The right storage for your inventory is vital to running an efficient business that has what people want and doesn't keep what they don't want. But today's business owners have a myriad of choices when it comes to how to actually store these goods. To help you find the right storage methods, here are the pros and cons of the most common types you will encounter.
1. Block Stacking
The most basic storage method is the one that most people are familiar with at home. You would begin with a large base item — for stores, this is usually goods stacked on a pallet — and stack other, newer items on top of it. This is an easy inventory method if you clearly label all containers and sell goods on a "last in, first out" basis. But it becomes unwieldy quickly as product lines grow. You also may lose some inventory at the bottom or rear to expiration or breakage.
Shelves are an easy upgrade from stacking. You may choose standalone shelf units that can easily be reorganized in a storage facility or you can install permanent shelves for a more solid and stable system. Shelves allow you to place newer inventory to the back of older inventory or alongside it. The key to shelf storage is, as with stacking, clear labeling of the goods as well as consistently placing them in the same location.
Do you have inventory that is larger than a standard shelf? You may want to consider adding racks to the mix. These could be as narrow as you need them to be for the facility's size or they could come as large as pallet racks. Using racks forms a good basis for future growth, but it may call for specialized equipment or ladders to reach upper levels.
4. Climate-Controlled Storage
If your goods must be kept at a certain temperature (warm or cold) or a certain humidity level, you need climate-controlled storage containers. These units, available in either "dry" or "cold" varieties, are sealed to protect the perishable or sensitive items. They generally need access to electricity, but many units are small enough to be moved when necessary. If individually sealed units feel like overkill, consider climate-controlled storage units instead.
Which storage method is right for your space? The answer depends on your inventory, the space it's in, and your goals as a business. But no matter what you choose, giving attention to how your inventory is placed will help you boost efficiency while keeping costs to a minimum.