No matter what industry you’re in, supply and demand always increase during the holiday season. With the lingering effects of the Covid pandemic still affecting the production of products around the world, many businesses are heading into the holiday season facing a serious potential for supply chain disruption. However, there’s enough time to take appropriate action to protect your business from this dilemma.
With the right amount of foresight and action, entrepreneurs can set up multiple plans to keep their supply chains up and running or at least use creative business ideas to recover losses in other ways. Below, 15 members of Forbes Business Council share specific actions that entrepreneurs should take to protect their businesses from supply chain disruption during the holiday season.
1. Take A Two-Fold Approach To Mitigation
Entrepreneurs should look to first conduct a holistic analysis of their business model and supply chain. Take a two-fold approach to mitigation, such as moving supply chains nearby and increasing the utilization of digital technology alternatives where applicable. – William Hudson, Harris County Public Health
2. Think Several Steps Ahead Of Where You Are
Though you may or may not play the game of chess, you do have to approach business that way. You should always be thinking several steps ahead of where you are. Prepare for potential roadblocks, but always expect the best. – Billy Sticker, ChiroCandy Marketing
3. Market Proactively To Potential Hiccups
Proactively market to customers potential hiccups in the traditional shopping season and help guide them to earlier purchasing with early shopping rewards or incentives redeemable in 2022. – Denise Sangster, Global Touch, Inc.
4. Open Up More Avenues Of Communication
Get closer with your supply chain partners, managers, current staff and customers. Open up more avenues of communication and enhance the ones you already have. The disruption is going to be constant across the board with most industries, but constant communication will stimulate creativity for other solutions and ensure that everyone is on the same page during these abnormal periods. – Aaron Anderson, Freedom Air Heating and Air Conditioning
5. Diversify Your Supplier Ecosystem
There is no single magic solution or action that can address the challenges from supply chain disruptions. Among the many strategies, the most important one would be to diversify the supplier ecosystem. This would need to be done in terms of adding more suppliers. Also, look at substitution and disaggregation of systems or services to provide more options in case of supply chain disruptions. – Ajith Sankaran, Course5 Intelligence Pvt Ltd.
6. Ensure That All Suppliers Are Verified
In order to understand the risk in your supply chain and identify weak links, it’s critical to verify suppliers. Businesses must ensure that all suppliers are verified by conducting KYB and KYC verifications as well as business score and credit checks. It’s also important to proactively research alternative suppliers and build resilience into your supply chain through multi-supplier networks. – Hany Fam, Markaaz
7. Buy In Bulk And Store Products Offsite
Keep a flow on what you’re typically ordering and have it stored offsite. I buy things in bulk that I know I use a lot of and have my contractor store it or put it in my storage unit until needed. This won’t work for everything, but it works great for the little everyday items that are constantly being used. – Melissa Johnson, webuyhousessanantoniotx.com
8. Build Redundancies That You Can Turn To
Build redundancies. It is a foregone conclusion that this year, more than any other in the recent past, will be fraught with supply chain challenges. Operate under the assumption that some will happen to you and build your supply chain with that in mind. That means always having redundancies you can turn to should your primary supply chain partner fall short of being able to deliver. – Colin Darretta, Innovation Department
9. Order Inventory From More Suppliers
Never put your eggs, or widgets, in one basket. Get into the habit of ordering the majority of your inventory from supplier A and make a concerted effort to continually order a portion of your inventory from supplier B. Both will appreciate your business and more often than not supplier B will be eager to capture a larger share of purchasing if given the chance and when you need it most. – Alex Argianas, Arginias & Associates
10. Incentivize Customers To Purchase Early
A big lesson of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the importance of business continuity planning in uncertain times. Be clear-eyed about your biggest supply chain risks, anticipate them, and develop realistic contingency plans for probable disruptions. Also, consider incentivizing your customers or clients to purchase early. Get creative about filling in product or service gaps with digital alternatives. – Cybele Negris, Webnames.ca Inc.
11. Share Realistic Shipping Dates
Supply chain disruption has plagued many industries since the beginning of the pandemic and continues to be an issue. While there’s really nothing entrepreneurs can do to improve global production delays, they can manage customer expectations. Sharing realistic shipping dates before purchase will ensure customers understand a given timeline from the start and are not disappointed in the end. – Muraly Srinarayanathas, Computek College
12. Use Sophisticated Forecasting Systems
Better supply chain management is a competitive advantage for leading companies. Those firms which do it well are able to sense demand shifts and build resiliency into the supply chain. The use of a sophisticated demand forecasting system that incorporates current inventories and lead times will help you stay ahead of the pack. Focus on SCM resiliency. – James Langabeer, Yellowstone Research
13. Communicate Clearly With Clients
Communicate with your clients! People like to feel safe and clear, so consistent and accurate communication is important to that goal. Don’t ghost your clients if you’re late! Make sure all communication is clear with a promise of when you’ll reach back out to them. Then uphold that promise. – Lou Cysewski, Coolperx
14. Innovate Complimentary Products/Services
Pivot like we did during Covid by innovating complimentary products or services that you can offer customers to keep cash flow happening. Maybe it’s a gift of insurance or a virtual IOU that makes people laugh. Of course, planning with an extra six months of lead time would be helpful, but while ships are stuck lined up trying to get to port as they are in Los Angeles right now, there’s no time for that. – Alyson Dutch, Brown + Dutch PR, Inc.
15. Expand The Use Of Fulfillment Centers
Supply chain disruption has been an issue since the inception of Covid and therefore has had me thinking of solutions. My initial thought to mend this issue would be for companies to start expanding their use of fulfillment centers, ultimately enabling them to stockpile inventory until it’s needed. Being able to supply on demand in this aggressive market will give companies a key competitive advantage. – Johnny Marines, Johnny Marines Enterprises