There are many reasons you might need to move your warehouse operations to a new location: upsizing, downsizing, lease issues, better location for improved logistics, and natural disaster, to name a few. And just like moving to a new house, while it’s an inconvenient and burdensome task, a facility relocation can be exciting as you anticipate new beginnings and plan for a positive future. But whether you are moving a few hundred feet or a few hundred miles, lacking a solid plan can cost you dearly in terms of inventory loss, theft, excess costs, and customer alienation- not to mention the stress associated with a chaotic move. Here are some tips for implementing your move with minimal downtime, business interruption, expense, and headaches.

Re-evaluate Existing Layouts and Processes

This is your opportunity for a fresh start and the perfect time to make long-needed changes to existing facility layouts and processes. Could your pallet rack layout be reconfigured for better efficiency and increased storage? Could you rearrange departments or stations to reduce travel time? Could you improve your material flow? Do you have new challenges to address and meet? Is it time for a complete redesign? Keep in mind it may cost you more to reuse all of your existing equipment in the new space (especially if you wish to remain in business during your move) rather than purchasing part of the equipment required to get started at the new facility. Take a close look at the big picture before making a decision.
When moving to a new location, you will be starting with a clean slate, so the opportunities to make changes for the better are nearly endless. This is a time for careful evaluation of what you presently have in order to create an improved operation for the future.

Assessing Existing Inventory

You should make every effort to reduce your inventory before moving. This is the time to purge and clean house. Aged, obsolete, or damaged inventory that’s only collecting dust has to go. Don’t even think about dealing with it on the “other end.” Make plans to sell, auction, give away, or scrap any products that won ‘t be in the new lineup. The same goes for non-saleable goods- if it’s broken, and you don’t want to repair it, get rid of it. If it’s no longer useful, get rid of it. If you have sold goods awaiting pick-up or delivery, make every effort to get them to the customer. Ensuring inventory integrity beforehand is crucial for a smooth move!

Permitting & Regulations Awareness

Don’t risk unexpected delays and downtime by not being aware of what permits and inspections are required at the new facility.  A “red tag could bring your construction project to halt, delaying the project, and thus delaying your ability to store product, in addition to possibly changing the planned layout, materials, and the types of lift trucks and other equipment intended for the job. Codes and regulations can vary by state, county, and city; and in seismic areas, they are even site specific, so do your due diligence and know what’s ahead.

Staying in Business During the Move

Staying in operation during the move presents significant challenges to overcome, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. In fact, most business do continue operations.  The move is typically accomplished in phases, with receiving transferred to the new warehouse first and shipping continuing at the old facility. At the point when shipping and delivery are both finally transferred to the new facility, remaining stock is then moved to the new space. If your inventory system is bar-coded, sequentially scan from the origin storage location, to dock, to truck, to new warehouse dock, and finally into the new storage location.

Theft Prevention

There’s nothing like moving the contents of a warehouse to attract the attention of pilferers. You will have to be on high alert for them within, as well as outside your organization. Stretch-wrap pallets when possible, and use the sequential scanning system noted above. Cargo is at its greatest risk when it ‘s being loaded and unloaded, so be extra vigilant at these points and don’t allow inventory to be unattended on the docks; reload inventory into it’s new location as soon as possible.

Realistic Timelines

Once you have an idea about how much time you think your move will take, double that. And don’t be overly optimistic, because even in the best of circumstances, not every single thing will go as planned. That’s Murphy’s Law for you.

Use Qualified Professionals

Investing in qualified professionals to dissemble, move, and reinstall equipment can prevent costly damage and minimize downtime, as well as make sure the entire process is executed in safely.
Next Level is more than a pallet rack manufacturer; with over 20 years experience in material handling, our goal is to provide you the best possible solutions for your material handling needs: whatever those needs are. if you need help with a facility renovation or relocation, contact us here or call 800-230-8846 to speak to a warehousing expert now. 
Photo Credit: “Moving” (CC BY 2.0) by casey.marshall. Click image to view source.