Devan Moonsamy 

As we approach a busier period of the year, we can anticipate a few snags in our supply chain. Whether it is from a supplier that always seems to be short staff over the holidays or the 4th wave having most people under the weather, unpredicted disruptions can jeopardise your business. 

It can be very difficult to save face when someone along the supply chain drops the ball. Besides angry customers and not meeting expectations we will risk losing business. Entrepreneurs are aware of the challenges that are tied with being efficient and reliable in the market. All it takes is one instance of lack of service delivery and you can forget about the growth of your business by word of mouth. 

Infact, the generation of influencers and enthusiastic keyboard reviewers have played a big role in unmasking businesses that drop the ball. But what about those that rely on other suppliers and are usually the ones that have to take the blame for the disruption in the supply chain? 

This is how you can prevent your business from being in jeopardy due to disruptions in the supply chain. 

– Start by ensuring the suppliers you select are within your vicinity. Ofcourse not all suppliers will be up the road but for most of the suppliers you deal with, try to ensure they are within the same city or within limited travel distance. This eradicates any possible issues of road blocks etc. The most important thing to remember is that most of the suppliers rely on their drivers to send out goods and if there are delays on the road due to road blocks or protest action it can’t be helped. But if they are around the vicinity that your office is based at then there is a less likely risk of experiencing major delays. But this might not always be the case. In this instance where a supplier is a distance away, indicate to your customer how many days it might to get the item. This allows them to plan adequately and make room for the possibility of any delays. 

– Try to be more open with your suppliers. Engage in conversation and remain in contact with the contact people to ensure you can keep track of your goods. Remember the more people you speak to at a business the better your chance of keeping track of your delivery. Be familiar with the person delivering your order. Paving the way with good communication skills can help when the driver runs into trouble. This relationship will help you because the driver would feel they are able to call you directly about any delays. 

– If you find that during the build up to Christmas shopping you are experiencing an influx in foot traffic at your store but your items on hand can’t meet the demand then it’s time to maximise online buying. Host online exclusive deals to assist you in meeting the customer’s needs. 

-Perhaps your supplier is based in a different province and that online exclusive deal can be available for people in that province as a delivery. For the others wanting to benefit from the deal as well, you could inform them of an expected time of arrival at your store and make the product available to them subject to delivery. This might work for smaller businesses. It can be adopted by bigger companies and managed correctly provided there is clear communication on availability. 

–  It is important to be honest with the customer. If they are waiting for their order to be processed perhaps keeping them up to date on the status of your delivery can help them plan better. When there are issues beyond your control in the supply chain it is important to be clear and upfront. There is no point blaming your supplier when you haven’t told the customer when the goods might be arriving. This is why it is important to set realistic campaigns for December because supply chain delays are a reality and it can hinder your flow of service.

Devan Moonsamy is the CEO of ICHAF Training Institute, a South African TVET College. He is the author of Racism, Classism, Sexism, And The Other ISMs That Divide Us, AND My Leadership Legacy Journal available from the ICHAF Training Institute. 

The ICHAF Training Institute offers SETA-approved training in business skills, computer use, and soft skills. Devan specialises in conflict and diversity management, and regularly conducts seminars on these issues for corporates. To book a seminar with Devan or for other training courses, please use the contact details below.

Tel: 011 262 2461 | 083 303 9159 |

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