How to Improve Your Small Business’s Supply Chain?

We’ve read more about supply chains in the past few years than we’ve heard in the past hundred years. We are still hitting roadblocks when it comes to sourcing things, and it doesn’t stop with just having difficulty getting stuff. No, that’s only half of it, because now, there’s also the fact that if you can find something, it’s super expensive. How do you avoid issues with your supply chain while also ensuring that you’re paying a fair price for things? It’s not easy, and sometimes it’ll drive you absolutely crazy, but it’s possible to navigate the supply chain in a way that won’t make you scream. 

Go local every chance you get 

The problem that many small businesses have with going local is that you’ll end up paying more. It’s true that the big boys can charge you much less, but the price doesn’t matter when you can’t get your hands on something. By using local supply chains, you can, at the very least, ensure that you’re able to get what you need. 

A good rule of thumb is that when you can’t get what you’re looking for through your typical avenues, that’s when you go local. If you run a restaurant and you can’t get enough beef sourced from the big companies, it’s time to hit up your local butchers and farmers to see what is available. The reason you might want to go local as a last resort is you’ll have to pay more, and in turn, your profits will be lower. However, if it means the difference between staying open and shutting your doors, always opt for lower profits. 

Be crystal clear with your vendors 

You have to remember that you might be buying things from people who are halfway around the country from you. It’s easy to get lost in the digital debris when you’re dealing with companies that have hundreds, if not thousands, of customers. Don’t order 100 things or 50 of those gadgets you bought last week; instead, be clear about what you want. 

You need to review your order forms before submitting them. It’s kind of stupid to buy something that you may not know what you’re getting. Have a fresh pair of eyes look over the order form and make sure everything is correct. If you have any doubt or if there’s an item that is out of stock, call before placing your order. 

It’s a huge mistake to think that people will know what you’re talking about if you place an incorrect order. Just because you’ve ordered something for months or even years, doesn’t mean the person fulfilling your order will remember you. There could be new people working at the warehouse that have no idea of your purchasing history, or could even care less for that matter. 

Track your inventory using computer software 

Software such as inventory management systems can help you keep accurate records of your stock levels, orders, and shipments. Whatever you do, don’t eyeball your inventory and think that you have enough to get you through. You have to plan ahead and realize that your supplier might not be able to fulfill your order right away. If that happens, you’re screwed without the necessary supplies to complete your customer’s order. 

The best management systems will notify you when you’re begging to run low on supplies. You can set it to notify you when your supplies are low and some systems will even reorder for you. It’s best to be on the conservative side when it comes to reordering that way you can continue to operate even if there are supply chain issues that are causing slowdowns. 

Cut out the middlemen if it’s possible 

Go direct to the source if you can when it comes to ordering your supplies. Sometimes you will have to deal with a middleman because the supplier won’t deal directly with a small business. You have no choice but to deal with the middleman in that case, but even then, if you’re doing volume, at the very least, talk to the supplier and see if you can get your foot in the door.

If you can order direct, you will reduce possible chinks in the supply chain and your costs too. Dealing directly with suppliers typically means less wait time and, since the products are going through fewer hands, lower prices, which will help you become even more profitable. 

Supply chain issues are here to stay

If you think we’re anywhere near out of the woods when it comes to supply chain issues, think again. We are nowhere near the end and some say this is the new normal. Get used to long wait times and having to jump through hoops to get what you need to stay afloat in your business, because, chances are good, nothing is going to change.

Jason Holder

My name is Jason Holder and I am the owner of Mini School. I am 26 years old. I live in USA. I am currently completing my studies at Texas University. On this website of mine, you will always find value-based content.

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