One of the many ways the Covid-19 pandemic has affected small businesses includes delays in obtaining needed inventory from supply chain disruptions. When primary components from ink and paper to technology and adhesive are out of reach, how is the little guy surviving? Today, let’s take a look at some of the ways the printing industry is striving to combat these issues.
Honesty and Transparency
One of the preeminent ways to best the inconsistency with suppliers and logistics will always be blatant honesty. Letting customers know ahead of time that there could be delays in their orders can help prepare them for a potentially unideal turnaround time. Loyal customers are likely to appreciate and remember this sincerity when making another purchase decision. This practice can also be beneficial when communicating needs with suppliers, and businesses should expect the same transparency in return. This can help with predicting issues in time to plan ahead and problem solve.
Right now supplies like paper, adhesives, and ink are in short supply for everyone. The majority of businesses utilize them daily, regardless of trade, and the price for them is mounting steadily. Unfortunately, one of the more obvious ways to combat supply shortages is raising rates to account for the climbing overhead costs. Also, ordering in bulk ahead of time will cost more in the short term, but can help avoid insurmountable backorders. These are some of the less attractive, but potentially necessary options to keep a profit margin.
What some retailers are doing is keeping a shortlist of alternative supplier and merchandiser options. Both customers and business owners may have to get comfortable with utilizing brands or supplies that deviate from their traditional or preferred choices. As with many situations amidst the pandemic, this requires some new patience and flexibility from customers and businesses alike. \
Employees who are very familiar with inventory management and supply chain logistics are far less likely to be blindsided by backorders. Automation technology that can help aggregate and interpret industry data will bring a needed software skill to the table that employees can be trained on as well. Businesses can incorporate these skillsets into their training procedures and onboarding processes to help prepare both new and veteran employees.
The ramifications of 2020 have created ripple effects that will last well into the future. The printing industry has been resilient for the most part, but there is no denying that the necessities of this business (paper, ink, and adhesives) have truly become few and far between. And this is just the beginning. Logistics will continue to bottleneck, causing frustrating delays for all industries, but businesses are doing their best to pivot and keep the doors open.