It’s an understatement to say that the current pandemic is wreaking havoc across the globe. Aside from the medical and scientific aspects of the whole dilemma, many people have experienced the horrible effects that lockdowns have on the economy. Many people have been required to stay home from work and school, with many companies forced to shut their doors. Back-and-forth between different restrictions, the year has proven to be too much for some to recover, pushing many businesses to close indefinitely. In a struggle to stay afloat, many companies have shifted their focus to online sales, or maneuvering their logistics to fit the “new normal.”
A Shift In Shopping
There are many ongoing hurdles to face with the constant closures and restrictions, regarding which stores can be open to in-store shopping. As a direct result, many businesses are taking it upon themselves to change their way of operating, in an attempt to maintain their livelihoods. Although customers can’t enter a brick-and-mortar store, there has been a huge increase in online shopping, especially with more time on our hands.
We all hoped these changes would be brief, however, despite the declining trend in cases, it seems consumers are planning to keep up their cautious habits. Uncertainty has now become a trend we can’t escape, and most people would rather wait it out a little bit longer before they return to their regular lifestyles. Besides, many of us are either working from home, have reduced hours, or are not working at all, so there’s much more opportunity for brands to make an impression online.
Whether you’re working from your home office, scrolling through new hobby ideas, or streaming videos, I’m sure you’ve noticed your time spent online has increased. Many businesses, across a variety of industries, have noticed this shift too, and they’ve been taking notes. Offering more products and services online than ever before, with an array of delivery options, there’s no surprise online shopping habits have increased. However, as businesses build a stronger online presence, they’re realizing these changes not only affect how consumers access their products, it also impacts overall inventory management.
Shuffling & Stockpiling Inventory
This shift in how consumers shop for their goods has affected many industries, in many ways, not just their physical presence. After acknowledging the necessary shift to online, many companies have started to shuffle their logistics and inventory as well. New shipping or delivery options and processes have forced them to rearrange or upgrade the size of their storage rooms. Plus, with additional restrictions, many businesses choose to stockpile their inventory. It can be difficult to stay open if you don’t have the necessities you need to deliver your product, so ordering double can ensure a little extra security. Many industries have experienced this urgent need for storage solutions, however the most impacted are:
- Restaurants & Pubs
- Retail & Clothing
- Warehousing & manufacturing
Restaurant & Pubs
With constant fluctuations in restrictions, many restaurants and pubs have had to shut their doors to in-house dining numerous times. In a lot of instances, this has been the demise of an establishment. However, some eateries have managed to shift their focus to deliveries and take-out. With dining rooms empty and online orders coming in hot, many restaurants have been using their space more efficiently.
In an effort to keep incoming online orders organized, many businesses in the food industry have been finding a need to employ industrial shelving. Sorting between pick-ups, deliveries, and now 3rd party food delivery services, keeping track of orders can be more challenging than ever. By implementing industrial shelving systems, restaurants have been able to accommodate and organize their online deliveries, making the transition a bit smoother. Although it wasn’t quite the challenge they expected to encounter, the solution was an easy change to implement.
Aside from a change in order flow, restaurants have also experienced a shift in their inventory practices. With lockdowns and restrictions remaining, there’s always a looming worry that certain ingredients, or other necessities, will become hard to find. To avoid removing things from the menu, many companies have picked up the trend of ordering extra stock. With all the extra inventory on hand, there’s also been a need for restaurants and pubs to utilize more heavy-duty metal shelving.
Retail & Clothing
Following a similar trend as the food industry, retail has seen a huge shift to online shopping, with a variety of delivery options. However, most retail and clothing stores are noticing their customers want faster at-home deliveries. With less foot traffic and more packages moving out the doors, retailers have found they are needing to utilize their footage more effectively.
Utilizing storage space has been a challenge for some retail and clothing businesses, with storefronts not generally equipped for these kinds of deliveries. Smaller boutique shops have also started purchasing stronger, higher capacity stockroom shelving and workbenches to keep orders managed, but larger retailers have had to employ larger-scale solutions. Many large retailers have been left with no choice but to close several brick-and-mortar locations, despite the flow of online orders. With this shift, inventory has had to be relocated, forcing retailers to think big.
The uncertainty of the current market has shifted the mindset of many large merchandising companies. Unsure of when in-store shopping will feel safe again, retailers have had no choice but to welcome their customers to the security of online shopping. With inventory no longer hanging on the racks, businesses have shut down their retail locations in favor of warehouse facilities. Implementing heavy-duty metal shelving, larger storage facilities have helped businesses make the necessary transition needed to survive.
Warehousing & Manufacturing
As we just mentioned, there has been a noticeable change in the retail and clothing industry in terms of logistics. However, this trend isn’t confined to only one market - stockpiling inventory has been a trend not only in the restaurant and pub industry. Striving to limit our excursions, many consumers have made a habit of buying a little extra with every trip. This trend in consumer purchasing has noticeably affected many sectors and how they manage their inventory as well.
Effects of stockpiling grocery items have driven many large businesses to expand their current facilities. Often this includes replacing existing storeroom and warehouse shelving with larger, more space efficient heavy-duty metal shelving and racking which have greater load capacity. With supermarkets and grocery stores running out of essentials faster than normal, many corporations have had to increase their inventory, and make room for it. Most warehouses have managed to reorganize and use their current space more efficiently, with the use of more heavy duty shelving, however, some require a little more intervention.
In addition to an increase in food, clothing, and general retail shopping, consumers have been doing more home renovations. With a surge in demand for construction supplies and materials, these manufacturers have also experienced an increase in inventory. The widespread change in spending habits is truly shaping the way all industries manage and store their inventory. Many large businesses have had to upgrade the size of their warehousing facilities, or even purchase additional locations. Having more space to store their stock, retailers have utilized a variety of industrial shelving systems, allowing them to keep up with their ever-changing needs.
Solutions for Success
Making adjustments in our every day routines isn’t easy, however, we can strive to accommodate and adapt to make the best of the situation. That’s exactly what many in the food and pub, retail and clothing, and manufacturing industries have done. By employing storage solutions such as industrial shelving, or even garage shelving, they have learned to accommodate the growing needs of consumers.
Despite the ongoing challenges across the globe, we are all still doing our best to make it work. There have been many obstacles to overcome, and unexpected turns, but we are learning to adapt. Consumers and businesses alike have struggled to find a new balance, but are finding new ways to operate. It’s been an interesting year to say the least, and although we aren’t sure where the future will take us, we are learning different ways to plan for the future.