This year is expected to be a promising year for storage & handling distributors, according to the 2011 Forecast. A total of 73% of surveyed storage and handling distributors anticipate at least 10% sales growth this year, and many expect to see an influx of new customers. Along with the prospects for industry growth comes rising prices in steel, which have profound effects on costs of pallet rack and industrial storage. Scrap steel prices increased nearly $75 a ton in January. This increase results in higher prices of new steel products in the storage industry.
Offering used storage equipment in 2011 will help combat the “sticker shock” that customers associate with buying new storage equipment. Keeping an inventory of used equipment helps save your customers money, incentivize customer acquisition, and reuse materials for sustainable business practices.
Benefits for Customers
Offering services to buy used equipment streamlines the process of updating a warehouse storage space. The opportunity for customers to purchase and recycle storage racks from the same company will set a distributor apart as a provider. Dealing with multiple companies can be a hassle and providing quality used equipment purchasing services will help distributors provide better prices and improve customer service. Buying used storage equipment is beneficial to the customer, as they can satisfy the need to replace equipment and get rid of what they no longer need through one company.
Offering used storage equipment helps improve customer service by reducing the amount of time it takes to complete orders. Fabricating new equipment can take as long as ten weeks. Having a large inventory of used equipment available to customers can save them money by fulfilling items with a product that is lower cost and similar quality, resulting in satisfied clients.
Purchasing used storage equipment, along with other initiatives, can promote your company’s goals toward providing sustainable business practices. Steps toward a more sustainable operation can begin with a small step like reselling used storage.
The goal of used equipment is to provide a less expensive product with comparable quality to its new counterpart. Quality assurance is of utmost importance when acquiring used materials and is vital to customer satisfaction and safety. Implementing strict, thorough inspection of used storage before purchasing will ensure that a distributorship maintains a reputation of integrity and respect.
Safety is paramount in the warehousing industry, so develop a policy for obtaining used storage products. You will need to ensure there is no rust and that the equipment has been stored indoors in a climate-controlled area. Rust can be hidden by paint and other surfaces, so an experienced eye is needed to determine safety. Make sure you trust and recognize the original manufacturer of the material. Ensure that it is structurally sound and properly handled during installation and tear down. Rigorous inspection standards will help you avoid selling a product that will deteriorate and potentially put employees at risk for injuries.
Factors to consider when determining if your material handling business is ready to sell used storage products are available storage space, human resources and time. You will need an adequate amount of indoor space to store equipment to keep it in optimal condition for safety. Human resources should be a priority for selling used storage. It is necessary to have knowledgeable sales people for customer contact, engineers with the safety know how to assess quality and ensure safety of the product, and warehouse specialists to assist customers in the proper design and installation of their newly purchased used equipment.
|Meet the Author
Michelle Coleman is director of marketing communications and online sales at Storage Solutions, located in Westfield, Indiana, and on the Web at www.storage-solutions.com.