We know that supply chain issues are here to stay for the foreseeable future. Despite some port backlog relief and retailer's reporting on their flush inventory, supply chain woes will persist this holiday shopping season. This year's peak retail season is predicted to be a feast or famine scenario as many retailers are still in the throws of the compounding economic challenges over the past couple of years plus added pressure to diversify the supplier base and invest in the infrastructure or personnel to anticipate consumer demand patterns.
Last year saw so many order delays due to the container shortages and port congestion that retailers had to pivot and react in real time to turn a profit. This year; however, retailers are being proactive and have pushed sales up. This is also a strategy to help alleviate the operational pain points of excess inventory.
While retailers and their suppliers double down on risk mitigation and prepare their supply chains for this year's peak season, here is what you can do to exercise as much control internally despite the shifting economic landscape:
1. Start by assessing your current inventory levels. Take into account both your raw materials and finished products. If you're running low on either, it could hamper your ability to keep up with demand during the holiday season. The holidays are a busy time for many businesses, and managing inventory can really make or break performance. A well planned strategy will help ensure that you have the products and materials you need to keep your business running smoothly so you can have peace of mind during this chaotic season.
2. Take a look at your production schedule. Is there any flexibility built in? If not, see if there's any way to increase efficiency or make adjustments so that you can accommodate a sudden spike in orders. Most companies will increase staff levels or outsource order fulfillment to a third-party company if they don't have the capacity to fulfill all of the orders in-house.
3. It's also important to review your shipping and logistics procedures. Make sure that your systems are able to handle an influx of orders and that you have enough manpower to get everything shipped out on time. It's important for companies to stay as flexible as possible to be prepared to make changes on the fly to meet the increased volume of orders. The holiday season is unpredictable and operations will inevitably be tested. By being flexible and agile, you can minimize the impact of problems and keep your business running smoothly by making real time adjustments on the fly.
4. Don't forget about customer service! This is often the first area to suffer when things get busy. Make sure that you have adequate staffing levels and that your team is prepared to handle an increase in calls and inquiries. This is especially critical to help diffuse situations such as delays or out-of-stock items.
By taking these steps as early as possible, you can avoid a lot of holiday season headaches later on. This will help to sustain any business to weather any economic storm. Plus, you'll be better prepared to pivot and perhaps take advantage of any unexpected sales opportunities that come your way.