This past year has presented unprecedented challenges for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers alike in the battle to stay profitable while facing closures, staff shortages, supply chain disruptions, and very unpredictable demand.
Now as we face another round of the infamous virus, it’s time to prepare for the unexpected with tools designed to help save time and increase productivity, and to apply creative thinking to survive through the most difficult challenges.
Here are some steps you can take now to prepare for disruption in your normal work routine:
- Test out a remote conferencing system with employees from home to make sure everyone knows how to access it and has adequate internet service.
- Find out what your employees’ comfort levels are regarding working on the premises during the uptick in cases to see if you should consider hiring additional staff.
- Plan out staggered work schedules ahead of time and ensure remote workers have adequate equipment in internet security to access any sensitive company information.
- Do your homework to find alternate suppliers, preferably closer to your location.
- Stock up on non-perishable items in greatest demand during the last lockdown event.
- Conduct brainstorm sessions with your team to visualize new marketing strategies, marketing channels, and products that could perform well during a lockdown.
- Research software that saves on labor and streamlines your workflow processes
Get Better Inventory Tracking Software
Any business wishing to track a product after the sale to service a warranty will need to track that individual product. All like products will have the same manufacturer and SKU number, but the serial number is a separate tracking code assigned to each product to identify it as a unique unit.
When Best Buy sells someone a laptop, the serial number is tied to the warranty at the time of the sale. When the buyer needs a repair, he can go directly to the manufacturer to service the warranty.
The manufacturer will look up the serial number to find out specifics about what the product is and where it was sold. For serial number tracking, you need software designed to generate and scan serial numbers and accurately track serialized products through production and beyond.
Products with expiration dates, namely perishables, should be managed with lot tracking so their location and journey can be pinned down precisely. This is a necessary process for quickly removing the spoiled product from your inventory and recalling it from your customers.
Communicate with Your Customers
If demand is rising and supply can’t keep up, you can quell customer frustration through clear communication. If your customer knows your orders are running behind due to unforeseen circumstances, they will be appreciative that you divulged that information and less likely to complain (or stop being your customer) when the product shows up late.
Everyone understands we are going through challenging times. Just let customers know when you plan to ship or when they can expect to hear updates. This way they won’t feel neglected.
If you qualified for a PPP loan in the past, you may very well qualify for another in the future. Get your paperwork in order so you can get it done quickly and minimize downtime caused by a shortage in cash flow.
However, it shakes out, the businesses that develop calluses will endure and prosper in the aftermath. There’s no harm in being ready for whatever the fall season brings.