Your growing team of employees shares many responsibilities, including front-office operations development, marketing, managing customer relationships—and back-office operations like kitting and order fulfillment. As such, your operational model probably involves ad hoc divisions of labor based on what needs to get done on a given day. Today’s business strategist, as an example, may very well be tomorrow’s box packer.
If you look to eCommerce giants like Amazon as role models, you might think it best to strive toward total separation of your front-office operations and back-office operations. After all, larger companies typically keep office and warehouse staff completely separate: Front office teams may be located states away from the back-office operations staff that are fulfilling orders and stocking shelves.
But as a small business, you’ll enjoy significant advantages—from smoother procedures to speedier processes—if you keep your front-office and back-office operations in close proximity to each other. And there’s a great way to do so, too: shared warehousing, a logistical solution wherein businesses make use of a single space as an all-in-one workshop, traditional office, and fulfillment center.
Reasons for Combining Front-Office Operations and Back-Office Operations
Below are the three main reasons why combining front office and back office operations at a shared warehousing facility can improve your emergent business:
- Improved collaboration and visibility. When businesses design products in one corner of the world and have them manufactured in another, routine tasks—resolving production issues, or collaborating with manufacturers to create the best version of your product—become major hassles. We’re guessing you’re not interested in traveling to another neighborhood (let alone time zone) just to ensure that your products are assembled properly. In contrast, when your manufacturing takes place in-house—i.e., a few steps from where you sit at your desk—you can review products firsthand and easily give precise instructions for adjustments. This is all the more crucial for custom items: If a customer has very specific requests for a bespoke quilt, you can pop your head into the back room and confirm it’s being done right.
- Strengthened sense of community. If your business started off at home, you know all too well the social downsides of that arrangement: loneliness, isolation, and a lack of support, for starters. Not so when you combine front office and back office operations under a single roof. Working steps from colleagues in other departments means you’ll be surrounded by a crew of mission-driven teammates all day. What’s more, being in a shared warehouse facility with other budding entrepreneurs provides you with ample opportunities for networking and strategy-sharing.
- Operational efficiency. By consolidating all elements of your enterprise in a single space, you can drastically reduce production time. At a shared warehousing facility, you’ll enjoy a host of time-saving amenities and logistical arrangements: daily carrier pick-ups, loading docks, conference rooms, stocked kitchens, ready-to-use photo studios, and more. It’s all ready for you to use, right where you are. And you might also be able to eliminate some of your current expenses: No more need to pay for expensive liftgate service, or U-haul rentals, or photo studio sessions to shoot pictures of your products.
For many small businesses, merging front and back-office operations through shared warehousing solutions can be the key to faster, smoother, cheaper, and more pleasant operations. Intrigued? Learn more here.
Saltbox is the Modern Warehouse for digital commerce companies. With our purpose-built network of flexible warehouses in major metropolitan areas across the country (currently open in Dallas, Seattle and Atlanta with many more about to open this year), we are powering the ecommerce economy and the next generation of entrepreneurs by democratizing access to essential operations and logistics infrastructure. From flexible and smartly designed warehouse and office suites to on-demand services like our Elastic Workforce, Fulfillment, and even photography studios Saltbox solves some of the most critical challenges ecommerce entrepreneurs face when starting, growing, and scaling their businesses.