As we look into 2021 and beyond, things will continue to change and we need to embrace the disruption. We’ve seen major changes in our industry the last few years and COVID has only accelerated them. One of the largest challenges that our industry has faced this year with the supply chain. To date, supply chains have been disrupted for nearly 75% of U.S companies, and our industry will continue to be impacted through 2021.
Beyond the issues caused by the pandemic, the shipping/trucking industry is going through major changes with limited travel schedules, a giant workforce shortage, and higher demand. Continued supply chain disruptions are imminent, especially when a Covid vaccine hits the market or if we have any major snow events this season.
Now is the time to plan for delays due to transportation and supply chain, as well as higher manufacturers’ prices due to the reduced availability of transport and the higher costs associated with it. When putting together your 2021 business plan, consider these 4 tips to help you overcome manufacturers’ supply chain challenges and price increases:
1. Understand Where the Shortages Are
Earlier this year, we were all surprised when there was a toilet paper shortage nation-wide. In our industry, manufacturers have had challenges across all categories. Our team has worked diligently to make sure that we are ordering a surplus of these items well ahead of time. This helps to ensure that we have what you need, when you need it. Additionally, because we have 50 branches throughout 16 states and two countries, we’re able to transfer products between our locations if your local branch does not have what you need available.
For large-scale projects or items that have a longer lead time, rely on our team at Central to learn what products need additional lead time. This will help to ensure you do not have any delays.
2. Prepare Ahead of Time
Planning is always an important to make sure your day-to-day runs smoothly. There are a lot of moving parts to the puzzle: when to order product, where each member of your team will be and on what day, and how much cash you have on hand for necessary purchases. Add in the component of manufacturer shortages and some of the other challenges we’ve had this year, and it can make everything you do more difficult and time consuming. With that in mind, planning and preparation is vital to ensure your daily operations and jobs run smoothly.
Preparation and planning doesn’t have to be something you tackle by yourself! Now is the time to work with your partners, like Central, to review upcoming jobs and projects, your last year’s purchases, what products may take longer to come in, and what programs are available for strategic purchases.
Take some time and schedule a planning meeting with your Central rep to discuss your needs and challenges—together, we can create a plan and solution that works for you.
3. Work with a Dedicated Partner
A dedicated partner that understands your challenges and is proactive with solutions. The Central team has been diligently working with our manufacturing partners to stay at the forefront of any supply-chain. This open communication and proactive planning has allowed us to bypass many of the challenges that other distributors have had with in-stock inventory. Working with a dedicated and trusted partner can make all the difference to get through particularly difficult seasons.
4. Take advantage of an Early Order Program
Planning your purchases can help you save money on your bottom line but more importantly, with supply chain challenges, you can guarantee you have the product you need, when you need it. See how an Early Order Program can help you get a step ahead of your competitors and grow your business:
- An early order program will help you beat the manufacturer’s price increases. Get ahead of the increases and lock in your material costs now, before the prices go up. Better yet, connect with your local Central rep to learn how you can take advantage of additional cash discounts, double reward points, and extended terms.
- Increase Cash Flow: Get Product Now, Pay Later. Cash flow is often a concern for business owners. Strategic purchasing can help ease your cash-flow worries. When you utilize an Early Order Program, you get the products you need to finish your job now and stock up that you will need—and pay for it later in the season when cash is flowing better for your business.
- Easy Inventory Management. Whether your installing a new irrigation system, adding landscape lighting to a job, or getting ready for spring—you need product. When you don’t have the materials you need to do the job, work can be delayed, or worse yet—stopped. Nothing is worse than having to wait for materials to finish a job. Central can help you forecast your inventory levels based on your historical purchases, so that you have the right quantity of the products you need.
- More Rewards = More Awesome. Central offers the most flexible and rewarding loyalty program for the professional contractor. Earn points with all of your purchases of irrigation, lighting, turf and equipment products which can be redeemed toward your choice of rewards.
Your participation in the Central Rewards Program also gives you access to educational, employee recruiting and marketing resources tailored to drive your success. You are automatically enrolled in the program. When you commit to Central with an Early Order Program, you can even double your rewards! Ask your Central Rep to learn more.
Rely on Central to help, whether it’s questions about inventory management, strategic purchasing, marketing strategy, or business planning. We stay at the leading edge of the industry and we’re ready to help you grow!