October 9, 2019
You have a collection of gorgeous furniture, eccentric decor, and swoon-worthy tableware but is your warehouse well organized and tidy? If your potential clients can’t see your inventory, chances are those items won’t get rented, but how exactly do you organize your warehouse for sales and efficiency?
You work in a sensory overloaded industry where clients (and potential clients) like to see, touch, and feel items. Sort of like trying it before you buy it. If you have inventory hiding in a back room, at your house or an alternate location, or buried so deep that you can’t find it, it’s time to do a little organizing.
If you’ve ever visited the Goodwill bins you’ll understand the conundrum. The last thing you want your clients to do is to dig around trying to find that one piece they saw on your website. Make your inventory accessible so they can play around with your collection, which will ultimately lead to a larger average sale per client.
Another factor to consider when organizing your warehouse is to consider efficiency in pulling and receiving orders. Are your bulky or heavy items closer to your loading dock so that it’s less stress on your delivery team? Are those same items easy to move around in your warehouse, such as on dollies? If you have shelving, are heavier items located lower to the floor so you don’t break your back trying to get something from the top shelf?
And speaking of your loading dock, do you have ample space to stage orders prior to them going out (and accommodate rental returns that may come in all at once)? You can get away with a tighter space during your off-season, but in the middle of those busy months, you’ll want to clear out space. If you don’t, you stand the chance of accidentally mixing up your orders and sending out (or delivering) the wrong item.
Grouping similar items together enhances your client experience when doing in-person consultations, but also helps when you prep and restock orders. It’s already overwhelming as a client looking at hundreds of individual pieces so have everything organized by like items. This includes having your lanterns in one specific area, as well as vases, cake stands, candle holders, and signage.
To stay organized, especially if you carry smalls, you need to have designated areas for prepping orders, staging orders, and items in need of repair. Your staging table is best closer to your loading dock and is where you’ll place your crates of smaller items. We used a combination of a heavy-duty table on wheels (SUPER helpful to be able to move your table around) as well as chrome shelving for smaller orders (and to maximize your vertical space). Your prep table should be farther away from your loading dock as this table will likely get a little cluttered as you prep and process orders.
Having an area for repairs makes it easier for you when it comes time to make repairs, but also takes those inventory pieces off from the floor so that they’re not accidentally pulled during a consultation.
If you carry tabletop items such as goblets, plates, and flatware, it might be tempting to have everything on display on shelving. Unless you keep tableware in a clean room, consider how much dust your warehouse probably makes. You also don’t know what critters may be lurking around during the off-hours. I learned the hard way when our warehouse became a home for a family of mice. Yes, mice. Luckily, all our dishware were shrinkwrapped so I didn’t have to re-sanitize everything (aside from scrubbing shelving).
If your warehouse is dusty, you might also consider keeping your soft seating covered in plastic. No, it doesn’t look the best. However, you need to protect your investments and your clientele will 100% understand and be appreciative!
If items sit for a period of time, especially furnishings, you’ll also want to incorporate dusting into your warehouse cleaning routine. The last thing you want is to show something to a potential client (or send pieces out for an order) that are dirty.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips on how to organize your warehouse. A walking tour of Something Borrowed is below walking you through how I organized our warehouse (and my apologies for the “bumpiness” of the video, it was done on a whim!).