Keeping expenses in line is very important to the overall health of any business, and even more so for small storage or warehouse type businesses that are trying to avoid debt as they grow. Since building or renting a larger building is both expensive and disruptive to your customer base, it makes sense to think about creating more space in your current location, instead. Here are some low cost ways to help you find and make the most of every square foot of your current building.
Make A Plan
Create a detailed sketch of your current building, penciling in the location of all fixed infrastructure that will be left in place, such as doors, staircases, loading docks, and restrooms. This will give you a clear picture of the present configuration, while helping you visualize what changes are possible.
Contact your local planning and zoning or regulatory board to obtain a copy of any regulations you will need to comply with as you make changes. In most areas, business owners will need to remain in compliance with safety guidelines and undergo periodic inspections. Be aware that any changes that involve the structure of the building will probably require additional permits, as well.
Now that you have a good idea of your current layout, and know what you will need to do to remain in compliance with local regulations, you are ready to begin formulating a plan.
Improve The Flow
Buildings that are older or have been used for more than one type of business in the past often have inconvenient flow patterns. Perhaps the offices are still located in one corner of the business, but placing them nearer the center of the operation would be more convenient. Look at each area to determine if the layout is efficient, or if changing some factors would be useful in creating additional space and better flow.
Watch for corridors that can be redesigned, to improve the overall flow and movement through the facility. Making these changes will also help reduce traffic and maximize the efficiency and safety for your shipping and receiving staff.
Improving the flow also means handling each box or pallet as little as possible. Studying the actual movement of the products and materials from the receiving dock to the shipping dock can offer valuable insight into the process that can help you determine the best way to make positive changes.
Improve Storage Systems
Many warehouse and storage businesses can double or triple their available space, just by getting the stored goods up off the floor. Investing in sturdy warehouse shelving or pallet rack systems is a one-time expense that will pay off for the life of the business by doubling or tripling the available space of your facility.
These systems offer floor-to-ceiling storage space, increased capacity and the ability to free up floor-level areas for other needs. Access is easy, efficient and safe, using a mechanical warehouse lift, like those at http://www.uslift.com.
Another tool that can greatly enhance the profitability of a warehouse or storage business is installing a fully computerized warehouse management system. These systems apply a unique tracking number or radio frequency tag to each package, pallet or container as it arrives at the warehouse and then uses it to track it throughout its stay.
Much like the bar code in a super market, a simple scan can offer a complete and accurate record for each product or item stored in the facility, making tracking and inventory effortless.
Making changes in your current building can increase the efficiency and storage capacity of your building and help you maximize your business so that it can continue to grow while keeping expenses low.