In any business it's easy to focus on day-to-day demands of running a business and let the backroom storage devolve into loosely organized chaos. However, an unorganized inventory storage system can hurt your bottom line through lost time, spoiled goods, etc. Use the following storage ideas to get organized and save time and money.
Create a Logical Layout
A logical storage facility or backroom layout can save you and your employees time and money. It is worth the investment of man-hours and capital to reorganize a poorly organized space. First, take the time to draw out your space. You'll want to note any entryways, needed walkways, or emergency exits from the beginning. Your storage space should be organized with the most popular products in the front and anything currently not in use or out-of-season in the back. Within this system, organize your products in such a way that your employees will be able to easily navigate and find desired items. Remember, your inventory storage system should evolve with the needs of your business. As you add new inventory, or as the seasons and trends change, you should revisit your system to see if it is still effective.
Implement a First-In-First-Out (FIFO) Policy
The purpose of merchandise management is to ensure your inventory investment is smoothly translated into revenue. A FIFO system can help you avoid loss of revenue due to expired goods. Put simply, the FIFO system boils down to selling your oldest stock before your newest stock. If your product has an expiration date this is absolutely essential. Tossing all of one type of product into one area is not enough. Organize your stock from oldest to newest to help avoid losing money over spoiled goods.
Take Advantage of Vertical Space With Shelves
If you install shelving using wall panels and shelves, it's easy to adjust your organizational system according to your current and future inventory needs. Shelving offers several advantages for inventory storage. First, it makes your inventory more accessible. It's easy to grab a box or product off the shelf, compared to how time-consuming (and exhausting) it is to move stacked boxes around when you need something from the bottom box. This also prevents you from stacking too many boxes on top of each other. Second, it frees up floor space. It's easy to overcrowd a space by stacking too much on the floor. Save floor space for walkways and forklifts by thinking vertically.
Organize Your Supplies
Don't stop with the inventory; your entire storage area should be easy to navigate. Whether an employee is looking for a box cutter, important forms, or simply a pencil, it's important for your supplies to be organized so you don't waste time or money searching for or reordering items you've already purchased. Hanging bins provide easy access to small items that don't require further organization like pencils. Use cabinets to store anything from safety vests to packing tape to boxes of paper. Choose drawers to hold forms, note pads, etc.
Designate a Responsible Party
Even the best business storage organizational systems require a bit of maintenance to keep things running smoothly. While maintaining the back area should not be a one-person effort, if no one is specifically assigned responsibility everyone tends to let it slide. Find an employee with a passion and/or talent for organization, and give him or her an hour or two every other week to maintain the back room.