How to Achieve Grocery Backroom Organization

Anthony Henry
Senior Industrial Engineer and Project Manager

The organization of a retail grocery backroom is a window into its’ stock management efficiency. To run a successful grocery retail operation, one must have pretty high standards when it comes to backroom organization. We all know that time can slip away from us in a fast-paced retail environment; which is why backrooms become messy and disorganized. However, you can’t let these challenges get in the way of how you run our operation. By considering the following five steps, you will be guaranteed to maintain a successfully organized backroom:

Step #1. Do an evaluation of what inventory you know is necessary, and what you know is not. Clean out the inventory that you believe is no longer useful to the profitability of your organization. This will result in the reduction of clutter and unnecessary obstructions in your backroom. In addition, create a backroom floor plan. Sketch out the space noting electrical boxes, heating and air ducts, fire exits and any other areas that cannot be blocked.

Step #2. Before doing anything else, deep clean your entire backroom. This includes cleaning floors, shelving, machinery, tools, etc. Doing so can minimize several types of safety hazards from problems associated with anything from dust collection to slipping on spilled liquids in the walk ways.

Step #3. Once you have created a backroom floor plan and eliminated all the extra clutter, it’s time to organize!  Come up with a strategy to make your entire inventory easy to find. In other words, list your fastest-selling items and place them closest to the doorway. These are the items you will be replenishing most frequently, so having them closest to the sales floor will save you many steps over time.

Organize the rest of the space by category. Keeping like items together in a logical arrangement for you and your staff to work effectively. That means keeping all can goods together, bake goods in one place, seasonal items arranged by season, all chemical goods together, etc.

Consider any merchandise you may have that is sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Avoid placing items like candy next to heating vents, and liquids or lotions next to cold outside walls. Never place food or candy next to scented candles or lotions, as the fragrance can permeate the food.

Step #4. Set your standards high!  Come up with a way to make sure your associates understand every process that goes along with maintaining the cleanliness and organization of your backroom.

Step #5. Finally, do not let your hard work go to waste. Keeping your backroom clean may seem like a no-brainer, but things can get disorganized faster than you think. Cleaning is the easy part; not reverting to old habits is the hard part. Implement a process that will guarantee the up-keep of your backroom. For example, create a daily/ weekly “To-do list” that associates are required to follow. Or, assign each associate an “area of responsibility” to maintain and keep clean. Better yet, assign a “Champion” to oversee the daily/weekly backroom cleanliness and organization. These ideas are consistent with the “5-S Methodology” for workplace organization.

If you can successfully achieve these five steps outlined, your backroom will cease to be a drain on motivation and start adding real value to your business bottom line.

Be sure to follow future blogs on Backroom Organization. Next up we will examine Backroom Stock Management Efficiency.