Thursday, September 21, 2023

Facing supply chain problems? Nine tips to weather the storm

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

As companies face supply chain challenges across the board, many are looking for solutions to help them get back on their feet and move on to business as usual. Even when the current supply chain storm is over, savvy business leaders will look ahead and prepare for the next time processes go wrong.

To help, nine members of Council for Young Entrepreneurs share their advice on how entrepreneurs can weather the current supply chain storm and explain how these tips can help them build better processes for the future.

1. Be honest with your customers

Communicate with your customers what the problem is and what you are actively doing to solve it. Bonus points if you can differentiate yourself in what you do versus what the competition is doing. Right now, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone on the planet who hasn’t heard of supply chain issues. Embrace the moment and show how you work through it with your communication. – JT Allen, myFootpath LLC

2. Maintain the balance between supply and demand

For now, it’s best to maintain a balance between supply and demand. Don’t set higher goals that you need to meet each month to boost your growth. This may benefit you in the short term, but in the long run, the problems you face will continue to grow exponentially. So do not strive for growth; survive for now and identify the factors causing the problems. Once that’s done, the next step should be to come up with an efficient strategy to address the issues right away. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable shapes

3. Diversify your supplier base

It is important for companies to diversify their supplier base and not put all their eggs in one basket. This will help them weather the storm as they have multiple options to source their products and components. In addition, building better processes for the future includes having a robust supply chain planning and management system. This will help companies manage inventory more effectively, identify potential disruptions and mitigate risk. Another piece of advice is to build strong relationships with your suppliers. This means regular communication and collaboration. By building strong relationships with your suppliers, you can gain a better understanding of their operations and capabilities. This knowledge can help you better plan for disruptions and manage expectations. – Pratik Chaskar, Spectra

4. Consider adding additional services

Be creative. Is there a way to diversify your product or add a service to it? What do your customers need help with implementing or using your product, which they normally have to deal with alone? Adding some services to support existing customers is a good way to maintain cash flow, even despite shortages and supply chain issues. It doesn’t have to be super demanding on the team. With the amount of knowledge and experience you have, you can solve certain problems much more efficiently than all your customers. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

5. Identify and correct supply chain gaps

Identifying potential supply chain gaps and taking action to correct them should be the first step for companies. There are several ways companies can reuse assets, inventory, and capabilities to make up for supply chain gaps. One way is by using data analytics to identify underperforming parts of the supply chain. Once these areas are identified, companies can take steps to improve their operations. Another way to balance supply chain gaps is to use technology to automate processes and improve communication between different parts of the organization. Furthermore, companies must take care of the physical and mental well-being of their employees. It is also essential to provide them with the right training to bridge the visible gaps in a supply chain system. – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz

6. Avoid over-investing in products at current prices

When the inventory shortages are resolved, you may end up with excess inventory that you paid a premium for. Instead, get just enough inventory to minimize operational downtime, but you don’t want to overpay for more than you need. In the future, look for opportunities to get materials and inventory at lower prices. When costs skyrocket, be careful not to use too much capital at that stage. It’s hard to predict what will happen and when, but you don’t want to put yourself in a position of constantly working with thin margins and cash. – Firas Kittanehu, Amerisleep mattress

7. Create an emergency response team

This team would consist of specialists whose main responsibility would be to deploy efficient strategies for managing the crisis and creating better processes for the future. The team would work to improve the supply chain infrastructure and come up with optimal solutions to customer or supplier issues facing the company. To do this, it should have access to all the important information that can be used to make informed decisions. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

8. Streamline Communication Efforts

Streamline your communication efforts in every part of the chain. Whether with your distributor or your customers, open and clear communication about supply chain issues is the best way to survive the storm. If you communicate well with everyone, you create trust. Your distributors trust you to be a customer they want to continue working with after the storm has passed. Your customers will trust you to be candid with them in your offer. Clear, consistent and accurate communication is essential in supply chain issues, no matter how turbulent things may seem. – Nick Vendittia, StitchGolf

9. Manage expectations

Vendors who sell physical products and struggle with supply chain issues must meet the expectations of their customers. When you launch a new product, make sure to mention that inventory is limited and it’s first come, first served. This small announcement can help visitors decide if they should make a purchase now or if they’d rather wait. You can enhance this experience by putting people on a waiting list once the product is sold out. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

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