Recently, Rollie Nation, the Australian shoe brand with a global cult following recently reached an exciting milestone - it outgrew its original site. Founder Vince Lebon was faced with a difficult decision: find a new location with space for both a warehouse and office, or separate the two.
| Business type
| Head office
| Contact details
| "We haven't lost productivity or momentum. We arrived on day one and just kept on working."
|- Vince Lebon
After some consideration, he committed to two separate purpose-built sites. Through a number of careful decisions, the move has been a success and Vince has seen the business grow even further.
"I'm not sure whether to give more credit to the increased working space or the processes we've improved, but we've enjoyed a noticeable increase in productivity on both sites since the move," he said.
Realise the benefit of separating the warehouse and office spaces
By making the sites separate, neither had to compromise. Now the office is in an inspiring and light-filled inner-city location, while the warehouse has ample space plus room to grow.
The separate locations are also future-focused: if the demand for more warehouse space comes sooner than the need for more office space (or vice versa) only the affected site will need to move, resulting in less disruption across the business.
Begin a trial separation before the move
Rather than waiting to move to identify pain points created by separating the teams, Vince wanted to be aware of - and overcome - any potential challenges while they were still in familiar settings. So for the two months prior to the move, the warehouse staff and the office staff began operating as though they were already on opposite sides of the city, rather than directly across the street.
"Being on the same site had been convenient, but it wasn't efficient," Vince explained. "We were too reliant on the proximity, and weren't making sure we had good processes in place."
The trial separation highlighted some important areas for improved fulfillment processes particularly. "Both teams were too used to being able to ask or give more details in person, but a lot of that information could have and should have been included on the paperwork instead," Vince said.
Prioritise working over moving
Being ready to hit the ground running was a priority for Vince, who wanted the move to be as seamless as possible. He knew that if his team focused on settling in rather than getting on with the day-to-day tasks, it would take exponentially longer to get back to (let alone exceed) their previous level of productivity.
"We're still not fully settled in," Vince explained, "but we haven't lost productivity or momentum. We arrived on day one and just kept on working."
To ensure this continuation of productivity, Vince contracted an IT team to ensure everyone’s computers would be ready to go as soon as they sat at their new desks.
Stay connected across sites
Despite separating the warehouse staff and the office staff, Vince wanted to maintain the sentiment of all his staff being one team.
A large projector screen in the boardroom makes it easy to really connect with each site during the weekly Skype-hosted WIPs. Being able to clearly see the other half of the team is more engaging and personal.
Vince also likes to encourage socialising across both sites, and ensures there are regular casual gatherings for his whole team to reconnect.