Supply chain disruption can have major consequences for SMEs , particularly after the challenging events of the last two years . Zak Rafiq , Industry Principal , Oracle NetSuite , offers his insight into how businesses can become more resilient in the face of continued supply chain disruption and shortages .
HILE THE UK is emerging
W from the restrictions of the pandemic , the prospect of reduced stock and increasing prices continues , driven in part by inflation , supply chain disruption and consumer demand . These are unwanted challenges for SMEs – particularly the many who faced closure or restricted trading for large parts of the last two years .
According to YouGov , UK consumers experienced supply problems far more than their European counterparts , including lack of products in stores ( 56 %), fuel shortages ( 33 %) and shipping delays for purchases ( 28 %).
Yet the latest Barclays SME Barometer reports that almost half ( 48 %) of UK SME leaders are optimistic and SME sales are up 42.3 % for the last three months of 2021 , compared to the same period in 2020 .
Getting to grips with financials , balancing inventory to anticipate demand and being adaptable to change , is of paramount importance . Now , more than ever , SMEs need to address how to control and optimise their operational approach . Here ’ s how :
Abandon the ‘ Just-in-Time ’ approach There is merit to the Just-in-Time ( JIT ) approach in minimising overheads on unnecessary storage and transportation , as well as waste . But JIT was not intended for a volatile supply environment and can be incredibly difficult to manage when there are unpredictable shortages or shipping delays .