The last few weeks have revealed the worst of what can happen to a business’s supply chain during a major crisis. Coronavirus has impacted the world largely because China is the world’s largest exporter. Many businesses depend entirely on one supplier, and now – the results can be seen everywhere.
Supplies Make the Business
Every successful business depends on being able to get the supplies you need to continue production. When the global supply chain breaks down, as it has now for many businesses, it is time to make plans for contingencies. Another reason to do this now is because no one can predict how long coronavirus will continue to affect manufacturing and shipping from China or other Asian ports such as Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, etc.
As things stand now, it is likely to take some time for orders from China to be caught up to date and shipped. This could mean that your business may not be ready for those special holidays and other marketing opportunities.
Some Things You Can Do
- Check Your Historical Data – Find out what kind of sales you can expect for your products during the various months of the year.
- Develop New Supplier Lists – Instead of relying on countries outside of the U.S., where international shipping can be affected, find some that are closer to you that can supply your company with the materials you need. Find an alternate that is capable of producing the supplies needed to ensure your product will be ready – on time. Giving them small orders from time to time will help you be sure that they are capable of delivering the quality and timeliness you demand.
- Logistics – Getting the products or materials to your company is just as important as having a supplier. Find shippers, and possibly companies that can provide expedited shipping at a good rate to ensure the supplies and products can be delivered when they are needed.
Walmart has mastered logistics by having some regional manufacturers supply their nearby stores. Although many of their products do come from overseas, the manufacturers in one area could potentially supply other stores if necessary.
- Software – Companies need to look beyond software for the sake of being ready with the product when you need it. While it can help you understand some things, the bottom line is not the software, but the reliability and capability of the people providing the services. Check their reputation before putting your brand on the line and making promises to the public about special sales and new products.
- Quality Products – It is a good idea to ensure that your products are made with quality built-in. Word gets out when people are satisfied with products purchased with your brand on them that are made with quality and at a good price. This leads to customer satisfaction and more sales, enabling you to develop newer and better products. In some cases, it may also mean staying away from the lowest priced suppliers and manufacturers and seeking to give people a good deal – which means they will come back.
- Target All Customers – Some companies have recently demonstrated the value of providing marketing channels for different segments of their customers. Instead of only focusing on those who give repeat business, by targeting your message uniquely for the different needs of your customers, you can be ready for smaller segments, too. This will demand a larger supply chain – and give you a larger profit.
The right kind of logistics management can help solve your current supply chain problems. Having peace of mind that your shipment of product or supplies will be there when you need it is worth a good night’s sleep. How can your supply chain be revised for greater reliability?