BBB Offers Tips For Dealing With Supply Chain Challenges

RALEIGH – Grocery aisles have empty sections, and shoppers can never predict what’s going to be unavailable. New car dealerships struggle to fill their empty lots. People building homes report long waits for critical materials like windows and doors. Almost every industry has shortages and delays that all boil down to supply chain issues.

Consumers and business owners are frustrated and confused. COVID-19 infection rates are declining, and restrictions have eased in most parts of America. Shouldn’t things be getting better by now?

BBB provides the following information on why supply chain disruption is still ongoing and tips on how businesses and consumers can combat it.

How long will supply chain issues last?

Some economists say things will ease up, while others expect problems to continue. There still aren’t enough workers to unload goods piled up at ports or enough truckers to distribute products across the United States. While COVID-19 restrictions have recently eased, it will take a while to sort out a complicated situation that was almost two years in the making.

Best practices for businesses

Costs are up, employees are hard to find and there’s no end in sight. What can you do to keep your business running and your customers happy?

  • Plan for more disruption – Nobody seems to have a working crystal ball right now, but you can count on more bottlenecks and shortages in the near future. Have more than one plan for addressing the next round of manufacturing and supplier delays.
  • Streamline what you offer – If you’re a restaurant, pare down your menu to include items that are easier to find. If you’re a retailer, order more from the manufacturers that have been coming through for you all along.
  • Create realistic expectations – Don’t overpromise. Communicate with the public what you offer and how much is available.
  • Offer incentives – If you run out of an item for which there’s high demand, consider offering a coupon or incentive that brings people back once you stock up again.
  • Invest in technology – Automate everything you can to free up overworked staff members for other things.
  • Improve your local network – If you can find business resources close to home, you skip import complications.

Consumers know there are problems, and while it’s normal to wish we could go back to the old normal, most people are understanding. Good communication goes a long way in times of crisis.

Supply chain disruption tips for consumers

What can you do when your car breaks down and the local mechanic can’t get the part you need for at least six weeks? How can you respond when it’s your child’s birthday and the gift he or she has been begging for is nowhere to be found? What do you do when half the items on your grocery list are out of stock? Here are a few ideas.

  • Shop around – Sometimes grocery chains and big box stores have empty shelves, but local mom and pop stores have found a way to procure merchandise.
  • Conserve – Cut back on what you use, so you don’t have to stock up as often.
  • Maintain – Appliances and automobiles are getting more expensive, and they can be hard to find. Invest in maintaining what you have so hopefully you won’t need to buy a replacement until today’s supply chain issues are in your rearview mirror.
  • Try new things – If you can’t find what’s on your list, infuse your search with a sense of adventure. You’ll discover flavors, brands and methods you might have otherwise missed.
  • Express gratitude – Thank the person stocking grocery shelves for his or her hard work. Buy that trucker at the gas station a cup of coffee. Show appreciation when you get seated at a restaurant, even if you had to wait longer than usual.

About BBB serving Eastern North Carolina

Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit corporation serving 33 counties in eastern North Carolina. The organization is funded primarily by BBB Accredited Business fees from over 4,200 local businesses and professional firms. BBB promotes integrity, consumer confidence and business ethics through business self-regulation in the local marketplace.

Services provided by BBB include reports on companies and charitable organizations, general monitoring of advertising in the marketplace, consumer/business education programs and dispute resolution services. All services are provided at no cost to the public, with the occasional exception of mediation and arbitration. Visit BBB.org.

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