5 Ways to Get Ahead of Inventory Shortage
As the Chief Strategy and Development Officer of a rapidly growing recession-resilient brand like Batteries Plus, I have witnessed firsthand how being proactive can pay off in the world of business. Now that we are in the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are beginning to resume normal activities, sparking an increase in product demand throughout several industries. As many businesses struggle to keep their shelves stocked, we at Batteries Plus still have warehouses of products to last us the remainder of 2021.
So how did we do it, and can other franchisors offer the same support to their franchisees when it comes to inventory management? Let’s take a look.
- Right now, the winners are those with the inventor
When a customer visits one of your trusted brand’s locations, they expect to walk out with the product they came there for. The last thing anyone wants to tell a customer is, “Sorry, that’s out of stock, and it could take weeks or even months until it will be available.” The reality is that this is a real problem for many entrepreneurs, not due to any fault of their own, but because market fluctuations have made it a lot more difficult to manage supply chains and inventory. That is why a sophisticated and proactive approach is so substantial. With Batteries Plus being an essential business, we had the benefit of keeping a stable
balance sheet that has allowed us to order our products months in advance so that our stores will never have to open with half empty shelves.
2. Designate supply-related tasks
If a franchise does not have teams in place to address supply chain-specific issues, they will fall behind. We have a sophisticated, mature supply chain and a product management teams that work together to ensure our inventory stays on track. Our forward-thinking strategy not only consists of the sales forecasting necessary to prepare our future inventory, but having the financial strength to order when it’s most advantageous. This way, our franchisees don’t have to worry about trying to stay ahead of orders and can focus more on building connections with, and providing excellent service to, our valued customers.
3. Build rapport and utilize connections
Throughout the past 30 years, we have worked to build strong connections with our suppliers. Doing so is a large part of what has allowed us to stay ahead of inventory obstacles. Even if you have not been in business for decades, it is critical that you make these vital efforts to stay in touch with your vendors. We meet with our domestic vendors weekly and work with agencies overseas. A simple phone call to check in with your suppliers and receive updates goes a long way. Our team is often months ahead of the CNBC headlines because of these tight relationships.
4. Emphasize your support system
As a franchisor, you must understand that your franchisees and their success should be at the forefront of everything you do. When they sign on with a franchisor, they expect to be supported in all facets of their business. Make it a point to go above and beyond. Building relationships and trust with franchisees and making yourselves available for questions and concerns is what will ultimately prepare you for any hurdles that come your way, whether it be an inventory obstacle or any other type of challenge that comes along with running a business.
5 Prepare for marketing fluctuations
Every day, events occur that affect the demand of certain products. Just look at the recent gas shortage on the east coast. You never know what can happen, so if your company’s foundation, balance sheet,
and connections allow you to do so, take advantage of getting ahead wherever and however you can. It is better to be overly prepared than unprepared.
Jon Sica, Chief Strategy and Development Officer of Batteries Plus, manages all franchising, development and strategic operations for the brand and is directly responsible for identifying and cultivating the strategies that will keep Batteries Plus a thriving national brand that’s continually poised for
growth. Jon joined Batteries Plus in April 2019, and in May of this year was named to Retail Touchpoints 40 Under 40 list. Prior to this, Jon served as Group Director of Business Operations at Whataburger where he was responsible for segment planning and production, acquisition integration, enhancing
franchisee communication, and implementing improvements to segment operations.