Ever since Covid-19 spread across the globe in early 2020, lock downs and travel restrictions have been enacted by many countries to deal with the situation. This has severely impacted the supply chain operation from sourcing, auditing, QA, delivery, to consumers buying products on the tail end. Retail sales have dropped tremendously due to closed stores and contracted economy. Retailers faced with backlogged products and difficulty in sustaining businesses have no choice but to cancel, decrease orders from and even delay payments to their suppliers. In the process, the retailer supplier relationship is strained. From an operational point of view, many regular processes such as auditing, and QA became difficult which made collaboration uneasy for both parties.
From the supplier’s side, it seemed like there is nothing they can do except wait for payments, wait for retails to pick up so they can go back into production. But there are many ways a supplier can be proactive in the Covid-19 situation by helping out with things like auditing, maintaining close contact with their retailers, and actively seeking out opportunities on other platforms.
Facilitate Virtual Audit
On-site audit is almost impossible with travel restrictions in place. But without verification retailers also have trust issues working with their suppliers not knowing the risk especially with current economic instability. Many retailers have turned to virtual audit as the alternative solution by using video meetings and AI tools to analyze data to get what they can without physical assessment.
As a supplier, it is important to help make this process as easy as possible because it also helps you as a supplier to be prioritized by retailers for business if you remain verified. It may be a better information sharing channel between you and the retailer or simply provide what the retailers need to finish the auditing process. By cooperating, it will inevitably put your relationship with the retailer on a better term.
Strained Relationship with Retailers
With lock downs and travel restrictions in many countries, retail sales have suffered greatly. There are backlog products stuck in the warehouse, and retailers have stopped or paused many of the orders with their current suppliers as well as delayed payments. This has caused many suppliers to go down as well due to the amount of canceled, decreased orders and no payments to sustain their operations.
This has directly impacted the trust between suppliers and retailers, not only in the short term but will also affect the relationship semi-permanently. With the understanding that Covid-19 is inevitable, and everyone is doing their best to stay afloat, think on the positive side and try to salvage the relationship in the best way possible. Be proactive and reach out to your retailers regularly to understand where they are at and what you can do to help them or alleviate some of their problems. Doing this will put you atop of other suppliers and leave a good impression and review from the other end. It will give you a head start and priority once business resume.
In the meantime, do not just sit around and wait for your existing retailers to get business. Seek out other platforms to offload your backlogged products and sell to new retailers who are willing to buy. This way you can effectively manage your current relationships without sacrificing your own business.
TradeBeyond : Ultimately Sourcing App for Retailers and Suppliers
Look to Trade Beyond as an opportunity to sell your products and gain new partnerships with new retailers! We are a global community of retailers and suppliers coming together to streamline assortment planning, sourcing, and buying processes. With a simple app downloadable available in multiple platforms, you can demo and showcase your products online to one of the largest retailers in the world. Learn more to see how you can leverage our solution to bring you better business! www.tradebeyond.com