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As busy as warehouses have been these days, many businesses have turned to buying up additional warehouse space to handle the demand and overflow.

This new warehouse space can take many forms – sometimes it’s a vacant warehouse left behind by a business that moved elsewhere, sometimes it’s a converted industrial space, sometimes it’s something as creative as a converted big-box retailer. Either way, moving into new warehouses and/or expanding your operations outside of your primary location is a common theme in warehousing these days.

Of course, anyone who has moved facilities knows how much work is involved, and this can go double for warehouses that were in use by another business. Every warehouse is different, and converting the space into something you can use will be job #1 once you move in.


Converting An Old Warehouse For Use

One of the first steps in readying your new warehouse for use is going to be deep-cleaning. Especially these days, you can’t take enough precautions when it comes to fighting germs and keeping your surfaces as clean as possible, no matter how good a job the previous tenants did. It might help to hire an outside cleaning company for this, as they can help you cover more ground faster (and keep your current staff working on your warehouse needs, which are probably keeping them busy enough right now).


From there, one of the most helpful steps you can take is to define what you’ll use this new warehouse for. Did you buy a new warehouse in a strategically important location, so you can serve a new area and/or complete deliveries faster? Is this warehouse just to help store additional product and/or prevent inventory shortages? Are you using it specifically to handle clearance, markdowns, and returns? Figuring out exactly what this warehouse is meant to do will go a long way towards helping you get it set up and ready to use.


From there, you’ll need to review what installations you need. Depending on how long- or short-term your products will be stored at the new warehouse (especially compared to your current setup), you may need to consider bringing in new warehouse shelves, pallet racks, or wire shelves to help complement the shelves you have at your previous location. Try to avoid the temptation to just “use some of your old shelves”, as this could cause storage issues and confusion at your current location – by outfitting your new warehouse from the get-go, you can keep it way more productive.


Speaking of your new warehouse, you might want to remember all the changes you made to your current location. Warehouses grow and evolve over time, just like any business, and remembering some of the changes or additions you’ve made to your current warehouse can save some time and frustration at the new one. Did you wind up adding a warehouse office or a mezzanine over time to add more work space? Does your current warehouse have a ‘sanitation station’ for your workers to use hand sanitizer and get ready to enter the shop floor to prevent disease or infection from spreading? Any changes you made to your current space should be considered for your new one to help stay productive and avoid having to make huge changes down the road.

After this, all you need to do is start staffing up and moving your inventory into the new warehouse – which is easier said than done, of course, but this should help you start off on the right foot.

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