During the COVID-19 pandemic, cycle shops have seen a surge in demand. Plastor outlines how these practical storage solutions can make your shop safer and more efficient
As Albert Einstein is popularly quoted as saying, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided significant challenges throughout society but it has also provided opportunities. One area of opportunity is cycling. At no other time in recent history has cycling and cyclists been viewed so positively. Or viewed as a solution rather than a problem slowing motorists or getting in the way on the road.
Cycling is now viewed as a valuable method of exercise. It is also increasingly being used as an alternative to public transport and a way of getting around while minimising the chances of infection.
The challenges of COVID-19 are well known so let us concentrate on the opportunities. Specifically, opportunities for bike shops to safely capitalise on the resurgence of cycling as a hobby and as a mode of transport.
Keep staff safe from COVID-19
There are a few practical ways bike shops could be made tidier and more efficient with minimal investment. These same methods could also help bike shops scale up to meet increased demand and effectively manage staff shortages.
Here’s how a few simple plastic storage boxes could change the way you do business for the better.
The bike workshop
Bike workshops are usually tight spaces where mechanics share each other’s tools and use the same pool of spare parts. This has to change.
A useful tip can be taken from schools. Those schools reopening have shifted from communal toys and activities to individual ones. They now use plastic trays on each desk with individual toys, school books and stationery so children don’t have to share.
Bike shops can do something similar.
Individual tool trays using cheap linbins on each workspace can help prevent the sharing of tools and spares. Euro stacking containers can hold individual supplies to ensure productivity and reduce the risk of infection. Fill them with spares such as tubes, brake pads, cables, lubes and other common items to minimise risks of cross-contamination.
Useful plastic storage like this would also make for a tidier workplace!
The bike shop floor
As some bike shops will be running with reduced staff due to lockdown, self-isolation or illness, a little redesigning of the store could go a long way.
For example, stacking inner tubes, tyres, lube and other high volume items behind the counter within easy reach can reduce the need for staff to travel the shop helping customers.
Placing container trucks or plastic skips containing popular products along the social distance queue line could also help reduce time customers spend browsing. It could also provide an upsell opportunity. Supermarkets have used this tactic for years, now
bike shops could use it too!
As long as each container is thoroughly cleaned and effective personal hygiene enforced, these ideas should provide no more risk of infection than any other shop that’s open right now.
If your bike shop has an online presence, using one staff member to pick and pack orders keeps infection risks at a minimum. Using nesting containers for orders allows for items to be picked from stores or shelves while the store is closed and the packing and shipping to be done at quiet times. Again, minimizing infection risk while maximising productivity.
Alongside gloves and good hygiene, organizing online orders this way ensures customers receive their items within good time while maximizing the efficiency of available staff.
The average bike shop storage area is a mixture of tidy boxes and messy shelves of spares. Using downtime or quiet periods to organise all this could not only save time and over-ordering, it would also make the store a nicer place to be.
A simple solution such as coloured attached lid containers could revolutionise storage. You could colour code parts or spares, use clear labelling to identify what is stored where and use the ability to stack to drastically increase storage capacity.
Staff can find items quickly, clear labelling allows for minimal contact with items to lower infection risk and your entire storage area becomes much more efficient.
These are just some of the ways a bike shop could use modest changes and simple products to drastically improve the safety of staff and customers. All while reducing the risk of coronavirus infection. The ability to streamline common practices and improve efficiency is just the icing on the cake!
Content contributed by Plastor
Plastor is a plastic storage container supplier and manufacturer with almost 30 years of industry experience delivering storage solutions for bike shops and associated businesses.
Read the July edition of BikeBiz below: