Just about everybody has seen or felt the affects of issues in the supply chain since the start of the pandemic. For small businesses, it can be a challenge to keep popular items in stock and deal with inpatient customers. Here are six tips on how to best handle these challenges.

1. Keep Track Of Your Stock

It’s important to track your inventory, in the best or worst of times. Right now, with such frequent supply shortages, it’s essential to know your inventory numbers and what needs to be restocked. You never want to be to be running out of popular items or supplies and struggle to restock them.

2. Increase Your Inventory Whenever Possible

When you have limited resources, it can be difficult to invest in more inventory. You also have to consider things like labor, physical storage space, and time. A few tips on increasing your inventory:

  • Buy as much as you can afford of available items
  • Look for bulk discounts to stock up
  • Expand physical storage space to hold more inventory
  • Consider outsourcing thing like storage, packing and shipping

3. Be Flexible and Look Into Alternatives

With the supply chain being as unpredictable as it is currently, it’s impossible to know when popular products and supplies will become unavailable. It’s incredibly important to be proactive and research alternative suppliers. It helps to have suppliers in different locations to raise your chances of finding items in stock. Small business owners can also get creative and find alternative options for customers.

4. Use Efficient Tools to Manage Your Supply Chain

Currently, supply chain management software (SCM) is typically used by larger businesses. However, using automation tools can help you plan more efficiently. Small businesses can benefit from using an SCM to help track inventory, manage shipping, and keep you updated on which items sell faster.

5. Be Honest and Communicative with Customers

Most people are aware of the supply chain issues due to the high level of press reporting on it. Being transparent with your customers on longer shipping times and lower stock is more important than ever right now. Customers are more likely to stay loyal and keep coming back if they’re being told upfront that orders/services may be delayed due to circumstances beyond your control.

6. Stay Informed

Supply chain disruptions can happen at any given time and are usually unpredictable. The situation depends on your location and industry, but can be affected by politics, economic factors, weather, etc. Stay up to date with news and updates in your specific industry. If you can anticipate a shortage, you have the time to create backup plans and find additional suppliers. You won’t always be able to predict issues, but you can prevent some issues by staying up to date with the industry.

Be Ready!

The future is uncertain. Small businesses need to do anything and everything they can to prepare for any outcome. This means being proactive, studying the data in your industry, having a backup plan for popular supplies and inventory, and keeping your customers informed.

 

Source: Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2021/12/07/six-ways-small-businesses-can-overcome-supply-chain-challenges/?sh=1330e19e61a9)