Stockroom may not be the beautifully designed part of your store, but, arguably, its a critical part of your physical store location that plays vital role in your business management and success.
In numerous ways, your stockroom works as the life-blood of the store’s operations. Thus, retailers shouldn’t only focus on efficiently managing the checkout process, but should also pay keen attention towards stockroom management. It’s not only an area where your extra stock will live and you will receive the shipments, but also a place where your staff will first discover the exciting new inventory and plan how to organize and manage it perfectly.
You will only need to manage stockroom right, and it will help you run a tight ship. But, in case, if you fail to manage it, your stockroom can leak its chaos out onto the floor of your store.
Often (usually around the holidays), the stockroom would start spilling out onto the floor as it becomes overstuffed which lead customers to navigate boxes and hanging racks on their way to the bathroom. Not only customers but your staff will also face trouble while finding the right items to showcase on the racks and to find the items as per customers wish. The tension from all the gingerly piled items also creates issues for the staff as they will not get a place to relax.
However, there is good news, though! We are here with a number of things you can do to keep your stockroom up for success while running at its peak.
Maximize Your Vertical Space to Utilize Unexpected Spaces for Storage
Never limit your inventory placement to the floor space, limiting your space will make you survive when you will need to make more out of your stockroom. These inventory keeping rooms typically have fairly high ceilings, if not, build it up.
To keep inventory onto higher shelving or racks will let you have more floor space for working staff to move with ease and keep eyes on each product, which is always a plus. Thus, investing in a few safe stools and ladders can make navigating the higher shelving easy.
Keep Most Popular Items Near the Front
It’s the best way to help your floor staff by placing your most popular items near the front of your stockroom so they can easily reach the items grab them and get back to the floor. And if customers are waiting, the perfectly defined placement of products can lead your shopkeepers to snap items without wasting much time. And this will also keep them away from rummaging into the back to find a product because delving into stockroom can also eat up time and potential sales.
Utilize Inventory Management Software
Whether you are using POS Solution or ERP Solution, making most out of its Inventory management module can keep all your stockroom operations under control and efficiently done. For example, a great stock control solution will let you accurately predict what quantity of merchandise you will need to get shipped in and when. This is how your stockroom will never become overstuffed and your store’s floor never becomes understocked.
Inventory management software will also make it easy to run inventory counts on regular basis. Hassan Bin Masad, the co-owner of Café Newtella, says that regular stock counts with a great inventory system (they use CIS Retail POS) “saves a lot of time at the end of each month because we do not have to do an entire count, software does its job perfectly.”
Set Up a System (and label it)
A smart key to a functioning stockroom is establishing an organized system for the place where you store all the inventory or items. Whether you separate products by color, department, size, style, or by any other way, it’s entirely up to you, but once you pick away, then stick to it.
Suppose if you have a women clothing store, you can divide the stockroom by petite, plus-size, small, and misses sizing. Not only by size, but you can further divide these sections by the styles of clothing you have, such as denim, knits, dresses, blouses, and trousers. In this way, it will remain easy for the staff to entertain customers with best size and clothing styles available at your store.
And, once you have finalized your system, then stick to it and label it, especially, when you have a large stock room. However, there are small stockrooms that can be easily handled with minimal labeling. But when you are working in a store that has a bigger stockroom, then you might not only require product-labeling but a map too. Thus, if you have larger stockroom, it’s best to pin a small hand-drawn map in the break area of your stockroom so the staff can have a better understanding of where the required products are placed.
Climate Control the Stockroom
Keeping all of your products in pristine condition, it’s important to focus on climate controlling of your stockroom to escape from losses that occur because of change in weather. It is also essential because you are going to have employees working long hours back in the room.
There are plenty of products that can be simply ruined if kept for a long time without having any sunlight, especially when its monsoon. And, a contrivance for effecting ventilation also plays a key role when there is electricity failure or your Stockroom’s AC / fan/ lights stops working. With perfectly designed windows for ventilation will do wonders and will help your staff to complete their tasks on time without any hurdle.
Keep all Mandatory Tools in the Back (and label them!)
A lot of work is going to happen in the back and managing it like a pro is a daunting task. From unboxing, boxing up, printing, folding, retagging, and others, every single task will be done within your stockroom. Thus, you need to make sure that all the necessary tools must be there at the back.
From box cutters to staplers to tagging guns to hole punchers, everything should stay there and every staff member should take care of these tools and put them back after completing their tasks.
Create an Open Shipping and Receiving Area
Your store surely needs a space to receive, place, and unbox all your shipments and there is no better area to deal with them other than the stockroom. To do this task efficiently, set up a desk by the door at a comfortable folding height and also reserve a fairly large, clear space where the shipment boxes can be placed and stock can be easily removed.
The conjugated your shipping and receiving space is, the difficult it will become for your stock management staff to do their jobs smartly and without wasting much time. Thus, it is necessary to give your stock employees as much space as you possibly can for better results. One method you can try to maximize this space is to utilize mobile collapsible bakers racks that can be used when you are in need of some extra storage space and can be removed when the work is done.
By starting with an organized foundation and implementing a few key policies, you can make sure that your stockroom functions with smooth efficiency, rather than becoming a chaotic black hole you try not to think about.