The bitter winds of winter blow all around us, with much of the United States bracing for several more weeks of biting cold and freezing temperatures. For the small businessman, the online entrepreneur, and the ecommerce startup owner, the winter time brings a new set of challenges.
Protecting inventory from the effects of the cold and damp weather can prove a distraction at least and a significant challenge at worst. Especially for home based businesses, where inventory is often stored in a garage, outdoor shed, or other unprotected area, the weather can play havoc with product inventory. Packaging gets damaged by the cold and damp or by freezing rain. Heavy snowfalls can also cause portable storage shelters to collapse, spelling disaster for inventory supply.
Consider the following tips for safeguarding your inventory against the ravages of winter. They work by themselves or separately.
Seal Your Storage Space
Weatherproofing your storage space can involve sealing the windows and door frames and checking the insulation for drafts and cracks. It can also include moving your inventory to a more stable location, if you’re in an area with heavy snowfall.
Check Against Fire Hazards
If your inventory is flammable (in other words, made of cardboard, paper, or paperstock), space heaters and gas heaters present a real danger of fire. Use durable ceramic heaters to warm your storage area, or find storage space that includes climate control capabilities. As much as possible, try to keep your storage space free of dust, and make sure your space heaters are also dust-free.
Outsource Your Storage Needs
Many small business owners opt for a partnership with a third party fulfillment service provider, in order to remove the burden of warehousing and storage logistics from their business schedules. These order fulfillment companies specialize in warehouse and shipping management. In effect, they assume control over their client small business’ storage and order processing, seeing each package through the sales process: readying for shipment, packaging, order tracking, and even conflict resolution after the sale.
The fulfillment company enters into a partnership with their client businesses, a relationship that is nonetheless contractually binding. Before entering into such an arrangement, small business owners are encouraged by many experts to find the fulfillment company that’s right for them, researching partnership agreements and discussing contingencies with the fulfillment company’s representative. The partnership agreement may likely be negotiable, and subject as well to periodic renewal.