Facing The Invisible Foe

 OP RETAILBy Darrell Smith

When you own and operate a distribution facility you are only as valuable as your inventory. An absolute worst-case scenario is your in-stock product sustaining any kind of damage. Most distributors have had this nightmare, but many assume that it could only happen if they were unlucky enough to experience a natural disaster such as flooding, a hurricane or an earthquake. However, there are a number of more subtle ways that your inventory can become damaged and depreciate without you even noticing. Chief among these is sun damage, as the sun's ultra-violet (UV) rays can do significant damage to your inventory. Contrary to popular belief, UV rays are often not kept out by windows.

 

Typical windows only block about 25 percent of UV rays. Replacement windows are available that do a far better job of sun protection – but the process of replacing a warehouse's windows can be extremely expensive, and is not an option in many older commercial buildings. Professionally installed window film, however, when applied to the existing window may block up to 99 percent of UV rays, preventing sun exposure from depreciating your greatest assets – your inventory, facilities and employees.

Window film may also act as a defense from more catastrophic events. People often assume that natural disasters like hurricanes or tornados will never happen to them, but the threat is real. What many may not realize is that much of the severe damage from natural disasters isn't actually caused by the disaster itself, but by debris and broken glass resulting from it. Certainly, window film can't stop warehouses from falling down from a direct hit by a hurricane or being in the path of a tornado, but it can reduce the amount of razor-sharp glass fragments entering a building's interior in the event of an emergency. Certain types of safety film also offer blast protection and other benefits in the most extreme cases, protecting employees and inventory in the process.

Know the Risk

The UV rays that may degrade your inventory can also do real damage to your employees. Once UV rays enter a building they may not only cause premature wrinkles and aging, they can even contribute to skin cancer. This can affect workers while in the warehouse, but is an even greater danger for businesses that rely on having drivers out on distribution routes all hours of daylight. UV rays penetrate truck and delivery van windows in just the same way as regular windows. This is clearly having a negative effect nationwide, as research from US National Library of Medicine shows that nearly 53 percent of skin cancer cases occur on the left, or drivers' side, of the body. Distributors who don't want to end up footing the bill for their employees' massive medical bills should protect their drivers with window film, and take the issue as seriously as they do other initiatives, like sustainability.

Across the board, businesses large and small are embracing sustainability not just out of concern for the environment, but to cut down on their ever-increasing energy costs. Keeping a large warehouse (or any space) cool during the heat of summer can be an expensive proposition. Windows can actually account for up to 50 percent of the summertime cooling load, but window film can help significantly cut this back by reducing solar heat gain. This can help eliminate hot spots and regulate indoor temperatures, giving business owners a major break on their energy costs. Some have experienced savings as high 30 percent on their cooling bills.

As a defense for your inventory, employees and your bottom line, window film is the smart choice.

Darrell Smith is the executive director of the International Window Film Association (IWFA). With more than 40 years experiencein  marketing, sales and distribution and the last 30 years in the window filmindustry, he has served as organizational and planning consultant with tradeassociations, Internet related businesses and investment firms. 

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