The life of the B2B supplier is built on a fragile ecosystem. Small disruptions upriver in the supply chain can have disastrous effects downstream. There is always some new logistical hurdle to contend with, and that will never change. Problem-solving is the nature of the industry. Unfortunately, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has done nothing to allay those fears. According to B2B International, 56% of all businesses are worried about the current supply chain challenges they are facing. As the size of the company increases, so do fears about the Coronavirus and its real-world impact, affecting mid-sized companies of 1,000 to 2,500 employees the most.
The famous philosopher and military strategist Sun Tzu once said, “If you know your enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” In the spirit of confronting fear —and eradicating it— we’re going to look at 5 of the top fears that B2B suppliers have in 2020, and ways that Symbia Logistics can help calm those fears.
1. Supply Shortages Will Persist
It should come as no surprise, but conditions worldwide have led to international supply shortages. We first saw it at the outset of the pandemic when big-box retailers ran out of everyday items like toilet paper, paper towels, and hand sanitizer. International supply chains are a complex and fragile thing. Any number of factors up the pipeline can lead to disruptions.
Workers could get sick
Manufacturing plants could shut down due to quarantines and restrictions
A natural disaster could impact raw materials
Fluctuations in market demand could affect procurement
The list goes on and on. Unfortunately, B2B suppliers are in no way immune to these kinds of supply shortages. If anything, they feel the impact more acutely due to the number of products they trade-in. There’s no getting around the fact that the last six months have been a rough road; fear that these supply shortages will last has undoubtedly crossed the mind of every supplier.
While while logistics providers can’t guarantee that future disasters won’t happen down the road, they can help future-proof against calamity. Industrial storage services provide B2B suppliers with a vertical solution that bolsters your entire supply chain through warehousing and 3PL. Strategically stock and space out the materials you’ll need to keep your principal goods flowing through adversity.
2. Travel Restrictions Will Continue to Disrupt Deliveries
Just as COVID-19 has created global supply shortages, it has also caused shipping disruptions on both the micro and macro scale. International travel restrictions are preventing necessary goods from being shipped overseas. Once they do reach their destination, local travel restrictions have the potential to hold up shipments as well.
B2B suppliers fear that rolling travel restrictions, especially those on the international scale, will become a regular occurrence, especially once the cold, winter months hit. That means that B2B suppliers will not receive the raw materials and products necessary to fill the scope of their orders. If this persists into the holiday season, it could be disastrous.
Untangle your twisted supply chain and ease shipping woes with well planned order fulfillment services. Logistical expertise can help you satisfy critical orders even when the task at hand seems impossible.
3. There is an Increased Demand for Shortened Lead Times
Not every fear directly revolves around COVID-19. With an increase in e-commerce and online ordering driven by the Amazon/ Walmart fulfillment model, customers have gotten used to impossibly-short lead times on their orders. Big box retailers routinely offer two-day shipping, and sometimes less, and the B2B channel has gotten used to it as well.
With no-contact sales and internet ordering dominating the B2B sales channel, customers have come to rely on the ease of clicking through their order and receiving their shipment post-haste. Given the current logistical issues plaguing B2B suppliers, tight lead times can be next to impossible.
Warehousing and fulfillment services can help your company shorten lead times and streamline its supply chain by using techniques like order kitting and shared warehouse space.
4. You Will Fail to Adapt to Emerging Tech
E-commerce is the driving market force right now. Retail and B2B customers alike respond to the immediate feedback of online service. But technology moves quickly. New sales channels emerge continuously, new marketing opportunities present themselves suddenly, and new productivity platforms emerge on a monthly basis.
Unfortunately, too many B2B suppliers get lost in the turn-and-burn nature of the business, focusing on the purely logistical aspect without updating their methodology. The industry, however, is getting younger and more technologically attuned. For B2B suppliers that have been in the game awhile, there is an aspect of FOMO —Fear of Missing Out.
The right 3PL partner will give you access to a state-of-the-art logistics and fulfillment platform. Putting your operations in the hands of a trusted 3PL ensures that you are on the bleeding edge of industry tech.
5. Increased Opportunity for Supply Chain Fraud
So many points in the B2B supply chain have been adversely affected during all this upheaval leaving major vulnerabilities at multiple points in your operations. That leaves you at an increased risk for fraud. By virtue of their complexity, the volume of transfer, and global nature, supply chains are highly susceptible to bad actors. They say a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, after all.
Fraud can come from any number of sources along the pipeline. Perhaps someone takes advantage of disruption upstream and offers a fallacious outsourcing solution. Perhaps it is as simple as corruption. Either way, B2B suppliers face heightened, multi-level uncertainty this year.
Be certain that your 3PL provider addresses the breadth of your operation and integrates seamlessly with your existing control platforms. This will allow you to closely monitor inventory for any signs of disruption or fraudulent activity.
Reinforcing B2B Suppliers
Managing the complexity inherent to your supply chain is always a challenge. 2020 has done nothing but add layers of uncertainty to the process. It is easy to let persistent fears affect your day-to-day operations. Symbia Logistics provides a safeguard against uncertainty. For more information, please request a consultation with one of our experts today!