How and where you store stock and office supplies makes all the difference in business efficiency.
Depending on the type of stock, storage needs will differ, but whatever category yours falls into, taking a methodical approach will give you the best storage and retrieval system.
Organise Your Stock Room
Disorganised stock rooms are frustrating places. Keep yours optimally stocked by:
- Creating neat rows with a walkway down the middle, thereby avoiding a maze.
- Label boxes clearly and also label the area on the shelf where the box goes. Labelling shelves makes it much easier to know where an item should go if there are none already in stock to refer to.
- Have your fastest sellers closest to the door.
- Have regular sales or giveaway events to move slow sellers. Don’t let dead items linger in spaces you’re paying for.
Create a Home Office
Running a business from home has many advantages, but storage and working space aren’t one of them. If you can take over a spare room, this is the best option but it may not be possible.
In that case, look for spaces that you can commandeer and work to cordon off the area. Ideas include using bookcases as room dividers to provide a small office area. Use the shelves to house office supplies or equipment, and install shelves to keep important items out of easy reach.
When you’re storing stock at home, keep safety in mind. Give thought to potential hazards like toppling boxes or trailing wires, and also consider delivery access. Garage storage might be a safer option than loft storage, for instance, if your stock is cumbersome or heavy.
Make Smart Storage Choices
Don’t be tempted into paying more for storage than you need to. It can feed your business ego for instance to have warehouse facilities, but it’s a waste of money if your needs are actually smaller. Secure self storage is also a viable option and these days operators are very business friendly. Self storage is also less costly than warehousing since you won’t be liable for VAT, business rates or utility bills, and your space is easily scalable (either up or down) as needs dictate. This scalability makes for nimble business operations when you can take advantage of buying bargains without worrying about storage space.
Cut down on Paper
Reduce the number or size of filing cabinets by adopting cloud storage for documents in a digital format. Free cloud storage will get you started, or opt for paid accounts with providers such as Google, Dropbox, or a Microsoft subscription. If you do online accounting, you will also have document storage available, with the added advantage of attaching invoices etc. to specific transactions.
Combining storage with business operations
Small businesses dealing mostly with online sales can optimise time and storage by creating pack and dispatch zones right within their storage area. A small desk and somewhere to house packing supplies lets you prepare orders for postage without wasted transport costs or travel times.
Use appropriate containers
Haphazard storage leads to damaged or misplaced items, both having the potential to eat into profits. Storing things in suitable containers helps:
- Archive boxes – prevent paper goods turning yellow and brittle over time. They also protect from light, so documents don’t fade.
- Transparent tubs – help you find small items faster, plus you can see at a glance when a line is running low.
- Cardboard boxes – use ones with lids. They’re easier to stack so take up less space.
- Garment covers and rails – keep hanging items in good condition, free from dust or creases.
Optimised storage saves time and money in the long run. With a good system in place, you’re free to work on growing the business rather than fretting about high bills or misplaced items.