How Small Businesses are Adapting to Supply Chain Interruptions During Peak Season
October 15, 2021
Peak season always brings a new set of challenges and opportunities each year. When you plan for peak season successfully, you can end up with a spike in sales and a nice boost to your total revenue for the year. But a successful season requires focus. Without that, you could find that the products you need aren't available, and carriers are all booked up with orders from other businesses.
This year, there's a whole new set of challenges thrown into the mix for peak season. All across the world, supply chains struggle to reach full capacity after a year of COVID-related workforce impacts and raw materials shortages. As the little guy in the room, small businesses have had to innovate new strategies to help ensure a profitable peak season.
In this article, you'll learn how small businesses are overcoming supply chain interruptions through the following six methods:
- Increased Communication with Suppliers
- Hiring Third-Party Logistics Providers
- Network with New Suppliers and Local Companies
- Pool Orders with Local Businesses
- Cut Costs by Reducing Inventory Selection
- Utilize Quote Tools to Reduce Shipping Costs
1. Increased Communication with Suppliers
It may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but staying in close contact with your suppliers not only leads to a more thorough understanding of what is and isn't available, it also helps build a relationship with your suppliers.
When you communicate more often with your suppliers, and communicate in a way that takes their needs into account, they're likely to be more accommodating. If a supplier knows that you appreciate their efforts, they may even go the extra mile to help you procure the products you need when supply chains are interrupted.
2. Hiring Third-Party Logistics Providers
A third-party logistics provider, also known as a 3PL, is an organization who can take over or assist with various logistics concerns. These companies are full of professionals with years of experience handling difficult supply chain challenges. If you feel like you don't fully understand some of the logistics elements of your business, or simply need some help improving your shipping, then a 3PL can help you overcome these obstacles.
Third-party logistics providers also tend to bring new technologies into your business. These technologies can help increase visibility on your supply chain, allowing you to make informed decisions that will make a difference for your business.
3. Network with New Suppliers and Local Companies
While it's always ideal to build long lasting relationships with suppliers, it's not always feasible in the face of supply chain interruptions. Networking with new suppliers can help you make quick adjustments when your usual supplier is unable to meet your needs.
Depending on what your business does, you may even be able to forge connections with local companies that can fill supply gaps. For instance, if you run a restaurant and typically have a supplier bring you produce, building a relationship with a local farmer can allow you to bypass a large supplier and get your produce directly from the source. This not only improves your ability to procure needed resources, but builds up your entire community.
4. Pool Orders with Local Businesses
One of the toughest challenges small businesses face in the global supply chain is getting their voices heard. Major suppliers and carriers are often more interested in netting high-volume deals that help them reach their fiscal goals. Unfortunately, this can leave some small businesses without a reliable way to procure resources when they become scarce.
Luckily, you may be able to overcome supply chain shortages by pooling your orders with a few local businesses. By pooling together your orders you end up with a much larger order, which is more likely to capture the attention of a supplier.
5. Cut Costs by Reducing Inventory Selection
While this doesn't have to be your first plan, cutting inventory selection can help you build larger orders of specific items that are more likely to be fulfilled by suppliers. It also allows you to focus on your bread and butter products rather than products that you can't guarantee will sell.
6. Utilize Quote Tools to Reduce Shipping Costs
Lastly, a quote tool can help you find carriers even when supply chains seem overrun. Most small business owners don't have the free time necessary to go hunting for a carrier with a great shipping rate. When supply chains are interrupted and everyone suddenly needs a carrier, this task becomes even more difficult.
Luckily, quoting tools, such as the one here at Freightquote, help you find a great price on shipments quickly. Our quote tool searches through hundreds of carriers to find the lowest price available. In the end, this saves you time and money. It also helps you avoid frustrating searches that don’t result in a desirable outcome.
Adapt to Supply Chain Interruptions with the Help of Freightquote
Adapting to supply chain interruptions is difficult. Freightquote is here to help make it easier. Our quoting tool can help you find carriers for a great rate even when trucks are in short supply. Even better, the resources found on our blog, and the various freight services we provide can help you find your footing during supply chain interruptions and vital peak seasons.