Supply chains are yet to recover from the stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic but now have been pushed further into jeopardy due to damages caused by Russia’s attacks on Ukraine and China’s strict covid-19 lockdowns hurting the manufacturing industry. Research suggests that the global economy is facing a fall into recession due to the highest inflation rates in the past generation. Now is the time for businesses to make the right decisions to protect themselves from upcoming disruptions in the work system.
Here is a comprehensive list of ways and advice to support your business for what may be an uncertain future ahead.
IMPROVE YOUR PRICES AND SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
- DON’T rely on short-term solutions. Instead, communicate effectively with your suppliers and maintain good relations with them. Have regular meetings to discuss and resolve any issues you may have experienced or any problems you anticipate for the future. Keep them updated on your plans and what they can expect from you, and also make sure they inform you of any delays or issues in operations.
- Suppliers with loyal customers can be willing to discuss concerns regarding reducing purchasing costs rather than customers who use them on an ad hoc basis. Frequent communication is, hence, very crucial to get better prices from suppliers. This will help you negotiate prices for goods and services. Consider costs, rates, discounts, terms, and more. Crystal Petzer, director of The Alternative Board Pittwater, recommends getting the supplier of goods to lock in a price and ensure your costs reflect increases and review monthly.
- Source multiple local and global suppliers because even the best suppliers face issues. A proactive approach can avoid roadblocks if your usual supplier cannot deliver. Also, spend time leveraging inventory management software to support optimising your supply chain. And in the event of shortages and disruptions, don’t leave your customers and key stakeholders in the dark. Be transparent and open in your communications while managing expectations and keep them updated about any delays.
- Always anticipate what’s coming. Supply chain disruptions will most likely continue for some time, so there may be challenges ahead, and it’s wise to stay updated on your industry’s financial, political, social, and natural developments. Keeping multiple factors in mind can ensure your supply chain functions smoothly.
- Monitor inventory and regularly track how much stock your company has on hand at any given moment in time. It’s an excellent idea to boost inventory sales when possible.
Petzer further suggests reviewing sales processes and adjusting accordingly.
‘‘Ensure your KPIs like billable hours vs quoted time are on track and that the gap is not too big as you are likely to be paying more for staff, but if a staff member is taking too long, there is a problem,’’ she says.
‘‘Have a disclosure around quoted materials pricing or items that the costs may go up and that when the job or quote is confirmed, a review of the price of goods will be looked at, and the customer will be informed if there is a difference.’’
It is safer to have a plan on how you might be able to address specific issues rather than looking for solutions at the time of a crisis. Whether planning for order fulfilment, contacting multiple suppliers or expanding internal operations, strategise in a way that can save you problems later on. As they say, forewarned is forearmed.
PRACTICAL WAYS IN WHICH YOU CAN REDUCE YOUR BUSINESS EXPENSES
- Don’t waste energy! An easy way to reduce costs is by avoiding unnecessary usage of energy. Do this by changing lighting, shutting down unused equipment and re-programming your thermostat. Also, educate employees about energy conservation methods that can be implemented.
- Eliminate renting an office space if your company primarily works from home. If you can’t negotiate your way out of your lease, you may be able to sub-lease your vacant space.
- Be wise about choosing your banking solution. While most banks claim to be committed to helping small businesses, only a few stick to their claims. Ensure you have clear communication channels and personal support from a good banker.
- Review your insurance policies and choose the best option while considering increasing deductibles and eliminating unneeded coverage. Maintaining good coverage is essential, but you must also ensure this isn’t over your budget.
- Opt for the convenience of online meeting platforms by going virtual with customer meetings. In addition to reducing travel and meal expenses, this method offers the additional advantage of consuming much less time, providing bonus hours you can visit with even more stakeholders remotely and devote to other aspects of growing your business.
- Design a compelling strategy, value proposition, and culture to attract and retain great talent. The labour market is tight now, and benefits like flexible work, creative, and payroll deduction programs so employees can buy their own savings bonds and other qualified, self-directed purchases can all be considered.
- Use interim freelancers to negate the cost burden of recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, and letting full-time employees go. It can significantly save money for many projects and short-term responsibilities. Most estimates indicate that using an independent contractor in place of an employee can mean savings of 30%.
- Consider investing in AI, robotics, and other technologies to perform redundant or programmable activities. Although this may be expensive initially, the payoff is more significant in the long run.
- Go paperless by invoicing electronically. This eliminates the need for printing, stamping, and snail mail costs. Invoices are also received quicker, leading to more interim payments. Save important documents on cloud storage instead of printing and filing them.
- Make cost-effective marketing strategies. This can be done through networking, referrals, and an effective social media program.
- Understand your federal, state, and local rules and regulations. Keep your vital documents and contracts updated and in order and invest in good labour and an HR professional if necessary. These investments are a smart idea versus the potential fines, penalties, and lawsuits resulting from noncompliance or similar violations.
Despite the ongoing supply chain crisis, now is the time to reconsider how you manage your supply chain. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone.
Contact TAB Australia today to take advantage of one-on-one business coaching sessions and peer-advisory boards to help optimise how you conduct your business.