Space Management: Make Room for Savings

Running out of room in your store? Be sure to consider the options before making your move. All too often retailers believe the only alternative to cramped quarters in backrooms, office areas, common areas, and selling floors is acquiring additional space. Not necessarily true. In most instances, obtaining off-site storage and relocating people is an expensive proposition that should be a last resort. What appears to be a lack of room is often a lack of efficient space management, which can cause lost sales revenue, poor productivity levels, and an urgency to acquire more space -- leading to increased costs. In many cases, your existing space can be easily reconfigured to save you time and money. Even if you do need more room, you may not require as much as you thought.

Understanding the Issues
Efficiently managed space begins with the recognition of opportunities. These warning signs may indicate a problem.
  • Open spaces on the selling floor, even if the product is on hand
  • Cluttered and disorganized aisles, hallways and stockrooms
  • Excessive time required to put away new receipts
  • Insufficient staging space for large shipments of advertised products
  • Sales associates continually leave the sales floor to locate additional merchandise
  • Poor utilization of vertical space and excessive time required to retrieve product stored on high shelves
  • Sales lag expectations for specific locations where space or fixturing is a known issue
  • Off-site storage or multiple stockrooms required for a single commodity

Meeting the Challenges
Identified space management opportunities? Then it's time for the best practices below.
  • Utilize" space savers" to increase apparel capacity on hang bar by 50 percent
  • Install mobile shelving to decrease square footage requirements and to improve cubic volume
  • Use hand-held "picker poles" to access high hanging apparel
  • Install collapsible or multi-functional material handling equipment to reduce storage space requirements
  • Implement special function storage systems, such as bin shelving for accessories and drive-in pallet racking for large items
  • Design and install special application shelving and material handling equipment to reduce damages
  • Minimize space requirements for P.OS. stations through location analysis and layout; review the use of portable units to handle peak requirements
  • Disassemble, label and design fixturing bins for seasonal or occasional fixturing
  • Use modular, multi-functional, ergonomic office equipment and storage systems
  • Consider mezzanines where high space is available and fast turnaround is not required
  • Review need for mechanical equipment, such as dry cleaners, vertical lifts, carousels

Achieving Results
Reevaluating and reengineering space management will yield significant results. For instance, it will:
  • Increase stockroom cubic capacities 25 percent to 60 percent
  • Improve productivity 12 percent to 30 percent
  • Decrease capital equipment expenditures
  • Increase selling floor space
  • Speed picking and flow-through to the selling floor
  • Reduce frequency of stock room to selling floor replenishment

For more information on this topic contact Pat Fitzpatrick at Atlanta Retail Consulting Inc