Solving the Warehousing Problems for Small Businesses

Many small businesses start with little more than the basics and bare minimum, but the highest growth period is usually in the first year of business. Sooner or later, the question of where to store everything from archives and consumables through to products and materials will arise. For a long time, the only solution was to move to a larger premises and pile on the costs of running a larger enterprise.

This process is fundamentally flawed because you can never tell if your business is likely to survive past the first few months following the extra expense and if it thrives, you could need to upgrade your facility again, adding further expense to the venture. More and more people are turning to outsourced stock and storage management as a way of ensuring their businesses never need to pay for storage they don’t need or use, but also ensuring the facilities they use when the company is small, has the potential to grow and shrink in cohesion with the level of trade the business enjoys.

Advantages of Using Storage Facilities Over Extra Warehousing

Apart from the obvious cost of purchasing the land and making it suitable for warehousing, there are many reasons why you should use a self-storage facility rather than choose to use your own in-house solution. To begin with, the cost of warehouse building and upkeep alone may not be too prohibitive, but when you consider the extra insurance, staffing and power costs that amount to extra standing bills each month, you really need to weigh up whether a professional storage company would be cheaper than a DIY internal warehousing operation.

The Self Storage Misconception

Most people have their own image of self-storage units in their head, but rarely does the image represent everything that these kinds of businesses can do for other businesses. Hardly anyone who has never used a self-storage facility realises that many offer business space that can be rapidly expanded. Alternatively, the allocated workspace can reduce to suit the needs of the customers who can enjoy a powered unit usable as an extension of their main area of operation, without the need for extensive planning or long-term contracts.

The Drawbacks of Self-Storage

Although for most businesses, the use of extra business space off-site is an added bonus, the fact is that most businesses are wary of leaving employees unsupervised and run the risk of employing someone simply to manage an additional site. This may not be a problem if the business in question is small enough to attribute production or lack of it to the small number of people located offsite, but it can be a concern as the business grows.

Ultimately, the decision whether to move part of your operation to another location or to stay on one site and opt for a more expensive solution depends on how confident you are of staying prominent in your chosen marketplace and any final decision should follow a thorough SWOT analysis.

Karen Underwood is a small business strategy advisor who helps businesses make the most of their budgets through offsite storage solutions such as Spaces and Places in the UK.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *