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10 tips to maximize your retail back of house storage space

10 tips to Improve/Maximize your Retail Backroom Storage Space

1. Use the Right Storage Units

This seems obvious, but with so many storage options, and storage units available, it is worth looking into whether there is a more appropriate, dedicated option for your inventory.  Spacefile offers a full retail product lineup of High-density shelving and High-density Mobile systems, which can be customized for your exact storage space. Back of house storage space often seems full beyond capacity; A mobile shelving system can dramatically increase capacity, improving efficiency and restoring order.

2. Make the Most of Vertical Space

As stated earlier, the back of house storage area is commonly overflowing, making operations inefficient.  It makes sense to maximize storage space vertically.   Making sure your shelving units are the right height can make the difference between a neat, orderly space and a dangerous one.  Spacefile International Specializes in High Density Retail Shelving and Shelving Systems and has the ability to increase your storage space four-fold.

3. Discount or Discard Old Items

A simple but often overlooked option is to simply remove ‘old’ or ‘obsolete’ stock.  While tempting to hold on to old inventory, it could be doing more harm than good.  Stock that doesn’t sell and sits idle on a shelf, is an investment that could be put to better use.  The easiest way to get rid of ‘old’ stock is to discount it but if that isn’t possible, alternatives can include donating to charity or having a giveaway.

4. Use Detailed Labels

Organization in the back of house storage area is critical to efficient day to day operations. Labelling sections is a great start, but have you considered labelling each shelving level, or used indicators (like arrows) to clearly mark the location?  New staff will benefit from clear signage.   There is a wide range of signage and labelling available, such as printed labels or magnetic strips. 

5. Add a Note Taking Area

Back of house storage area tasks are commonly carried out in a hurry, and there is often no time to communicate observations or issues.  One useful addition to any back of house storage area is a place where staff can quickly and easily make notes.  A simple solution is to place a whiteboard on your storage or shelving system where staff can quickly and easily make notes.   Spacefile offers a range of Accessories that are easily installed on any of their storage solutions.

6. Install Employee Lockers

In a retail environment, there is little to no privacy amongst staff.  Adding lockers not only provides a practical way to store personal belongings at work and reduce the likelihood of lost or stolen items, it also offers the staff their own ‘private’ space away from the hustle & bustle. 

7. Control the Temperature

Back of house storage areas can be very unpleasant to work in if there are no temperature controls in place, especially when located in windowless areas.  Research suggests that small changes in temperature can have significant negative effects on human performance-especially a higher temperature.   Cost effective ways to improve temperature in the back of house storage area include purchasing a fan or opening a window (if possible).

8. Cycle Count Your Inventory

Retailers check the accuracy of inventory with a full physical inventory annually.  This typically requires a complete shutdown of operations and (in some instances), temporary or after-hours staff to complete the count, which can be costly and time-consuming.  Cycle counting allows businesses to count a number of items in a number of areas without having to count the entire inventory.  This reduces costs, and can also improve the accuracy of records, depending on frequency.    Further to this, cycle counting requires a well-organized back of house storage areas (which is a benefit of High-density Storage). 

9. Find the Best KPI’s for Your Business

Getting the most out of the back of house storage area depends on the right metrics. Businesses must be in touch with how well the back of house storage area is performing.  KPI’s that are important to retailers include days of supply, inventory turnover, stock to sales ration, sell through percentage and gross margin return on investment.  A true understanding of your inventory metrics combined with accurate cycle counts will greatly improve your back of house storage area by allowing for effective inventory management.  The area won’t be overflowing, and staff will spend less time looking for merchandise.

10. Aesthetics in the back of house

Back of house storage areas often feel unwelcoming.  There are multitudes of research studies that prove happiness boosts productivity.  Adding color (outside of grey, beige, and white) can affect mood more positively.   In addition, a study conducted in 2014 concluded that adding plant-life to a work space resulted in increased workplace satisfaction and productivity.

Interested in maximizing your space? Contact Spacefile for a FREE Storage Efficiency Analysis.