A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Setting Up a Warehouse
So you set up your own business and keeping stock in your garage or a storeroom at your premises was working out great, until your business started to grow. And now you’re panicking about where to keep everything. Maybe it’s time to set up a warehouse? But where do you even start? Here are a few things to think about:
If your warehouse is going to be a distribution hub as well as a place to store stock, the layout has to be as practical and functional as possible. Plan around doors, windows, and sockets, and make sure that the goods in and goods out areas of your warehouse are far enough apart and open enough for easy access and movement of goods.
Think about what equipment you’ll need
What is going to make your warehouse more efficient and safer? Do you need forklift trucks, or will pallet trucks, sack trucks, or platform trucks suffice? Do you need equipment like stackers and scissor lifts for picking goods at height? Do you need colour coded storage containers or boxes for storing particular components that can be easily misplaced in a busy warehouse?
Make enough provision for packing and stock control
Goods that need to be packaged should be packaged up in an area which is as close as possible to the dispatch area. The packing area should contain all of the packing materials employees will need as well as computers and desks to mark the goods as packed and sent to dispatch.
It’s worth spending some time on perfecting your stock control system as errors can be very costly, both in financial terms and in terms of your reputation.
Think about safety first
As per the relevant health and safety regulations, you need to ensure that employees have access to personal protective equipment, clean overalls, and a separate, clean area to take their breaks in. Employees should be properly trained on how to use the equipment they operate as part of their job, and this training should be given to every new employee and kept up to date.
Where there are forklifts in operation and where hazardous or flammable materials are stored, safety notices should be displayed. Any hazardous materials should be stored in accordance with COSHH regulations.