Where you choose to store items or documents can have a huge impact on both efficiency and profits. Through careful consideration (either as a start-up or when you recognise the need for change) business can be both streamlined and frugal with expenses.
Making Smart Storage Choices
Warehouse space only makes sense if you move a lot of stock. It may sound important and professional to use a warehouse, but it can also rack up expenditure. For one thing, you’re not only paying for the space you use, you can also add on VAT, utility bills, business rates and service costs in many instances. Another disadvantage may be location. How easy is it for you to get to the warehouse to inspect goods or pick items for dispatch?
A viable alternative, and one that’s increasingly business-friendly, is self storage. It does away with many of the pitfalls traditional warehousing can drop you into. For one thing, self storage is instantly scalable either up or down providing your company has rooms available. Add short term contracts and small business owners or sole traders can take advantage of stock bargains or seasonal offers without fear.
An organised, efficient stock or store room
An organised stock room should be easy to physically navigate as well as methodical and logical in labelling. It should make tracking inventory easy, and cut down on repetitive tasks or people movement. A few tips:
- Keep fast sellers close to the entrance.
- Install shelving or racks with a walkway down the middle.
- Put labels on shelf spaces as well as boxes. If you have an empty spot on a shelf, you know what should be there. If someone is helping you take a delivery, they can see where things go at a glance.
- Stocktake regularly to weed out slow selling items. Hold a sale or promotion to get them moving.
An organised store room can actually lead to better customer satisfaction and repeat orders when you can locate and get items shipped in a timely fashion.
Save time with a Streamlined Workflow
Time wasting can be a huge drain on resources, whether they’re physical or financial. For that reason, streamlined business operations should encourage efficient work flow. This is true whether you operate a small business and store stock at home or you rent storage premises.
A solution to the time, handling and travel triangle is to combine operations as far as possible. Cut down on handling by taking care of packing items for sale in the same location that the item is stored. You’ll probably need a table or a desk with a cabinet or drawers to hold packing material, but that’s about all. If you can arrive at your storage place with a list of customer orders, then pack and dispatch from there, it saves travelling back and forth from storage to packing station.
Home store creates its own set of problems. Ideally have a room you can set aside for the job, and try to avoid loft or basement storage unless you have very good, safe access. The hard part is finding somewhere that won’t get in the way of family life, but that also gives you easy access and lets you keep an accurate record of stock levels.
Sorting out your business storage may take some trial and error experiments at first. As a new business, for instance, you’re not sure exactly how much you’ll sell no matter how much research or forecasting you do beforehand. Don’t be afraid to change things around or try different systems. Just try not to lock yourself into a storage contract that will stop you responding to a necessary change.
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