As an entrepreneur (aka hustler, maker, doer, shaker), finding ways to create leverage – more time, more energy, more headspace – to do what really matters is huge. That’s why we strive to provide services aimed to increase leverage for our members. We recently hosted a Concrete Conversations webinar with Drea Williams, Saltbox’s Elastic Workforce (eForce) Project Manager, to learn how smart inventory design can increase any business owner’s impact.
“We have lots of members who move to Saltbox from their garage, basement or dining room – they don’t necessarily know how to optimize their warehouse suite, so we’re excited to help them make operations smooth, clutter- and worry-free.”
Read on for Drea’s tips on setting up a workflow that will have you zooming through your operations in no time.
Drea and the Saltbox eForce team use 10 principles of design to help members optimize their suites. Here she dives into the 5 key principles to set you up for success when setting up and maintaining an efficient workspace.
1. Grouping: the first step in designing is taking stock of what you’re dealing with. Take an account of what you need and what can go – for example, group items into returns, overstock, or discontinued and deal with them accordingly.
2. Homes: As the name implies, this principle is all about creating a proper home for necessary items. Ask yourself “How often do I use this item? Is this the best place for it?” Then make room in a spot that makes the most sense, and be sure to use boxes, bins, or other stackable containers to maximize your space.
3. Labels: Another key to simplifying life in your suite is putting a name to a face. This will allow you to always know what’s where without having to touch it or look inside boxes. Use what you have – old shipping labels, sticky notes, paper and tape, and a good ol’ magic marker – and label all of your boxes and containers. This technique will help reduce how often you have to pick up, move or rearrange items to find what you are looking for.
4. Build up: This one’s a huge unlock! Locate and use as much “dead space” as possible by converting it into storage space. Bonus points for using stackable boxes and labels to maximize storage and minimize handling items on faraway shelves.
5. Triadic design: Our last principle is perhaps the most helpful and is sure to expedite your fulfillment operation. Set up 3 zones for fulfillment based on how often you anticipate handling a product. Zone 1 is for your top selling items, and should be closest to your packing area. Zone 2 is for an average selling SKU, to be placed slightly above Zone 1 near the packing area. And Zone 3 is for the low or niche sellers, and should go up high or down low in your packing area.
There you have it! These foundational design principles can be applied in any workspace and will help you stay organized, particularly with the Holiday craze approaching.
EFORCE AS LEVERAGE
But Inventory Design isn’t the only project our eForce can help Members tackle. Our operations specialists are trained in all the key daily tasks that keep your business running and always ready to pick up special projects too.
Here are some of the services we’ve provided Members to help them create more leverage:
- Assembly: Think putting together boxes or shelves in your suite
- Kitting: Preparing multiple parts of an order for shipment, whether they’re kits, subscription boxes or standard orders
- Receiving & Sorting: eForce can receive products on your behalf, and we’ll assess boxes for quality and sort products however you’d like to set them up in your suite
- Pick-and-Pack: We can help with fulfilling customer orders too by assisting with picking, packaging, and placing inserts into packages
- Inventory management: We’ll help ensure availability and accessibility of your products by tracking inventory levels and restocking items as needed
- Special projects: eForce is available on-demand to support in any specialized work with a bit of training too
This gives you a flavor of the many ways eForce can help you create more leverage in your operations, so you can create a worry-free workflow and focus on the things that matter most to your business.
Imagine having an extra pair of hands to support your busiest season or just to help you take that three-day weekend you’ve been dreaming about. Saltbox’s eForce is here to help!
Saltbox is the Modern Warehouse for digital commerce companies. With our purpose-built network of flexible warehouses in major metropolitan areas across the country, 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.