If you own a small paper and office supply wholesale business, you’re not alone. In fact, 83% of all wholesale companies today are small businesses. While owning your own business is exciting and provides independence, it also means that you could be more vulnerable to risks than your larger counterparts.
Let’s look at four of the most common risks among paper and office supply wholesalers today – and what you can do about them.
1. Burglary and Theft
Due to the high volume of valuable inventory, wholesalers’ warehouses or distribution centers can be at high risk for theft by insiders as well as outsiders. Physical stock is the single largest and most important asset on your financial statements. Regular checks and balances can help minimize theft, fraud, and loss and could include these simple procedures:
- Keep track of waste and breakage daily and deduct it from inventory – either daily or weekly.
- Conduct background checks before hiring new warehouse staff.
- Make sure workers know that you have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to theft and fraud.
- Install and monitor security mirrors and cameras.
- Use digital trackers to help track and recover inventory if lost or stolen.
- Train employees on security procedures to help minimize outsider theft.
- Address concerns with access, loitering, and rules about opening and closing.
- Conduct regular inventory audits or counts.
- Keep an eye on shipping and receiving bays.
- Check that all locks and alarms work properly.
If your facility is robbed, make a list of stolen items and file a police report. Police reports can help you with processing your insurance claim.
2. Premises Safety
A workplace injury can have negative effects on your workers, your financial wellbeing, and your hard-earned reputation. Slips, trips, and falls cost businesses $10.4 billion (in medical and lost-wage payments) and rank among the top 10 causes of serious, nonfatal injuries by their direct costs to U.S. businesses. That’s why it’s important to identify possible hazards that could lead to such accidents and work to minimize them. You can add these steps to your maintenance program:
- Develop a checklist and daily walkthrough to inspect for floor wear, damage, debris, and contaminants.
- Keep work areas free of clutter, obstacles, and spills to reduce the chance of accidents.
- Implement a floor-cleaning schedule to help reduce slip and fall hazards.
- Pay attention to transition areas, entrances and exits, doorways, aisles, walkways, lighting, and parking lots for trip and fall risks.
- Communicate with your facilities or maintenance department if repairs are needed.
3. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
E-commerce has become the dominant ordering method for many customers. But what if an attack on your network and system resulted in a degradation of performance or worst yet—interruption of service?
According to Norton, a DDoS attack is “one of the most powerful weapons on the internet.” While you’re busy trying to fix your systems so that your customers can place their orders, the hacker is probably pursuing their real motivation – installing malicious software or stealing data. And while it may take just minutes for a hacker to compromise your business, it can be months before you discover the hack and fix it.
You can take some measures to help protect yourself from DDoS attacks, including:
- Determine your weaknesses.
- Take swift action once a DDoS attack is identified.
- Ensure you regularly update your routers and firewalls with the latest security patches.
- Make sure your computers have trusted security software.
You may also want to consider adding cyber insurance to your policy. It can help cover the costs from a breach including notifying customers, public relations and credit monitoring.
4. Property Recall
The idea of a recall makes many business owners shudder. But if a product safety risk assessment reveals that a potential accident, illness, or injury-causing hazard has been discovered in a product you already distributed, there are steps you can take. Adding an effective recall program can help in the following ways:
- Aids with local, state, and federal rules and regulations
- Helps prevent further injuries or harm to consumers.
- Expedites the recall process and minimizes costs.
- Helps boost reputation and reduce the possibility of lawsuits.
Be sure to involve your legal counsel and internal administration, engineering, product quality, and compliance teams. They are key to helping plan and prepare should a recall become a reality.
Owning a paper and office wholesale business means staying alert for potential risks – and working to minimize their impact with smart protections. Connect with an independent insurance agent today to help identify additional exposures and tips for minimizing them for your business.
This website is general in nature, and is provided as a courtesy to you. Information is accurate to the best of Liberty Mutual’s knowledge, but companies and individuals should not rely on it to prevent and mitigate all risks as an explanation of coverage or benefits under an insurance policy. Consult your professional advisor regarding your particular facts and circumstance. By citing external authorities or linking to other websites, Liberty Mutual is not endorsing them.