27 March 2020/ rent_industrial_guide

A Step-by-Step Guide to Relocating Your Warehouse Space

As your business grows and you streamline your supply chain, you may need to add or reduce the number of warehouses you occupy and move your inventory around. Moving warehouses and altering distribution processes can be a daunting and overwhelming process for some. But if you stay organised and make a detailed plan of action, it doesn’t have to be. This step-by-step guide should help save you some time and headaches during the big move and make sure your warehouse relocation runs as smoothly as possible.

A step-by-step guide to relocating your warehouse space

1. Consider your future operations

You may be surprised how many businesses plan to simply lift their current operations and storage solutions from one premise to the next. But it’s important to consider if any new product ranges will be introduced and whether they’ll also have storage needs. The more planning you can do initially, the greater your opportunities for a more efficient setup in the future.

2. Make a realistic estimate of the necessary man hours

You’re likely to continue operating during the move, so you need to map out realistic expectations of your employees. Calculate how many hours of work you think will go towards the move compared to how many will go towards standard warehouse operations. It’s crucial to allocate enough management resources and allow for any unexpected occurrences.

Be sure to communicate all necessary information to your employees. Provide everyone with an agenda so they know where they need to be and when, as well as the duties they are expected to fulfil. 

3. Consider the shape and height of the new warehouse

One of the best things about moving warehouse is that you can use it as an opportunity to maximise your new space. Evaluate your workflow and see if you can set up your new space to work better for your business.

Before you decide on new premises, you can plan based on an assumed warehouse shape. But, keep in mind you may have to make one or two compromises. The placement of the uprights is one major difference between older production style warehouses and newer ones, with the former’s being close together with not much thought given to storage layout. So, it’s important to allow for more space than you think so you can adapt to the actual shape of a new facility.

4. Have a good sort out

When moving warehouses, you’re also moving a lot of inventory. Therefore, you’ll probably want to reduce this down as much as possible beforehand. Warehouse relocation can be time-consuming and costly, so why spend time and money moving obsolete stock from one building to the next? Use this opportunity to prove to the Finance Director and the Sales Team that it will cost more to needlessly transfer the obsolete stocks to the new facility than it will to dispose of them.

5. Plan your deliveries

You could decide to receive lighter deliveries in the weeks leading up to the move date to help lighten the amount of inventory you need to move. Alternatively, if you’d rather not have to check in a lot of deliveries straight away in the new facility, you could choose to receive more in advance. Just make sure you’ve given some thought to what works best for your business.

6. Decide whether to reuse racking

It’s hard leaving behind existing racking and other storage facilities so consider whether you would need to buy new equipment to meet the future design requirements. You can always sell the old racking once the business is running smoothly at the new location; your preferred racking supplier might even offer you a part exchange deal.

7. Check the new building codes

Before moving warehouse, make sure you know what permits are required and the restrictions that apply at your new premises. If you don’t, you risk facing delays and disrupting the process.

8. Talk to the local authorities

Local building inspectors and fire inspectors will normally want to be involved in the new warehouse planning, so get them on board early on. The escape routes, sprinklers and car parking can all be influenced by the authorities, so the sooner you contact them the better.

9. Watch out for theft

When you’re moving and unpacking your goods, you are much more vulnerable to theft. To stop any disasters, make sure you assign team members to certain roles and moving zones. You should also keep a close eye on inventory; triple check everything coming in and going out.

10. Be careful of product damage

There’s inevitably a chance of bumps, spills and poor repacking when pallet racks or shelving are being unloaded. To reduce these risks as much as possible, make sure to inform staff that you’d rather have everything arrive at the new facility in one piece even if it does take a bit longer.

Another way to organise your warehouse relocation checklist is to make a timeline. This should provide a clearer idea when to initiate contact with contractors, architects, IT companies and relocation specialists.

BuildingPhoto (3)-2

6 months before the move

5 months before the move

4 months before the move

3 months before the move

- Start creating a complete move plan.

- Choose an interior design company or architect (if required).

- Develop your list of furniture systems, building necessities, and IT and telephone equipment.

- Hire a general contractor.

- Make note of existing furniture and IT equipment that needs to be liquidated. Note down any leased furniture or IT equipment that needs to be relocated.

- Enter contracts with suppliers of new furniture, building and IT necessities.

- Finalise your move plan.

- Notify your current and future property management companies and landlords with move dates and entry/exit needs.

- Order new furniture, building and IT necessities.

- Enter contracts with businesses offering the following services: IT/Server disconnect/reconnect, computer systems disconnect/reconnect, moving services, phone system transfers, and security systems.

By following this step-by-step guide and timeline, you should have a successful warehouse move without any complications. However, it’s wise to consider seeking professional advice and support if you don’t feel confident completing any of the stages.

At Realla we have over 10,000 storage units, distribution warehouses and industrial parks to browse. You can use our search engine to filter results based on location. You can also check out another one of our blog posts ‘Factors to consider before you start your search for industrial units’ here.