Every day, millions of dollars worth of goods are stuck in giant container ships and waiting for a space at the ports. Some of the goods are getting diverted elsewhere, and it has led to ships being marooned at sea, while waiting their turn.


According to the Institute of Supply Management, American manufacturers are now waiting a record 92 days on average to assemble the parts and raw materials they need to make their goods. 


With that in mind, how can an industrial supplier avoid empty shelves? 


1. Be Prepared 

To avoid challenges, your business needs to be prepared for any scenario, and a disruption in the supply chain is no exception. You'll want documented incident response plans with specific steps and responsible parties assigned for each shortage that may occur. While focusing on the negative can be stressful, the tone should remain professional but warm. 


While stockpiling goods may be an answer for some SKUs, you also run the risk of creating dead inventory if demand dries up. 


2. Have a Plan B

Your supply chain is more than just a single system; it’s composed of countless interconnected people and processes. When something goes wrong with one part there are several ways for things to go wrong and cause major havoc - but this doesn't mean you should give up!

 

If a supply-chain disruption happens, you want to have built-in redundancies with secondary suppliers or alternate, substitute products. According to a recent study on Supply Chain Resilience, your business must be able to account for process failures and bottlenecks, and provide additional surge capacity when disruptions occur. That starts with a Plan B.

3. Count on Technology

Technology is a great way to keep your inventory up-to date with customer needs. You can use it for demand planning, which will make sure you are always stocked and ready when needed. With the guesswork out of this process, software is perfect as an integral part in any business owner's arsenal.


This allows the ability to thrive through difficult periods without worry about running low or being short due to improper forecasting. 


Last Word

The prospect of empty shelves can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The best way is through preparation; having an incident response plan in place that outlines specific steps for dealing with these types of crises. You should also have a plan B when it comes to any items which may be at risk during periods of high demand, and count on technology for demand planning so your business can avoid guesswork. 


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