It can feel like a combination of report card day, dorm inspection, and getting called into the boss’ office, but client visits are a regular occurrence in the world of warehousing that don’t have to be as stressful as they sound.

It’s not too different from cleaning your house before you have company over—you just need to do a thorough job of tidying things up and showing off your processes before your clients come in so you can wow them with how smoothly things run and how well you’re handling their inventory and shipments.

Much like any other warehouse inspection (you’ve surely dealt with visits from OSHA before, right?) there’s a few things to focus on to make sure everything looks its best. Here’s a couple of our suggestions to keep your warehouse neat and tidy when the clients drop by for a visit:

 

Know who you’re showing off for

It’s always important to know your audience in client meetings, and warehouse inspections are no different. Ask yourself a few questions, like:

  • Are these visitors a potential client or someone who I have an active contract with? Should you highlight the potential benefits of your warehouse (location, item flexibility, cleanliness, etc) or do you just need to show off your performance and remind your client why they picked you in the first place?
  • Am I talking to a direct supplier or a middleman? The areas you need to focus on in your warehouse will vary depending on if you’re being visited by a direct inventory supplier or if you do distribution for a retail chain or other outlet, which means the items of discussion and focus of the visit will change based on their needs.

Get ready to have the right discussion with the right client, and the rest should fall into place.

 

Tidy up

It should go without saying, but make sure your entire warehouse is as clean and organized as possible. Even above and beyond the usual stuff (mopping, cleaning the weird bathroom in the back, etc) try to make sure you’re able to organize your warehouse storage too—keep pallets from sliding off the edge of your pallet racks, don’t leave any empty or half-full cartons around, and try to make sure everything is labeled so they get a good idea what other products you work with.

 

Safety first

Obviously, warehouse safety is a permanent requirement for any workplace, but for client visits it could stand to be more visible. Provide safety gear for any visitors (goggles, hard hats, even lab coats when needed), post up-to-date safety certifications such as forklift certifications and compliance certificates in visible places, and clear out any floor obstructions along your walking path.

 

Keep it professional

We’re not saying you have to enforce a dress code—in fact, more often than not, lack of dress code tends to improve employee morale, and that’s something we’ll always support—but if you’re having clients (whether current or potential) come by, try to make sure everyone looks their best. No tattered boots, no inappropriate t-shirts, and do try to make sure everyone has proper safety gear on.

 

Always ask for feedback

After your tour, take a second to talk to your guests and get some feedback. Was there anything they wanted to see that you missed? Did you suggest solutions for their specific product needs? Do they have a good idea of what you do and how you do it? Not only can this help strengthen client relations, it can also help make things easier the next time.

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