While the rollout of the coronavirus vaccines has helped improve the economy this past year, multiple supply chains have become an issue around the world. And as we head into the holiday season, many of us have experienced the difficulties of finding in-demand items. But it’s an even bigger issue for small businesses trying to get back up on their feet from the pandemic. The growing supply chain issue can be a bit of a roadblock.
In this article, we will learn more about the impact of the supply chain issues, talk about why they are happening, and what your small business can do to get by. Let’s get started!
Supply Chain Timeline
To really understand where these supply chain issues come from, we first need to understand the timeline. It started with the pandemic. Like we all witnessed in one way or another, when the pandemic started to circle the globe in early 2021, it literally shut down the global supply chain while manufacturers suspended work until they could put safety protocols in place. For some industries it happened rather quickly and things got going again. But for others, layoffs or other cutbacks had to be made, and it tremendously impacted the output. And it’s hard to pinpoint any specific cause or industry. Literally every industry and company across the globe is someone impacted by COVID-19 spread and how to reach their customers as a result.
And even though most have figured out workarounds and put safety measures in place as many places attempted a sense of normalcy as vaccines rolled out into 2021, we’re still seeing shockwaves of the decrease in production. Throughout 2021, global supply chains and shipments slowed as a result of a product shortage, a worker shortage, and lack of resources to take on the goods.
Throughout the year, we’ve seen new challenges including new variants like delta and now omicron which have only increased the supply chain demands. Some countries have more stringent restrictions which cause ripple effects around the world. We’re also seeing the effects of what many call the Great Resignation and a shortage of workers. All of these factors combined have made it difficult for many small businesses to know what products they can even offer this holiday season.
Main Concerns for SMB
Whether you’re a large or small business, all businesses have been impacted by these issues. There are many concerns you probably know or are aware of. The first one being the difficulty of having products available to fill shelves. Small businesses have fewer resources to absorb or push back on price increases. While also having less leverage to pass along the higher costs to customers. A customer might expect a certain product from their favorite local business every year. Only to find out that it’s not available this year. Many small businesses are at the mercy of the shipping companies. Once a container ship is unloaded, they could receive a new product in a matter of days. But it also could take months. The problem with much of the supply chain issues is the sheer unpredictability of when products will become available.
Additionally, some retailers are facing increased shipping costs and surcharges. This forces them to consider raising prices to pay for the fees.
Ways for Your Small Businesses to Improve
While the impact of supply chains may put a damper on your small business, there are other ways to turn a negative into a positive. For example, because so many businesses are in your same position, Congress may be in the works to help them out. The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 is being run through Congress to help provide assistance in addressing some of the supply chain issues. And also the port disruption issues that have been caused by the pandemic. If passed, it will hopefully ease some of these issues that have been going on.
Another way to help your small businesses succeed is by preparing it for future shopping events. Letting your customers shop early, especially in a safe manner, can help your business know what to prepare for. Looking at high shopping times from previous years can help you prepare for what products you might need for certain times of the year. This helps ensure your customers will get their desired products on their holiday lists on time.
If you’re looking for some additional help that you might not be able to give, look for companies that can help with same day shipping. There are countless companies such as Ohi that help small businesses with same day shipping in their areas. Other delivery companies such as Roadie or GoShare can be beneficial to your small business. Especially with the impacts of the supply chain, having same day shipping will be extremely helpful and desirable to your small business.
When looking for a delivery service to help improve the way you get your products to your customers, be sure to look for these factors:
- Professionalism: Make sure they take care of your products and deliver them safely to your customers.
- Flexibility: Be sure your delivery service does what they promise. If they aren’t flexible with your needs and desires, be sure to find one that does.
- Budget-friendly: Don’t overspend on a delivery service that’s out of your budget. Find what’s best for your small business and set up a payment plan that works best for you.
- Best Align with Your Business Goals and Values: With any company you decide to partner with, be sure to find one that functions well with your business. Having different goals and values can end up having conflicts down the road.
The last thing you need to do this holiday season is to just be flexible and honest with your customers. If you don’t have a product, tell them why. Don’t promise something with all this uncertainty. Most will understand the supply chain shortages. And it might mean some flexibility to your holiday season as well. Offering new products or a bigger discount on other items. It’s all about keeping your customers taken care of.
And if you need help with your business online, contact us here at Manta! We can get you listed on directories across the web and help customers find you where they’re searching. Also, we can help improve your website with SEO to bring in customers searching for you in your location! Contact us today!