A Stockroom Clean-Up Checklist for Retailers

In the hustle and bustle of everyday activities, it can be exceptionally difficult to keep a stockroom clean and organised. The resulting chaos too often takes its toll on productivity and motivation. 

At Action Storage, we’ve almost 30 years’ experience helping retailers craft and reorganise their storage space, so we thought we’d share our checklist for tackling an unruly stockroom:

1. Discard old or obsolete items

The first step to a better functioning stockroom is to clear out any old or obsolete items. If you use a POS system, the easiest method is to identify products with unusually low turnover. Disposing of such items will not only free up space but could also increase your profitability by improving overall inventory turnover.

2. Tidy away or dispose of unneeded materials

Any unnecessary boxes or packing materials need to be taken care of immediately, as well as superfluous tools and equipment. By obstructing daily tasks, these can be devastating to productivity and may even present a tripping hazard. Less obvious obstructions are unused clothes hangers, which commonly occupy garment rails - find an easily accessible place to store these.

3. Evaluate your storage units

Before completely reorganising your stockroom, it’s worth considering whether your current storage units could do with an upgrade. Product lines may have changed since your original units were installed; in which case, new units could increase your storage density.Technology has also evolved rapidly, with more flexible, adjustable shelving systems and mobile systems available at much lower cost.

4. Find and replace damaged equipment

One last step to take before moving any inventory is to check for damaged equipment. It can be incredibly frustrating to reorganise your entire inventory only to find that your shelving is damaged. Also, check any ladders, step stools and other safety equipment - an essential part of most stockrooms.

5. Examine your inventory and reorganise

This is the biggest, most time-consuming and most important step to revitalising almost any storage environment. How products are stored is perhaps the most critical component in a high functioning stockroom. The first part of this is to develop an understanding of how your products move. Though this can become complex, and will be helped by a POS system, the most important metric is likely to be product turnover.

After analysis, an efficient stockroom might be arranged to take account of turnover, seasonality or product similarities, and will make maximum use of vertical space. For an in-depth look at these techniques, investigate warehouse slotting. Warehousing is the art of storing items efficiently, so it can reveal plenty of valuable insights for packed stockrooms.

6. Ensure all goods and storage locations are labelled clearly

Without a clear labelling system, your products would swiftly find themselves out of placeonce again. Capitalise on your reorganisation to make sure that product locations can be easily identified. One technique is to colour code zones, with corresponding coloured labels on your products. It’s also best to use printed rather than handwritten labels, as staff may find handwritten labels difficult to read.

7. Clean thoroughly

It might be easier to carry out a deep clean while reorganising your inventory, as this will grant you access to those hard to reach places. However, if your inventory is already in good order, with unneeded items disposed of and products neatly stored, this is the perfect opportunity to make your stockroom shine.

8. Make sure tools and materials are replenished and organised

If you require pens, paper, packing materials, scissors or any other crucial tools and materials, make sure there are plenty of working order examples to hand. However, also be sure to assign a place where these can be quickly stored when not in use. Once again, you can use coloured labels to ensure everything is put back in its correct place. Alternatively, craft storage spaces that will fit only the correct item - foam-lined drawers work well.

9. Standardise working practices

Your stockroom should now be in good shape, but the most important question is how to keep it this way? Standardising how tasks are performed with your employees can have an enormous impact. In many cases, it is a lack of standardisation that leads storage areas to become disorganised in the first place. Try implementing a set of detailed procedures for common stockroom tasks, such as receiving items, product picking, packaging, tidying, etc.If you’re a fan of organisational acronyms, you could even build your procedures around the tried-and-true 5S methodology.

10. Go the extra mile

There are a number of recent studies demonstrating that we work best when we’re happy. Stockrooms are too often drab and lifeless places to work. Do what you can to revitalise your stockroom, whether this is adding some plant life, a lick of paint or simply ensuring a stable, comfortable working temperature. In retail environments especially, providing your employees with a restorative space, away from the bustle of the shop floor, can work wonders to boost morale.

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