Your office storage space may be an area you avoid because you just don’t want to think about it. To keep things in good order, you need to stay on top of what you store, how you store it, where things go and who can access them. With careful attention to these factors, you can keep your storage area tidy and consistently manageable.
Adopt Lean Inventory Practices
How long does it take to bring in new consumable supplies? If you need custom post-its, the printing is what takes the most time. Stock enough to avoid running out while new ones are printed. If you need pens, remember that you can usually get them delivered the next day. Quick delivery options give us the chance to use the supplier’s warehouse as a storage facility. Make sure to set up a favorites list of items you order often so the ordering process is more efficient.
Utilize Vertical Space
Keep things off the floor and be willing to put overstock items on high shelves. If possible, keep things on the highest shelf in the original packaging so you can easily locate it and pull it down. Make sure to invest in a sturdy step stool or ladder to avoid tumbles. Warehouse storage will require a trained forklift driver to take down objects from the highest shelves. Make sure to share forklift safety rules and provide thorough forklift training to all using these versatile tools. Create barriers that will prevent people from walking too near a working forklift, and make sure any unattended forklift is turned off and safely parked. If you don’t have a forklift, you can rent one as needed.
Designate Scrap Bins
Whether you’re working with paper, wood or metal, make sure to set up scrap bins for any material to be recycled or discarded. Using a transportable hopper will allow you to dump large amounts of scrap at once. Your storage space will need plenty of access for scrap transport vehicles to get to the transportable hopper bins. Design your storage space with this access in mind.
Customize Your Methods
No matter your industry, your storage needs will be unique. For example, metal storage will be impacted by moisture. The sale of your scrap metal will be impacted by corrosion, so you will need drying agents around your scrap bins. Paper storage can also be impacted by moisture or excessive heat. The adhesive on envelopes can be compromised if allowed to get too wet or too warm. Be sure to set up your storage area in a spot that won’t compromise the usability of stored materials.
Make a Map
Take a tape measure and create a grid of your storage area. Document what items are located on each shelf and draw out a map or list so anyone visiting the space can easily find the items they need. If your storage facility includes products for sale, make sure the shelf location is included in the product description on your inventory management software. If you’re storing consumable supplies, consider transferring the map to a spreadsheet. Once the grid has been set up electronically, people can simply search for what they need on the spreadsheet, find the shelf location, and quickly access the items.
Use Color and Labels
Storage can be very limited. If you have multiple departments working in one small storage area, use color and custom labels to let people know exactly where their items are. Sturdy cardboard boxes can be covered with colored paper, plastic bins in a particular shade can be gathered and put to use, and shelves can be carefully marked to avoid confusion.
Keep a Log
If you find yourself running out of crucial supplies because nobody spoke up when they took the last one, keep a log at the door of the storage room. For companies that need to lock up supplies, make signing in and out part of gaining access to the key. Have workers jot down a quick note of the supplies they picked up. Should you find that things were left messy or items are missing, you may have to limit access even further. Nobody likes to have to babysit a storage room, but by carefully monitoring it you can save responsible employees a great deal of frustration.
A messy storage area can cause a lot of complaining and gossip. If you’re storing metal scrap or other recyclables, a disorganized storage room can be quite dangerous. Make sure to let people know that this room serves a purpose and is more than just a catch-all. Define the storage spaces with shelving that can be easily accessed via stepladder or forklift. Keep a log or list of who’s been in there, as well as any items that need replacing. Don’t buy more than you need to store on site.
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