Checklists and timelines for moving a business
July 1, 2009 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Checklist and Timeline for a moving a business. Wholesale warehouse plus retail business.

I googled for some checklists with timeframes but they were so ambiguous that I could make one faster than piecing together all of the different stuff into one master checklist. However my time is so chewed up I don't really have the time to make a comprehensive one.

Does anyone know of a good master checklist for moving a business that includes warehouse inventory, CSR's and all of the office stuff as well? I need to worry about moving everything from desks to the network to phones to electrical service into the new facilities. I have inventory racks, materials, tools, adhesives, etc... and about 6 months to make it happen.

I started a list and it always seems like I am overlooking a solid time line of when certain events need to happen. If anyone has some good links or ideas, that would be awesome. I am not opposed to buying a template or something that drops into excel, etc. This would be my first move in a business setting that I am fully in charge of and I don't want to drop the ball.
posted by Gravitus to Work & Money (2 answers total)
I relocated a factory (a small one, mind you) and had to set up everything from offices (portable ones) to phones, to office furniture and engine dyno cells, tools, personnel and basically everything from the ground up.

I started the other way around and went backwards from the time we needed it to start and made a list of everything we needed (rubbish/garbage removal to phone lines/internet) and worked back from there. I made a job list from there with lead times for hard targets of what needed doing in what order. Look at what you have now and how to get it into the new place is easier (to my mind) than 'how do I get this all out of here' as that is a more muddled workload. I think I used MS Project just to shut my boss up as he thought it was cool, but I did most of it in with constant lists as it took too long to update the whole time.

I think it's really difficult to start with 'what do I do first' without listing the times things take to do from the other end. I'd start your list (whether you get a programme/list, you'll still need to check everything against it for compatibility) and just go around your place of work and look at absolutely everything and consciously say "Who's moving that and do I need to do anything" - everything from drain covers to make you think about city services when you get there to seeing someone on the phone and establishing how long it takes to transfer numbers and phone lines and hardware. Once you get everything down it will start to make more sense.
posted by Brockles at 10:29 AM on July 1, 2009

Unfortunately, I don't know of any pre-made timelines or checklists. I have, however, worked on moves like this before. It is well worth it to take your time on the planning stage -- it's the difference between "move happens" and "move drags on for four months and thousands of dollars past schedule".

Some things that helped me:

1. Divide up the job from the top down. Start by dividing the move into big chunks (for instance: Wholesale, Retail, and IT infrastructure), then divide each of these into smaller chunks (for instance: Wholesale inventory and Wholesale staff), and so on until you get to very detailed checklists.

2. Schedule the move by working backwards from the completion date. Say the place needs to be up and running by December 31. Do you know the load-in process will take two weeks? Then two weeks before December 31, write "Begin load-in." Be sure to leave slack time, because something will disrupt your plans at some point -- somebody will call in sick or the rental agency will misplace your truck or there will be a huge snowstorm or something. Build in extra time to deal with this.

3. Find knowledgeable people to review your lists and give them plenty of time to give you feedback -- ie, give the retail manager your retail move list and ask them if anything is missing. Take a walk with them through the space and ask lots of questions. This is where you'll hear fun stuff, like: "You didn't know that we needed soundproofing?" and, "Oh, I thought you knew we had a gorilla enclosure." Do this early in the process so you can adapt.

I used a combination of lists and spreadsheets to manage all the tasks. The lists themselves weren't complicated, but keeping them updated was. Good luck to you!
posted by ourobouros at 10:46 AM on July 1, 2009

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