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These are Five Tips for Small Businesses to Navigate Tight Supply Chains This Holiday Season


Oct 22, 2022

For much of the year, business owners have had to deal with many persistent challenges. These include ongoing price increases and tight labour markets. Supply chain shortages are just one of the obstacles they’ve learned how to overcome.

This has led to geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which has demobilized a large portion of the supply chain. Meanwhile, mass-producing countries like China have closed many of their borders and ports of entry because of China’s Zero Covid policy.

The SMB Retail Supply Chain Survey, which surveyed more than 305 logistics professionals and inventories professionals, paints a clear picture of the difficulties many businesses have faced over the past 12 months.

The survey found that 86% of small and medium businesses were already affected by the conflict in Ukraine. Smaller businesses have not been able to access alternative options due to the conflict. 91% of respondents to the survey felt that larger companies are better able to produce and obtain inventory faster and more easily.

The supply chain crisis is not just due to geopolitical conflicts. Inflation, rising fuel costs and shortages of truck drivers and warehouse workers have added stress to an already tight industry.

Inflation has reduced their disposable income but consumer demand has not declined. The American consumer market has demonstrated strong resilience to ongoing macroeconomic challenges.

On the other side, small business owners are seeing their bottom lines suffer from ongoing headwinds. Even though consumer demand is increasing, supply chain concerns will continue to keep revenues stagnant, something that desperate business owners want to avoid as long as they can.

As the holiday season approaches, business owners hope that supply chain problems won’t affect their holiday performance. This is a time when many businesses attempt to make up for any lost profits throughout the year.

It will be difficult to navigate challenging supply chain conditions. There is also a cost. Here are five ways entrepreneurs and business owners can overcome difficult supply chain conditions in time for the holiday season.

Diversify Vendors

Business owners need to start thinking about diversifying their vendors and suppliers long before the holiday season begins. Although most businesses have already started planning for the holidays, small business owners must take advantage of the vendors that they have.

It’s a good idea not only to have a few vendors, but also to search for suppliers in the immediate area where the business operates, as well as in outlying areas. Although it means that companies may have to pay more for transport costs, it ensures that they are well-stocked for holiday periods.

Bulk Orders

Businesses that can afford to buy bulk will be able to do so in advance. This will help ensure that your business is prepared for whatever may come up.

If done correctly, buying bulk can bring you both risks and benefits. First, if a company decides to buy bulk but cannot move all of its inventory, it will incur a loss. However, if a business does not buy in bulk or runs out of popular products, it can have a greater impact on the balance sheet at the end of the season.

It’s all about balance. Business owners need to ensure that they have the most sought-after products and leave the less popular ones aside.

Modify Product Availability

If a business offers a large selection of products, it may be time to consider making changes to improve their supply chain.

This is the best way to do it. Consider which products are most popular and which ones have been around for months with little traction. During periods of high demand and volume, it is also a good idea to avoid niche and hard-to-find products.

A simple offering and the ability to give clients what they want at the busiest times of year are key factors in establishing a long-lasting business relationship and a strong consumer relationship.

Networking with Suppliers and Vendors

Networking with current suppliers and vendors is another way to make sure your shelves are full and your customers happy this holiday. This will make it easier to locate alternative suppliers in the event of an issue.

It is easy to network with suppliers and vendors to find out where you can save more on certain items. This will also help you to see how much you can save in difficult financial times.

You can also build a lasting relationship with suppliers by networking more often, which will make it easier to manage any supply chain issues.

Make use of efficient tools to track inventory

To help businesses navigate the holiday season, they can use the right tools and resources to monitor and track inventory levels. These tools can help businesses track the delivery of their stock and ensure that sufficient stock is always on hand.

The right tools are more than just ensuring that shipments arrive on time. This ensures that businesses have a system that continuously monitors stock levels and inventory, even in peak times. Although it is a significant investment, this should not be considered a short-term fix.

Last Thoughts

Many businesses have faced major challenges this year. The holiday season could provide a chance for businesses to rebound from the ongoing problems that have plagued the supply chain industry over the past two years.

The next months will show if the global supply chain has fully recovered or if we are still experiencing a pandemic-induced problem, which looks set to continue well into the New Year.

Although they won’t have control over all the circumstances, business owners can focus their efforts on those that they can control. Businesses that are prepared and well-equipped not only show their readiness for the future, but also demonstrate their willingness to adapt and plan for long-term challenges.