As business grows, so too does the need for efficient storage. Periodically reviewing how and where you store both stock and business equipment and documents ensures your work environment stays healthy and productive.
#1 – Evaluate Current Space
Over time business needs change. What worked well in the past may not do so now if volume has increased or there are more staff members. Areas to take into consideration include:
Access – has the size of delivery vehicle increased? Going from a few boxes to a few pallets can mean deliveries arrive in lorries instead of vans. Access to your current storage location may no longer be convenient. Likewise, if the type of goods changes, difficulties may arise from curbs, steps or passageway widths.
Security – Outbuilding theft, particularly from garages and sheds, is increasing. As stock values go up, so does its attraction to thieves. If your level of security gives you sleepless nights it’s time to rethink storage methods and options.
Overheads – Predicting stock levels comes with experience. However, unplanned fluctuations such as overstock opportunities can put a strain on cramped storage spaces. If you’ve ever had to turn down opportunities because of lack of space it’s time to rethink your storage choices.
#2 – Use What You Have
Sometimes just changing the way you use the space you already have can improve the bottom line.
Consider some of the more opaque reasons for efficient storage. Instances include staff morale and office efficiency, which often walk hand in hand. Random stock boxes create trip hazards in passageways and on stairs. And, searching for needed equipment causes frustration. All lead to unhappy workers and inefficient systems. Simple solutions include:
Dual purpose furniture such as desks with drawers or built-in file cabinets
Opens shelving on walls to hold file boxes or small office equipment and tools
Dedicated printing or copying areas
Room dividers for privacy or to cordon off stock areas
If the same space serves for stock storage and administration, separate the two for improved efficiency and comfort.
#3 – Off Site Storage
This doesn’t automatically mean hiring a warehouse. These days, around 42% of self storage space with companies such as Big Yellow is taken up by commercial operations.
With convenient room sizes and short term contracts, self storage facilities are viable alternatives to home, office, or warehouse storage. Small operations may occupy one medium sized room, where larger businesses typically hire two or more, adding space as needed. Also, because notice periods are only seven days, rooms are easily given up should business drop off.
Recently, attention is also given to micro business owners whose storage needs don’t go above a few boxes. For those, large lockers provide the ideal solution for lower stock levels, keeping them safe and secure.
Self storage is also the answer if your earlier evaluation flagged up access difficulties. Choose storage companies that have easy access, with large parking or turning areas and wide delivery bays. Also, ask if they provide pallet trucks or trolleys to aid unloading.
#4 – Shun Paper
Traditionally, paper records were vital for customer service and to keep the taxman happy. The modern solution is the virtual filing cabinet provided by cloud storage. Free options from providers such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft or Apple all work to create less cluttered, more ergonomic office space.
Storing documents digitally, but removed from your own hard drives or servers, also addresses the fire and theft safety directive to keep backups offsite.
Neglecting storage considerations can have detrimental effects on any business. Monitoring existing systems flags up potential profit sinks before they open up, allowing for timely course corrections.