As the festive season approaches, businesses that are sourcing foreign produced goods to meet customer demand should put an emphasis on proactively managing their supply chains to avoid financial losses and reputational damage due to late deliveries.
This is according to Adam Orlin, CEO at Blue Strata, South Africa’s only integrated end-to-end import and working capital specialist, who says that an importer could potentially lose millions if goods are delivered late, as the value would severely erode should the goods be delivered after the festive period.
“Businesses cannot afford to make any mistakes during this period due to the financial value and urgency of the goods. It is crucial for importers to have a comprehensive strategy in place to proactively manage every aspect of the supply chain.’
He says that while supply chain disruptions often occur unexpectedly, the risks increase during the festive period due to the volume of goods being ordered.
Though most service providers are geared for peak season and more space on vessels, and trucking capacity is allocated, it is essential for importers to eliminate even the slightest possibility of error.
He says that importers need to have an early detection system in place to closely monitor the supply chain, mitigating disruptions along the way where possible. Furthermore, having at least more than one supplier on standby that can be summoned in the event of an emergency is important.
“Importers need to manage relationships with service providers, suppliers and customers in order to speedily resolve any issues that may arise.’
He explains that proper administration is also vital at this time as more customs stops and inspections are carried out to eliminate illegal goods from entering the country. Therefore, invoices, and all necessary documentation should be prepared and checked thoroughly.
“As a rule, businesses should start importing goods as early as September to avoid any supply chain disruptions that could lead to delays,’ concludes Orlin.