This was bound to happen at some point.
It's probably safe to say I'm doing a variety of different things.
Thus, it should be no surprise that my own business is something I had been researching/contemplating/considering.
So, a while ago, there arose this opportunity - not in my own name but in someone else's.
And with that began my long and adventurous journey (during COVID-19 restrictions, by the way) to emigrate to China, gather all necessary knowledge about life, business, procedures, requirements and more and build up a viable and successful business.
Albeit this tangent would be an interesting read all by itself, it doesn't belong here.
However, it is the prerequisite to this project: Finding a suitable business property in China, designing an efficient floor layout, making the design a reality and getting operations running as well as keeping in mind future upgradeability and expansion prospects.
What was I looking for?
Well, being a startup in the trading sector meant that a lot of the company's activities focused on storage and logistics. Thus, I allocated a lot of space to that.
My strategy was to set up all core processes and train key staff first of all.
It was only logical then that I'd keep everything closely together.
The initial layout, as seen here, combines a proto-warehouse with an all-round accessible unpacking and packing area as well as office space on as tiny a footprint as possible.
Every key employee is in direct contact with the core duties of the business and gains an intimate understanding of his and others' duties. This greatly accelerates training as everybody gets to live and understand the business proceedings and product flow much more closely than otherwise possible.
Not only does this create a fully functioning and highly efficient business, it also permits all this in an incredibly short amount of time and lays the groundwork for easy scalability.
Naturally, environment protection and energy conservation are important.
But the amount of natural light I was getting in the warehouse area was not brilliant, owing to the particularly robust building construction that I need otherwise.
Powering all the lights there all the time was wasteful. But how about a motion-sensor actuated array per aisle?
That would be very environment-friendly, yet also immensely practical for the workers. Problem was that each sensor was also brightness-sensitive.
So, if the adjacent aisle was illuminated, the sensor would not trigger. Unacceptable. A ready-made solution was unavailable and the locals' proficiency in such a special case was nonexistent.
So I just made my own solution, as usual.
A few minutes in CAD, some 3D-printing and various paint layers later, the sensor shades were finished - and working perfectly.
That took far less effort and expense than trying to find a specialist on the market.
Since I wanted to display some products, a showcase shouldn't be amiss.
The ready-made ones looked kind of cheap but weren't.
So I designed my own using very simple means.
The aluminium profiles used are something I'd grown rather fond of lately due to their universal nature and great flexibility.
It allows for free adjustment of individual shelf-layers, too.
A bent sheet of perspex was simply wedged in and slots perfectly into the aluminium extrusions' grooves.
Well it's a shelf.
As mentioned before, scalability was extremely important.
One of the main reasons I decided on that particular property is the 4.5 meter high ceiling.
I'd intended to, as soon as the business grew, increase the effective areas both for storage as well as staff on very short notice.
In February 2022, this foresight became very important.
Due to an urgent need to double our available space by mid-March, this plan was put into action.
I had planned to build a second story to the warehouse with a cargo lift in order to make perfect use of the space available at first.
Originally, I'd envisioned 8 weeks for the project. Unfortunately, I's only had 6, minus one week of public holiday.
Also, COVID deigned to make another appearance and force us into intermittend lockdowns in March. Workers couldn't come, deliveries were delayed and we had to do a whole lot of dancing around new regulations that hindered the process.
Of course, would we not have been able to keep the tough timetable, I already had alternatives ready. Five times of temporary storage was already prepared for that eventuality.
Thanks to the combined effort of everyone involved - and the occasional night shift I had to pull - we got everything done in 4 weeks, much to the delight of our business partners.
This was part of my 3-stage plan for 2022 that would bring a lot of exciting news which I'll disclose as they happen. It also depends heavily on the extremely regrettable lockdown situation.