Scaling Up a Warehouse Operation

By Joe Waynick
April 12, 2016

Scaling up a warehouse operation is once again on my agenda after several years of downsizing my business.

Unfortunately, personal issues involving my health and important family matters forced me to scale back in 2013.

Now that those issues are behind me, I'm ready to go full bore once again and scale my operation in accordance with the guidelines I teach in my book Advanced Internet Bookselling Techniques.

Running a commercial warehouse operation is no easy task. It takes a great deal of discipline, planning, hard work, and last but not least — working capital.

Here's What I'm Doing Now

I have secured another warehouse but this one is a bit small. Since on scaling up a warehouse operation from scratch I didn't go with a 5,000 square foot facility as mentioned in my book. This facility is 2,600 square feet — approximately half of what I consider the ideal size.

Working with a smaller warehouse presents a few challenges, for sure. Most notably, constantly shuffling 1,000 lb gaylords around to make room for the sorting operation is a real pain.

My decision to go smaller is strictly an economic one. I expect to move into larger quarters in the not-too-distant future as you'll learn below.

book warehouse

I've made arrangements with a bulk supplier of used books and I'm currently processing one tractor trailer per month. Having a reliable source of cheap used books is crucial to a large scale enterprise.

Within two months I expect to get that up to two tractor-trailers per month. After six months I plan to move into a bigger space. Before the end of the year I expect to be processing one tractor trailer per week.

The Challenges with Scaling up a Warehouse Operation

It really feels great to be back in the saddle again. I've been away for far too long. I'm looking forward to feeling out this new market and reporting my progress to my readers. A lot has changed in the last three years. Amazon continues to throw curveballs to serious sellers such as myself, making doing business with them even more difficult.

For example, they are being far more strict these days about the number of units you keep in the warehouse that qualify for long-term storage fees. I spent the last few weeks updating the code to Lightning Lister to adapt to the new policies.

But then again, that's Amazon. They're looking out for their own best interests, and honestly, so am I.

One of the primary strategies that I'm currently developing is creating a diversified business that is not so heavily Amazon centric. In other words, I want to broaden my reach while developing multiple streams of income so that I don't have such a large portion of my eggs in the Amazon basket.

I've had three years to mull over scaling up a warehouse operation once I got back into the game. I'm excited and encouraged at the prospects of this new approach.

I'm also eager to hear from as many of you as possible. Let me know what you've been doing and how your business has been progressing.

Lets Take This Journey Together

I'm excited again! As always, I'm ready and willing to share everything I know and learn with my readers. If you have questions, feel free to contact me. Preferably through my Internet Bookseller's Discussion Forum.

If you don't want to post in the public form, contact me through eMail in the discussion forum.

However, I strongly encourage you to communicate with me the a posting in the form.

Keeping our discussions public will help many others improve their businesses. Besides, it's a lot of fun too! And helping others is what it's really all about, isn't it?

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Joe Waynick is author of several eCommerce books covering the bookselling and publishing industry. His books are available on can also follow him on Twitter @JoeWaynick.

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