dyking, and both building and in-rack fire suppression systems. Since many chemicals have specific temperature requirements you may need to look for a provider that can offer temperature controlled or heated rooms as well.
An experienced HAZMAT logistics provider is going to be well versed in compliance with HAZMAT training, DOT shipping regulations, OSHA compliance, SARA reporting, and MSDS reporting. If compliance is important within your own company, make sure your warehouse provider or 3PL shares these same values. A good partner with a great WMS may be able to help you take compliance to a whole new level.
So, whether you are looking to outsource some warehousing, or if you need a partner to manage your own distribution facility, make sure the selection process is thorough. Only after you’ve looked at experience of the providers should you move on to secondary criteria such as location or price. Doing your homework up front during the selection process is sure to save you time, money and headaches in the future.
Evans Distribution Systems has over 30 years of experience working with chemical distributors and manufacturers. If you need help with the warehousing or logistics of your products call us today and see how we make it easier with Evans, 313-827-9921.