For much of the year business owners have been facing all kinds of persistent challenges. This includes ongoing price increases, tight labour market, and supply chain shortages.
A result of this, geopolitical tensions with Russia and Ukraine have demobilized large parts of the supply network, while mass-producing country such as China shut down many of its borders to entry ports and ports due to the Zero Covid strategy.
The SMB Retail Supply Chain Survey on more than 300 logistics and inventory professionals provides a vivid illustration of the challenges that many businesses have had to face over the last 12 months.
Key findings of the survey showed that around 86% have been directly affected by the war on Ukraine. Smaller businesses cannot always take advantage of the alternatives offered by conflict. 91% surveyed retail professionals felt larger companies had an advantage in their ability produce and receive inventory faster.
But geopolitical tension isn’t all that has contributed to the severe supply chain problem. A tighter industry already faces increasing fuel costs, inflation and a shortage warehouse workers, truck drivers and delivery employees.
Despite inflation reducing their disposable income, consumer demands have not declined. This is because a large portion of the American market has demonstrated resilience when faced by ongoing macroeconomic difficulties.
For small business owners, however, continuing headwinds only make it harder to improve their bottom-line performance. Even with rising consumer demand, supply-chain worries will only lead to revenues plateauing. This is something that desperate business owners have been trying to avoid for as long and hard as possible.
The holiday season is rapidly approaching and business owners are hopeful that supply chains issues won’t impact their holiday performance. This time of year, most businesses attempt to make up any losses they have made throughout the year.
It won’t be easy to navigate supply chain challenges. Below are five strategies that business owners and entrepreneurs can use to overcome challenging supply chains conditions ahead of the holiday season.
Business owners should begin to look into diversifying suppliers and vendors long before the holidays start. Most businesses have planned ahead. Small business owners, however, will need to use the vendors available.
You should have several suppliers to choose from. It is also a good idea look for suppliers both in the local area and outlying regions. The cost of transportation may be higher for businesses, but this will ensure that your company has sufficient stock to last the holiday season.
If your company is in a financial position for bulk purchases, you can do it well in advance to ensure your business’s security and readiness for whatever comes up.
If done right, buying in bulk has many benefits and potential risks. First of all, if a business purchases in bulk and is unable to move much inventory, it will be operating at a loss. On the other side, buying in large quantities and running out popular items can have a larger impact on the balance-sheet by the end.
It’s all a balance. Business owners must ensure that they stock up on popular products, and not keep the less-bought items aside.
Adjust Product Availability
Many businesses offer many products and may want to make changes in order to avoid supply chain bottlenecks.
You should consider which products are the most well-known and which products have been inactive for months. In times of high demand and high volume, it’s important to avoid niche or hard-tofind products.
A straightforward offering and providing clients with exactly what they desire during busiest times of each year will help to build a long-lasting relationship with the consumer and business.
Establish a network with suppliers and other vendors
It is a great way to make sure that your shelves and customers are well stocked this holiday season. You can also network with existing vendors and suppliers to help you locate other suppliers in case of an emergency.
Also, it’s a good idea to network with suppliers or vendors in order to find cheaper items.
Furthermore, by networking with suppliers more often, it can help you establish a long-lasting relationship that will help you navigate any supply chain issues.
Use efficient tools for inventory tracking
Business owners can lastly use the tools and resources necessary to track and monitor their inventory levels to navigate the holiday season. These tools are not only a way to ensure stock availability, but they can also help businesses know exactly when to place follow up orders and track delivery.
Using the right tools is more than just ensuring that a shipment is delivered on schedule. It allows businesses to have a well-functioning system that monitors inventory and stock levels at all times, even during peak hours. This can be a substantial investment, but you should consider it a long-term commitment rather than a short-term solution.
Businesses have already faced significant challenges this year. The coming holiday season could be a rebound for many businesses that are desperate for solutions to the ongoing problems that have plagued supply chain industries for over two years.
The next months will be a test to see if the global supply system has fully recovered or if there is still a pandemic-induced problem. It looks like it will continue well into 2019.
While they may not be in control of all conditions, business owners must focus on what they can manage and control. Being prepared and fully equipped shows businesses that they’re ready for anything. It also shows how flexible and willing to adapt for any future challenges.