Running a warehouse business has never been as profitable as it is now. During the lockdown, businesses have resolved to quickly enforce their contingency plans. This has included off-loading their stock into warehouses until they’re ready to continue doing business again. For some businesses, they have simply had to quit in-house storage and use a warehouse specialist service. This is great for you as you’ll be receiving more clients than ever. However, don’t think you can take liberties with clients just because they are indeed desperate. You want to hang onto these customers once the lockdown is lifted. Inevitably, you need to scale up your services, create new practices and features to entice customers to keep you as their main storage B2B client.
Tout your safety practices
In normal circumstances, warehouse businesses would need to satisfy their clients with regard to employee safety practices. They want to know that your employees are handling their goods with care and not risking their customers when products are packaged and shipped. Things like not dropping any sharp objects in the product packaging, such as a box cutter or a blade of some kind. Now with Covid-19, customers should be reassured that your employees follow correct safety precautions when handling their products. Assure clients that you have these practices at your warehouse.
- Employees wash their hands as soon as they enter the building.
- They wear face masks to control any spread through the air.
- They make sure not to touch their face i.e. eyes and mouth while working.
- Managers will regularly spray and wipe ‘hot zone’ areas where employees gather; such as the ordering terminal or packaging area.
- Employees will report their fellow employees who are not following any of these safety measures.
Fill your clients with confidence that you are strict regarding the virus. Send employees home if they exhibit symptoms and punish employees who are repeat offenders. This is something that you should be proud to advertise to your clients.
Special handling service
The shock of businesses suddenly having to stop operations, is to your advantage as a warehouse business. Companies that would otherwise be handling special materials or hazardous materials by themselves, now need extra help. Manufacturing companies that produce by-products which are hazardous, could need the help of a warehouse to handle and store them until they get back on their feet. Your employees should quickly be given this type of dangerous goods training so you can offer this service to manufacturing clients. The training is done through an online platform, which allows you to stop and start training at any time. Employees will be trained to properly handle and ship hazardous materials. This will increase safety but decrease liability and damages.
Since this is a specialty area, the company giving your employees the training has devised checkpoints so each individual is progressed through the program in a linear fashion. Access to each course is for 90 days, so there’s plenty of time to become acclimatized. Upon completion, the certificate for each employee will be recorded onto their profile and can also be printed.
Businesses are re-evaluating their overhead costs now that the economy is shut down. Inevitably, smaller businesses will be cutting costs more than larger businesses that have more in-house options. SMB owners will not be throwing in the towel but rather, selecting B2B options that meet their new funding capabilities. Competitive pricing for storage space is, therefore, one of your main tools for attracting them. These are the types of offers you should consider.
- Per pallet: Rather than charging per cubic feet, you could charge per pallet. It’s up to the client to figure out what kind of packaging they need to be able to fit as many products onto a pallet. However, since you’re not using a three-dimensional policy, small business owners will be more inclined to go with you.
- Weight restriction?: The danger for the previous policy is if clients place too much weight on a single pallet. You could introduce a weight limit but this will counteract the point of the policy. Instead, you could increase the weight more than you normally would and rely on the policy-making a large enough profit whereby you can buy new pallets should the ones used become damaged.
- Bulk storage: Clients that offer a lot of their business should be given a discount. Bulk storage is something that you may wish to offer as a means to nail down deals that would otherwise fall through. You will save time by not having to negotiate prices with several different clients if you have one client that quickly covers all or most of the storage space you offer.
Longer operating hours
Most businesses are currently operating on a skeleton crew. With so few employees in the office, much less work is going to get done. By offering to stay open for longer hours, you give businesses more time. It cannot be understated how important this is because small business owners will be aware of losing their one advantage over larger competitors. That is, that they are more adaptable and flexible. Yet with the current lockdown, this is something they are having to cling onto. Instead of opening at 9-am or 10-am, open at 8-am and close at 8-pm. This gives clients a full 12-hours, 4 hours extra, to use your storage services.
Those who work for themselves and run a ‘solopreneur’ business should be granted access to certain areas of the warehouse. At the very least, they can be checked in and allowed to take some or all of their stock with them, whenever they need to. Make sure that a manager or employee helps them load their things into their car or hired vehicle. The flexibility of longer opening hours will allow small business owners to retain their own flexibility.
During this tough lockdown period, small and medium-sized business owners will need to cut costs dramatically. This will include cutting or eliminating in-house storage capabilities. You can be the go-to warehouse service if you implement these changes.