​​4 Supply Chain Hacks for start-up businesses

As you start to start up and grow your business, you will deal with a few challenges as things go on and you start to bring your business to fruition. However, one of the biggest challenges is often your supply chain. Whether you have a crowd of customers buying from you on day one, or you need to build your audience for a while before you start, you will run into supply chain problems.

From things not getting to your warehouses in time, to managing your inventory itself, to dealing with critical surpluses and shortages of supplies, you will find that your supply chain will be the weakest link in your business before long. However, you can take advantage of some of these supply chain hacks to strengthen that chain and reduce your stress!

  1. Keep An Eye On Your Inventory

You should have VMI systems (Vendor Managed Inventory systems) set up for your business as soon as possible, but you should also keep track of the items that will be filling your inventory. It doesn’t matter what your start up business is selling, it will be impacted by trends and some products being more popular than others, and you need to get on top of the outside factors affecting your inventory.

For example, if a popular product becomes available, make sure to buy as much of it as you can afford at the beginning because supply chains are going to be stretched once everyone else sees how popular the item is!

If items you need are on sale or are otherwise discounted, then you can also focus on stocking up on them as well. Basically keep your eyes out on what is going to be filling your inventory and then start to respond accordingly.

  1. Be Flexible and Look For Alternatives

Especially when starting out, your business might find one supplier and then hang on to them through thick and thin. However, in order to make sure that you are able to weather supply chain problems, you need to anticipate these problems and start looking for other suppliers. Even if your main supplier has never let you down, you should still make sure to have backups in place.

Then if your main supplier becomes too expensive or can’t deliver their supplies on time, then you can reach out to your alternative suppliers and get what your business needs.

  1. Talk To Your Customers And Be Honest

This seems like it shouldn’t be a hack, and yet here we are! If your business is experiencing supply chain issues, be transparent with your customers! Explain on your website and chat with your customers about the problems you are facing with supplies, and also let your customers know if certain items are going to be hard to come by before they place their order.

Supply chain issues can cause a lot of problems for your company, so it is better to get out ahead of them and communicate them effectively before they become a big problem.

  1. Create A Purchase Plan

Chances are you know what stock you need to buy and when you need to buy it, but you don’t have a fully written out plan. Having a plan that you can refer everyone to, or even better yet a plan that you can automate, can help you make sure that you are swimming in stock. A purchase plan can help you make sure you aren’t sold out of stock when the customer demand is the highest, and it will also allow you to track when you will receive your shipments from your suppliers too.

Once you prepare your plan, make sure you have a system in place to automate it. A small business might be able to manage checking its inventory every week to make sure everything is working right, but as you start to grow into a larger business with more responsibilities, you should focus on automation.

Keep Your Supply Lines Open!

Problems with your supply chains can be the life or death of a small business, so make sure to use these four hacks and maybe a few more just to make sure that your supply lines won’t cause a lot of problems! 

Thankfully, once you get your supply lines where they need to go and get them automated, they will become the lifeblood of your business. Then you can worry about other things and prepare your start up business for greatness as you keep growing!