Maintaining a ready stock of the right products at the right time can make or break your business. Failing to manage your inventory correctly can lead to shortages of some products, resulting in lost sales for your company.
One of the most useful and practical solutions to inventory management and stock control can be found in almost every neighborhood: self-storage units. These storage facilities can deliver much-needed flexibility and access for local businesses and industries. A.D. Pruitt of The Wall Street Journal described these inventory control solutions as "the biggest ticket properties in commercial real estate."
Local self-storage facilities offer advanced and customized services for their business clients, making them a valuable tool for managing inventory and maintaining product stocks on retail shelves. Additionally, these facilities can provide convenient storage for raw materials and components in a climate-controlled and secure environment.
Consumers are the largest single demographic for the U.S. self-storage industry; The Economist estimates that "one family in 10 uses one of the country's 50,000 facilities." Individuals and families often store seasonal items and excess furnishings in self storage over long periods of time to free up space inside their homes and apartments. In recent years, however, advanced services and convenient locations have led to an increased interest in local storage and inventory management services among business customers.
Most companies deliver their products from a centralized industrial manufacturing plant or distribution warehouse. Larger corporations may maintain several different hubs throughout the country to provide faster delivery to their retail outlets and distribution points. Building maintenance and staffing for these facilities can be costly.
In an effort to reduce the expense of local and regional warehousing, some companies have chosen cost-effective local self-storage facilities to manage their local product and material stockpiles. With climate-controlled and secured self-storage options, these facilities often provide a more money-saving and flexible solution for short- and long-term storage, inventory management and distribution needs.
Some common consumer goods are sensitive to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Maintaining a consistent temperature and limiting the degree of humidity inside the storage facility can ensure that your products remain in mint condition prior to their arrival on store shelves. Items that may benefit from climate- and humidity-controlled storage typically include the following:
Self-storage companies typically offer a wide range of choices that include climate-controlled and reduced-humidity units in an array of sizes.
Local storage of corporate products and materials offers another advantage for your supply chain. By maintaining a ready supply of products nearby, your company can be well prepared in the event of a natural disaster or emergency situation within your region.
Gene Gutman, director of the supply chain management degree program at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, noted the effect of global events on local companies. "What's happening around the world impacts us: the price of oil, of natural gas...labor rates...transportation rates and so much more," he stated. Maintaining a local stockpile of goods and manufacturing supplies can help industries continue to deliver their products to consumers despite global and regional issues that may arise.
A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture demonstrated the advantages of climate-controlled self-storage solutions for organic farmers marketing their products to local and regional customers. Especially for fruits and vegetables that require careful handling for maximum shelf life, refrigerated or air-conditioned units can provide real advantages and allow growers and distributors to maintain a steady supply of product throughout the peak season.
In particular, the study pointed out one specific apple grower: "The direct market apple producer in Syracuse sells most of its product to a packing-shipping operation that distributes to mainstream supermarkets, but some of the crop later sold at farmers' markets is stored at a nearby controlled-atmosphere storage business."
By maintaining supplies in climate-controlled storage units, small businesses can preserve perishable items more effectively and extend the salable period for these valuable company products and resources.
Stockpiling supplies of products and raw materials nearby can offer important flexibility and added speed of delivery for critically needed items. DC Velocity reporter Mark B. Solomon notes that, "parcel carriers guarantee next-morning deliveries to only 45 percent of the country's ZIP codes."In many cases, companies can offer faster deliveries by using local self-storage facilities as a distribution center. This can improve their customer-service record and enhance their overall level of responsiveness in the local consumer marketplace.
You can find the right supply chain and inventory management solutions for your company with a quick search for self-storage units online. By integrating these convenient storage options into your existing management plan, your company can increase its responsiveness and cut costs for rush shipping and handling of merchandise in your local community.
"Self Storage Gains Cachet as Values Rise", The Wall Street Journal - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323764804578314282995510800.html
"The Economics of Self-storage: The Golden Hoard", The Economist - http://www.economist.com/node/21560602
"Going with the Flow: Expert Explains the Advantages of a Local Supply Chain", The Dunn County News - http://chippewa.com/dunnconnect/business/going-with-the-flow-expert-explains-the-advantages-of-a/article_acf1acea-4f4c-11e1-8456-0019bb2963f4.html
"Local Food Supply Chains Use Diverse Business Models to Satisfy Demand", Amber Waves - http://webarchives.cdlib.org/sw1vh5dg3r/http:/ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves/December10/Features/SupplyChains.htm
"Six Steps to Cutting Your Parcel Shipping Costs", DC Velocity - http://www.dcvelocity.com/articles/20110105cutting_parcel_shipping_costs/