It’s important to note that businesses of any size, be they a humble startup working out of a garage, or a large international organization, but rely on a supply chain they have taken time to develop, contribute to, or be part of.
This is because the free flow of trade goods, services and materials is essential for value to be generated and sold on at a later date. We’ve also seen in recent years how fragile the supply chain can be. For instance, for many companies involved in the development and manufacturing of technological devices and computer hardware, the semiconductor shortage has thrown a wrench into the plans they may have had.
Reinforcing your business supply chain is not necessarily an easy task as a small business, then, but it can help you out of a pickle, as it were, should problems raise their head. Pre-empting future issues is always a wise use of our time, and in this post, we hope to help you make a positive outcome more likely:
Maintain Your Fleet Appropriately
If you run your own fleet, it’s essential to make sure it’s as operational as possible. This can sometimes mean onboarding with temporary trucking staff solutions should members of your workforce take time off with illness, for example.
It also means caring for the trucks properly, and with the M&L Truck Service ready to attend to all of those needs as quickly as possible, you’ll be able to protect your brand against forced downtime that you may not have expected.
Keeping a service like this around can help you get back up and operational as soon as possible, but more importantly than this, will also ensure you can guarantee safety and keep your fleet as well-provisioned as possible.
Source More Than One Supplier
Sometimes, you just need to acquire a certain good from a different supplier, perhaps because your first choice is out of that particular inventory, or because you feel the quality has somehow degraded in that time.
It can also be that you select a few suppliers based on the various goods they have, including if they offer different price points for different qualities. If your business is in a precarious financial situation, cutting costs with a more cost-effective supplier could make all the difference, even if it’s just a temporary stop-gap measure.
In some cases, suppliers will be more interested in curating your business, and will be interested in offering better prices for bulk orders or for orders you pay the invoice for immediately.
Buy In Bulk & Curate Reserves
Of course, it’s always nice to limit the amount of times you need to purchase from a supplier, especially if you have effective storage solutions ready to hold your inventory of reserve products, materials, or ingredients.
We’ve already mentioned that bulk orders can often levy a cost-effective solution that you may not have been expecting, but it’s also worthwhile to keep these items within your building and ready to use as and when you need to. This can also help you pre-empt the order rush, such as when you purchase a range of basic materials in advance for your Christmas manufacturing cycle, so that you can meet all of the end-of-year orders without having to compete against other firms for a stable supply.
Predict Usage Patterns
Based on your last years of trading, it might be healthy to predict the usage patterns of what you may need and what kind of orders may come your way. If you haven’t expanded your operation significantly, it could be that a similar amount of orders, perhaps with a 10% grace amount in either direction, can help you avoid underspending or overspending in one fell swoop.
Sure, you might not be able to predict this with utter accuracy every single time, but we’re willing to bet that the approach you take will be much better than not bothering to get ahead of the order rush at all. After all, it’s best to be left with a little more supply than you need than to be without the ability of meeting the most fundamental demands of your audience. Predicting usage patterns can help you there.
Source Potential Alternatives
If a particular item is unlikely to show itself at this time, then it could be you need to opt for an alternative. This is not necessarily a terrible thing, as you’d be surprised just how many materials can serve the same purpose.
Of course, for some firms, this will be impossible and some items may just need to be out of stock. But let’s say you’re a restauranteur, replacing certain meals on the menu can be achieved with a creative chef and the willingness to plan for what’s in stock and season.
Alternatively, if you find it hard to curate the right materials for your product packaging right now, it could be that designing a more sustainable cardboard option could be a healthier alternative, and that may even work its way into your mainline product planning.
With a little creative thinking and an eye for what the competition may be up to, we’re willing to bet an ingenious solution will find you sooner than later.
Communication Is Essential
Of course, without great communication with suppliers, you probably won’t even know what’s happening with the supply chain in the first place until you notice that the items you wish to buy are no longer available.
This is why healthy communication is essential. It can enable you to predict buying patterns, gain warnings from your trusted suppliers in advance, and ask them for their professional opinion such as where you may be able to import a specific material or item more easily, even if that means depriving them of business for a short period. Suppliers aren’t out to get you, for the most part, they’ll be willing to help.
With this advice, we hope you can continue to reinforce your business supply chain in the best possible sense.