Nearly 75% of U.S. businesses have experienced supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Two years later, screen and printing shops are turning customers away because of shortage of raw materials.
How can your business endure hard times and keep your customers happy when materials aren’t readily available? The following tips will help your shop prepare for supply chain shortages.
3 Tips For Managing A Supply Shortage
- Work With What You Already Have
- Create a Supply Chain Backup Plan
- Manage Customer Expectations
Work With What You Already Have
Keep a close eye on what’s already in your inventory.
You may have to get creative and find ways to leverage what you already have. Keep track of raw materials that are in high demand. Those materials will probably be the basis for determining what materials are likely to be in short supply.
Then you can outline a plan which materials you will want to closely monitor.
For example, you may notice certain inks are in short supply. Since you may have to stretch those inks out and have them last longer, there’s an opportunity to learn how to use efficient color mixing. Buying a mixing system and creating your own colors is a creative solution to save you money and time, allowing your shop to pivot fast when you’re in crunch.
Another solution is to collaborate with your clients. Being proactive with your customer’s projects not only provides great customer service, but it also allows you to manage your supplies.
For example, if a customer wants a certain color but you’re short on ink, talk to you client about offering an alternative color you already have in stock. Have fun with the project by creating a digital mockup and show your customer what it looks like before printing. Your customer may be surprised at what their product looks like in a different shade or playing with a different color.
Your customers may be impressed with your creative recommendations.
Create a Supply Chain Backup Plan
If there’s a lesson from 2020, it pays to be prepared for worst case scenarios.
You never know when a future uncertainty may threaten the supply availability for your business. Having a plan allows you to stay nimble and act at a moment’s notice.
One strategy is to create a supply chain backup plan. When you have a plan for your business, you can be better prepared for sudden shocks from distributors, suppliers, and shipping couriers. A few tips for creating your backup plan includes:
- Add extra time to account for delayed lead times
- Ask suppliers if they can deliver on key dates
- Stay ahead of demand in real time
- Test out samples from alternative vendors to test quality in advance, then contact vendors when you have emergencies
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Manage Customer Expectations
Sometimes the best thing you can do is simple: Be honest and transparent with your customers.
To avoid issues with your customers, be upfront with them about new forecasts and realistic turnarounds. Tell them the facts and explain your situation. They may understand.
Remember, you are also in the same situation as 75% of U.S. businesses who are facing the same unprecedented volatility in supplies.
Used Screen Printing Equipment
As equipment continues to be scarce, Beacon Funding can help. When your shop needs equipment but not having luck finding it fast enough, try opting for used equipment. We’ll help you find the right machine for you.
Beacon Funding communicates with 1,500 businesses a day, allowing us to find out when a potential screen printing machine is available.
Get used equipment when you need it by applying with Beacon Funding.