Unforeseen circumstances, the likes of which we’ve experienced this year as no other, can cripple every type of business. When a community reacts to a health concern with little understanding of how to contain it or prevent it, life comes to a halt out of fear. To earn a living and provide jobs for its employees, each business must strategize for disruptions of this nature. For many businesses, expanding online ordering channels brought in much needed income. But, if you can’t meet demand, bringing in the orders just won’t suffice.
For small businesses to grow, they can’t be held back when they need to add technological advances allow them to be competitive. If performing manual inventory counts, they should be moving towards scanning skus, barcodes, RFID, etc. and send that information directly to software that manages inventory. Scanning eliminates human error, leading to more accurate inventory counts. Keeping real-time data by updating inventory throughout the businesses as the raw material is altered will add on costs, labor, overhead and assets to convey the real cost per product to your finance department.
Growth and quick adaptation require software that streamlines processes and is easy to use and learn for everyone in the business. Not every problem can be solved with software, but it can shore up some of the disruptions and communication issues most businesses faced.
Manufacturers face various types of disruptions all the time. A machine breaks down and causes bottlenecks, an employee calls in sick, bad weather holds up a shipment. Businesses be proactive to minimize the effect by carrying safety stock to fill orders while waiting for more supply to arrive.
But a health crisis like the one we’ve recently faced tests every area of the business by pushing it to extremes.
During Covid-19 lockdowns and mandates, businesses endured:
- Staff shortages – Production was slowed by absences due to Covid diagnosis or exposure. To meet social distancing requirements imposed by states, employees alternated workdays on the floor. When possible, employees worked remotely from their homes.
- Increased regulations – Whether imposed by the local government or higher up in the business, the placement of plexiglass, marked areas for walking, etc. added operating costs and made working with other people more difficult.
- Raw Material Shortages – Receiving goods, especially from overseas, was disrupted for long periods of time.
- Supply Chain Disruption – Some businesses were forced to find alternative suppliers that were not based in China. Finding a supplier and developing a relationship takes time – time no one had to adapt.
- Unpredictable Demand – Businesses were forced to place items on backorder for months and the main shipping carriers stopped guaranteeing delivery times. Meeting increased demand was not possible for some companies. Other companies started manufacturing disinfectant and PPP products to survive.
- Communication Disruption – Managers and employees could not hold in-office meetings. Instead, businesses had to use conferencing tools and set up VPNs to allow employees access to business work files.
Using software that integrates all departments of the business, an ERP solution, keeps everyone up to date on the movement of raw materials, finished products, costs, labor, workflows, and work in progress from any access point, in-office or remotely located. With cyber-attacks on the rise, security is essential to prevent all types of malware infections that can cost the business time and money. Putting a secure system in play can make everyone’s life easier and help mitigate future disruptions that are certain to come.