Space Optimisation for SMBs

Updated: June 30, 2010

Aside from the obvious reason why - you need space; you also want to ensure that you are getting exactly what you want. You do not want to spend money on consultation fees, yet do want to be made aware of all the options and latest equipment available. As you are more than likely busy, you will not have time to troll through product brochures, price lists and doing floor plans on butcher paper. Plus, you want to remain in control of what is happening and how much is spent, without spending an excessive amount of time on the project.

How ?

The method I use is to solicit proposals from 2-3 racking vendors and 2-3 handling equipment vendors. Usually they will come back after 4-7 days with their proposal (at no charge!) and costs. The better racking companies will also provide digital, proposed floor plans. This is when the benefits and pit falls of any particular change become apparent. Review their proposals and include a walk around the facility with them, asking questions and putting forward your own ideas - it is your business so you will have a good idea of what you can and can't do.

After reviewing their proposals, costs and timeliness, it will be up to you to select what is viable and appropriate for your situation. You should be able to comfortably postpone moving for a quite while, if you get an extra 15-20% storage capacity, there will be a cost but it is manageable and can be done in increments - a lot better compared to moving or outsourcing.

Remember to review all the options/proposals; goods handling and the racking along with other vendors you may be considering (eg: builders). They will be promoting their own particular product. It is up to you to see the big picture: what you want, how much you want to spend and how it will all tie together.

An important point to remember: include your team in the review process. Let them feel they had some input into the project and that you considered their comments (buy-in). Plus, great ideas or prompts sometimes come from the floor.

And having gone through the process as describe above, you will be intimate with all the proposals, options and ideas, the costs and the timelines. By default you will also have completed your duty of care pertaining to the preferred business practice of obtaining three quotes/proposals and weeded these out appropriately. You will also be able to decide on the variety of options that had become available, eg purchase additional or change racking and/or move racking, you may also upgrade/change your goods handling equipment or a combination of all options or even add a mezzanine floor.

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