opinion expressed by entrepreneur The contributors are yours.
By now, even those who are not active in commodity-dependent companies have heard of supply chains. And most of them know only too well that due to global restrictions like the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, these supply chains are slowing down – sometimes even completely collapsing.
Supply chains for the manufacture and distribution of a wide range of products, raw materials and other commodities are affected. And while the latter affects consumers, the consequences are generally limited to longer waits for anything to be completed or delivered – including consumer goods, houses or cars. But for businesses, the impact can mean life or death. Because if you can’t deliver your finished products to paying customers, you won’t be in business for long.
However, a disruption in the supply chain does not necessarily mean the end of your business. With some smart planning, a little foresight, and a willingness to focus your attention, you can keep your business running and growing even as you resolve supply chain disruptions.
tied together: 4 ways to protect your business from inflation
1. Clarify the situation
The first and most important task before you is to identify and understand the root cause of the lag. A supply chain outage due to some aspect of the pandemic, for example, is very different from an outage caused by an official shutdown of a major supplier. One will likely last a long time, while the other can be bypassed by sourcing from another vendor.
Another important preliminary task is to determine the damage caused by the delay. To determine the extent of the problem, you need to determine how much of the product is being lost and whether any part of it is still salable and salable. The first step is to create a plan to minimize losses and keep the flow of income as much as possible.
2. Understand how to proceed
Once you have a clear understanding of the reason for the delay and the expected duration, it is important to shift your focus to implementing a plan to move forward as quickly as possible. Don’t pay attention to the delay. Instead, look for actions you can take immediately or delegate. Examine resource acquisition and allocation strategies to reduce the impact of delays.
Review your order history as part of this process. Track on-time shipments and other metrics over time, then make your own estimates of how future delays will affect your business so you can plan ahead.
3. Keep lines of communication open
The worst thing you can do is leave customers, employees, and other stakeholders in a position where they have to guess about deliveries, schedules, and deadlines. Instead, devise strong strategies for communicating clearly with anyone who may be impacted by your supply chain issues.
Even if you aren’t dealing with the recession, it’s important to acknowledge its impact on your customers, employees, and others. Apologize for any inconvenience and give them any accurate information you can share so they can adjust their plans – which is especially important for your customers.
tied together: Why Empathy Is An Important Business Skill (And How To Develop Yours)
4. Focus on other aspects of your business
Now is the time to focus on customer service and all other aspects of your business that aren’t directly affected by supply chain issues. This is an especially good time to start working in customer service, as these changes can go well beyond current bottlenecks and help you build a more loyal customer base that will last well into the future.
It’s also a good idea to use delays to improve your business processes. Even the smallest incremental improvements can improve your business practices. And with such significant disruptions to your customer-facing operations, even incremental changes can significantly improve your bottom line.
5. Plan ways to deal with or prevent future delays
This will likely not be the last event of significant disruption to global supply chains that the business community will ever witness. So after implementing a plan that focuses on optimizing other aspects of your business processes, think about taking steps to prevent future delays in your supply chain.
First, make sure you have a timely and effective system for tracking your inventory at all stages of the customer journey. This way you will not be surprised if there are delays or failures in the supply chain in the future. Check out affordable supply chain management (SCM) software suitable for small businesses to track your inventory and manage shipping to your customers.
Next, look for ways to add a buffer to your inventory count. This will not always be physically possible or financially feasible. Take advantage of discounts and closeouts to increase inventory when and where your company’s financial and physical storage capabilities allow. Also explore possible alternatives to your general inventory specifications. Both competitive and tiered lines can provide affordable replacements.
tied together: What is a sales lab and how can it help your business?
6. Keep your team motivated
It’s important to keep your team informed about how delays in the supply chain are affecting your business. Keeping a brave face will only go so far, especially when there are real issues to contend with. Communicate openly and honestly with your team and update them of any changes while staying positive and upbeat. Don’t forget to reward your team for their hard work in uncertain times.
7. Don’t forget to protect your physical and mental health
In the Last but Not Least category, take care of yourself. Your business has never needed your leadership more. Make basic self-care a priority that includes relaxation and time away from the office to rest and recharge.
tied together: feeling jealous? Maybe you’re not being selfish enough with your time
Business strategies, entrepreneurial advice and inspirational stories in one place. Explore the New Entrepreneur Bookstore.