Even though many businesses have reopened, delays and uncertainty continue. Convenience store owners have lost the predictable flow of goods and services from their supply chain partners. A whopping 86% of U.S. retailers report that at least 10% of their orders were disrupted, according to two NACS surveys of U.S.-based convenience retailers and their supplier partners.
C-Store suppliers are not fully to blame. The delays are caused further up the supply chain, with manufacturers plagued by both raw material and labor shortages. For years, supply chains adopted a lean strategy – maintain enough inventory for “just-in-time” deliveries. This method worked beautifully when manufacturing, trucking, and consumer buying behavior were in a normal predictable mode. Since 2020, the global pandemic effectively killed the existing manufacturing to store synchronicity.
Now that the world economy is slowly restarting, is there an end to the sporadic supply chain behavior? Probably not. “Two in five convenience retailers (39%) say there were “significant” levels of disruption across the supply chain during the second quarter of 2021.”
C-stores need to reconfigure their business operations to adjust. By applying these three methods, they can safeguard the product flow in their stores.
1. Expand Their Supply Chain Base
Aligning with more than one supplier will increase the chances of receiving goods on time. This can also spark cost competitiveness among suppliers, with retailers on the receiving end of a good value.
2. Treat Suppliers as Partners
Offer transparency to suppliers. Who better to include in your convenience store plan for success than the very supply chain that feeds it? According to a recent Forbes.com article, “more than 40% expect to increase their total supply chain investment with the primary goal of improving speed, agility, and resilience.”
3. Rely on Integrated Technology
Are your current store operations run by separate programs that don’t “talk” to each other? While you are compiling your supply chain players, do the same with the technology used in your store. Invest in a C-store solution suite for an integrated view – from operations, audits, to asset protection programs. An integrated support system will improve your store functions, which in turn creates a positive culture. This will demonstrate your dedication as an owner and motivate employees to contribute to the store’s success. Check out Envysion’s C-Store Solution for an integrated, data-driven program to help manage your business.
The pandemic has upended traditional business models. Many industries are still struggling to stay afloat. But as with any life-changing event, there is a silver lining. “66% of supplier companies say that their overall relationship with convenience retailers is better than a year ago and 44% say their level of partnership and collaboration with the convenience retailing channel is better than other channels.”
Retailers and suppliers alike were affected by the pandemic. As both sectors start to rebuild, they have found that working together will bring the most benefit to all. Partnering on forecasting and strategic planning will become the new norm in c-store longevity.
Start planning for a more successful convenience store today. Contact Enysion for a demo of our C-Store Solution Suite!