Unexpected supply-chain tie-ups, price increases, delivery delays and product shortages recently plagued many businesses. If they are not bad enough, handling the situation poorly can also result in contract breaches, customer/supplier losses, damages and lawsuits.
To minimize these unfortunate results, we recommend that you try to get ahead of the situation and offer these tips:
- Communicate with your customers/suppliers to let them know you have some supply/cost issues and may not be able to meet your deadlines/pricing.
- Be proactive and encourage customers to order early, suppliers to confirm inventories and deliveries, and to lock in current prices when possible.
- Buy when available and stock up more than normal.
- Tell customers when you will have and what you will have in deliverable inventory.
- Consider purchasing from non-customary sources and reduce sole supplier reliance.
- If you cannot get a certain product, offer comparable alternatives you can get.
- Consider sending out some of the work that you normally produce in house.
- Look to establish some back-up suppliers and production sub-contractors.
- Be diligent about keeping up on ordering supplies.
- Consider a worst-case scenario rationing plan.
- For disappointed or turned away customers, offer a voucher, discount or coupon for future work.
- Review your contract documents to understand your obligations and those owed to you.
- Explain unexpected or unusual price increases in advance of shipping or billing.
- Understand that your customers/suppliers are experiencing similar issues.
Should the problems end up in litigation or threatened ligation, please contact one of our experienced business lawyers to assess your situation and guide you toward the best outcome.