Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was relatively rare for ordinary products to not be available to order, and many consumers, and even businesses, were unaware of the intricate nature and vulnerability of supply chains. The pandemic has drawn attention to our supply chain dependencies. The effect has been two-fold: not only have supply chains suffered due to restrictions slowing processes down, but the rapid increase in demand on online orders have also put additional pressure on suppliers.
While we have got a little more used to longer waiting times for online orders, it doesn’t mean this is a good time to take your foot off the gas. On the contrary, it’s an opportunity to stand out from businesses that are struggling to deliver, develop your ability to resist shocks and enhance your services and reputation, to make sure those customers return.
With the crisis showing little sign of abating anytime soon, we’re likely to keep experiencing more localised lockdowns and therefore more product shortages. As disruptions are likely to be sudden, it’s essential for businesses to be well prepared. Now is the time to build in those contingencies; here are a few things you can do to ensure your stock levels stay on track.
Have alternative sources of product
A single outbreak of COVID-19 is defined as two or more cases, and these often result in the closure of an entire production plant. Businesses will therefore want to make sure that if this happens, it doesn’t cut off all supply. Making sure you have more than one source for any specific product will safeguard against this, allowing you to keep delivering at the usual levels. It’s also a good idea if the different sources are geographically distinct, in case a region is placed on localised lockdown.
Assess and predict buyer behaviours
While you should always have a good idea of your inventory levels, this becomes even more important when your supply chain is disrupted. Keeping track of buying behaviour allows you to also predict it. If you can, it’s a good idea to build profiles for what stock might run out in specific circumstances. With the ability to predict how consumers are buying, you can build up inventory at the first sign of a crisis.
Online stock control will give you full control and visibility of your inventory
Full visibility of your inventory is crucial, especially if you’re selling through multiple channels. Centralising your stock control will minimise the need for manual tasks, eliminating human error and preventing the overselling of stock, which could be detrimental to your reputation.
Using online stock control has many benefits, as it gives you visibility and control, while synchronising your channels. This will increase productivity and result in greater cost-savings, and free up time for you to focus on growing your business instead of spending it working on spreadsheets.
Partnering with a logistics expert who offers online stock control will give you 24/7 access to monitor stock levels, with instant stock checks and automatic re-ordering across multiple users and channels, ensuring that you never run out of product again.
Have an emergency plan in place
Even if you take the necessary precautions, disruptions may still happen, so you should have an emergency plan in place. Over the years, businesses have optimised their supply chains, minimising costs and reducing inventories, and now find themselves without much of a buffer to absorb these sudden disruptions.
Creating a stockpile of essential supplies is therefore more timely than ever. You should have a store of goods that can see your business through an extended period of disruption, ideally several months in the worst-case scenario. Third-party logistics providers can help with warehousing solutions, so that you can have an emergency repository of finished goods, components or even raw materials in case your supply chain is temporarily cut off.
Sprint Logistics: A logistics management platform with personalised ordering
Online stock control removes uncertainty and duplication from ordering, and reduces the time you spend on administration. At Sprint Logistics, our international logistics management platform gives you full control and clarity over your stock, with automated pre-alerts to enable faster stock replenishment and a fast, reliable international logistics service.
You’ll also have an improved audit trail for cost control and compliance, and a full disaster recovery protection giving you the ability to remotely control and manage your stock in all eventualities.
Contact us today to find out more about the online stock control solutions we offer.