In the past few months you may have noticed empty shelves at your local grocery store or packages that were scheduled to be delivered to your home or business have arrived well after the estimated delivery date. While this is a fairly common phenomenon during the weeks of the typical holiday rush, it’s happening more and more in the United States and around the globe due to the ripple effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Supply chain disruptions range from ships stuck in port awaiting undocking to delays securing container space, slowed land transport and modified production schedules in manufacturing centers.
Recent estimates put deliveries linked to the supply chain approximately 2-6 weeks behind schedule and some products delayed by months and months. Unfortunately, some high demand products, like computer chips, have experienced a complete halt in production causing all types of technology production to come to a grinding stop.
Small Businesses Can Take Action
While the supply chain may seem overwhelming and beyond the control of small business owners who are wondering if their products will be delivered on time, it is important to note that there are some steps they can take to protect their business from disruptions and encourage growth in your small business.
Invest in Technology
Most small business owners who rely on products and supplies to keep their organization running know that forecasting, planning, purchasing, and tracking those items are a key component to knowing how much to order, when to order, and how to ensure on-time delivery.
One of the best ways small business openers can do this is to invest in technology that has up-to-date software for inventory management systems. High quality technology allows businesses to accurately connect suppliers, production facilities, warehouses, and the internal sales organization.
Remember that old saying not to ‘put all your eggs in one basket,’ meaning that one should not concentrate all efforts and resources in one area for fear that you could lose everything if that one area fails?
That adage is perfect for small businesses who want to ensure that their supply of products arrive when needed.
Forbes Magazine online states that small businesses who depend on certain products should not rely on one supplier for a key component of your product. Rather, smaller businesses should diversify their suppliers and manufacturing partners. In fact, Forbes also recommends that businesses of all sizes should consider connecting with local suppliers that may have an easier time delivering certain products in high demand to avoid supply chain bottlenecks.
With the supply chain at the slowest it has been in 40 years, it is a good idea to be proactive in your ordering over the next few quarters until the backlogs are worked out.
The United States Chamber of Commerce gave a few examples of small businesses who have gotten creative in their ordering strategy on their latest blog. One company they highlighted decided to take a financial leap of faith and order a year’s worth of high demand products and plan to sell them over the course of that year.
Another example given was a small business owner who decided to make substitutions for some of her products in the short run until supply chain disruptions have been ironed out.
How is your company dealing with supply chain issues? We’d love to know. Drop us a line here or on our Facebook page.