Shamrock Moving & Storage is a family-owned and operated business based in San Francisco, California. The thriving local business provides top-notch services to both residents and businesses in the Bay Area.
Recently, our team sat down with Shamrock Moving & Storage President Bobby Fallon to learn more about the business and how it’s using Sortly to stay organized. We wanted to showcase one of our many amazing customers and how Sortly helped Shamrock digitize, optimize, and manage its entire inventory.
About Shamrock’s nearly 50-year legacy of moving and storage
Shamrock Moving & Storage was founded in the mid-’70s and was a family business from the outset. Bobby Fallon’s parents started Shamrock just a few years after they immigrated from Ireland.
“My dad basically cut his teeth at another moving company in San Francisco, which was a really common thing back then,” Bobby said, adding that many of his dad’s coworkers also went on to start their own moving companies.
“So, he started Shamrock in 1975, one truck and two guys, basically. And it’s like any business. It takes a long time to get it off the ground,” said Bobby.
The business started to gain momentum in the late ‘80s when Bobby’s father opened the first warehouse.
Cut to today: Shamrock has expanded to over 20 trucks and employs over 40 movers and 15 support staff. Bobby says the company does approximately 3,000 moves per year and spans both commercial and residential clients.
Shamrock is located in San Francisco, where storage is a big industry. Most housing has very little storage space, and every square foot of living area comes at a premium. That’s why it plays a major role in the company’s business.
“People tend to accumulate a lot of stuff over the years,” Bobby said. “We’ve been a pretty good resource for them.”
The company has also been an excellent resource for commercial clients, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some businesses chose not to renew leases during the pandemic—but still have office furniture and equipment they need to store. Shamrock stores those items until the business decides how they want to move forward.
Shamrock also helps designers of both commercial and residential properties. When those designers order everything they need for a project, Shamrock can receive and store the furniture and decor until it’s time for installation.
Shamrock wanted to manage inventory with a technology solution
About five years ago, Bobby started to notice that Shamrock needed to modernize its inventory system.
“We felt that that was the direction the business was going in. People in the Bay Area and all over the world… they’re looking for more tech solutions. When they do stuff, they want a little bit more automation,” said Bobby.
“Sometimes customers don’t even want to talk to people. They want to just do everything on their phone or on their desktop,” he continued.
Bobby started searching for an inventory management software that could help Shamrock digitize their inventory, reduce their reliance on outdated manual inventory practices, and allow customers an easy view of their stored items. The storage industry was changing, especially in a tech-savvy market like San Francisco.
In previous decades, people used to put items in storage and leave them there for years. But the reasons most people keep things in storage have changed, according to Bobby. And that has led naturally to people wanting a more granular view of what’s being stored.
Said Bobby: “Now, people are like, ‘Well, I want this box,’ or ‘I want this sofa,’ or ‘I didn’t sell my house,’ or ‘I didn’t buy my new house fast enough.’ So with that, they need a little bit more knowledge about what’s in storage.”
Shamrock had been tracking inventory manually, which had left the company’s inventory lists vulnerable to human error. Employee handwriting was hard to read, or they simply didn’t know how to describe an unusual item. A digital, visual inventory system solved those pain points.
When Bobby found Sortly, he knew he had found the best software solution for managing his business’s unique inventory. He even spoke directly to CEO and founder Dhanush Balachandran about how to make Sortly work for Shamrock.
“He was very willing to modify it and make changes to suit our industry,” said Bobby. “We knew what we wanted, but we didn’t exactly know the best way to do it.”
With Sortly, Shamrock is able to create a visual inventory list of everything in a customer’s storage container
Bobby and his team use Sortly as a visual tool—one where customers can go through their folder and see everything they have in storage at Shamrock. Some customers have one crate of inventory, while another customer might have 15 or 20.
If a customer wants a certain item retrieved from their storage crate, Shamrock needs to know what container that item is in. Sortly helped automate this process and made it simple to track thousands of items in different containers.
Here’s a quick overview: each Shamrock employee has the Sortly app on their work-issued smartphone. When Shamrock gets a new customer, the employee creates a Sortly folder using the customer’s name. That folder becomes the customer file.
User permissions for that folder are given to the driver or foreman who’s running the job, and they snap photos of everything going into the crate.
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” said Bobby. “So we just literally take maybe three, four pictures of the item boxes,” said Bobby.
The customer labels the contents of the box, and Shamrock takes a photo of the box and label, creating a holistic overview of that box’s contents. Furthermore, they link that overview photo with separate entries and photos for the individual items inside. Sortly automatically numbers the items (such as “Item 1” and “Item 2”) but Shamrock customers can also fill in the details. In other words, customers can see what’s in a given box with a quick glance, or they can explore each item individually.
“Our customers know what their stuff is,” said Bobby. “So, if they want any of it, they can just tell us, ‘I want item 75,’ as opposed to us having to write in ‘couch’ or ‘chest of drawers’ or ‘golf clubs’.”
Shamrock also affixes a Sortly-generated QR code to the top of each box or piece of furniture for easy scanning.
As the business grows, Shamrock is still finding new uses for Sortly
While Sortly primarily helps Shamrock generate visual inventory lists, the moving and storage company also uses Sortly to inventory very high-value items. Sortly’s photo feature makes it easy for them to document an item’s condition.
“Sometimes on a move, if we have a customer who’s got high-value items or something that’s very delicate or something that has preexisting damage, we’ll ask our crews to inventory those items.”
Documenting pre-existing damage helps the company avoid disputes, and gives the customer peace of mind knowing that each item’s condition is reflected accurately throughout the move. It also saves employees time; taking multiple photos of an item is much simpler and less ambiguous than writing about an item’s condition by hand.
Sortly also helps Shamrock inventory the many items that are shipping to their loading dock every day. Many of these items are sent to Shamrock on behalf of designers working on projects for their clients. These customers store furniture and decor with Shamorck until the project is ready to install.
“We get probably 50 to 100 packages a day, and we put them all into folders. Then we give the designers access so they can have a real-time view of what we’ve received,” said Bobby. “It’s become a really helpful tool for our receiving department too, which is becoming more and more a bigger part of our business.”
As Shamrock gets busier, its team continues to grow. The company employs more than 50 people, and 20 of them are using Sortly on a regular basis. While Shamrock occasionally offers a quick onboarding session, most employees learn to use Sortly as they work.
“They pick up faster than you’d think,” said Bobby. “When you do thousands and thousands of items, it becomes second nature. And it is fairly intuitive too. It’s not a hard thing to learn.”
With Sortly, Shamrock has been able to optimize how it manages inventory as the business expands and evolves. By integrating technology into its everyday operating procedures, Shamrock has created a more accurate inventory system that works for both the company’s employees and Shamrock’s many happy customers.
Sortly is a top-rated inventory management software system designed to make tracking inventory a breeze for every kind of business. No matter your industry, Sortly’s powerful features and easy-to-use interface can help you track your inventory, assets, supplies, parts, tools, and more.
Ready to get organized? Start your free, two-week trial of Sortly today.