Are you finding it hard to procure office equipment? Is your supply closet running short on toilet paper? Supply chain issues are a global problem, and shortages are hitting every sector. Office managers in the U.S. are finding it hard to locate basic office supplies like paper, printer ink, lightbulbs and, yes, even toilet paper.
Trade experts say the global supply chain conundrum could be years away from resolving itself. So, many firms will need to adjust their procurement practices to locate alternative resources and manage rising costs. To that end, here are five tips for surviving the supply chain issues you’ll want to try out this year.
1. Barter with Competitors
Supply issues are prime times for beefing up your business relationships or calling in old favors. If you have excess resources, find a competing property owner who needs them and offer a trade. Such transactions could also include services-for-supplies too. Don’t be too proud. Cooperation helps the whole industry win. NOTE: Depending on where you do business, you may be required to report such bartering “profits” as taxable income. Check with your CPA.
2. Buy Used, Source Local
With international supply chains still struggling, many are looking to local and/or second-hand stores for procuring used supplies like office equipment or furniture. Look at both brick-and-mortar and online stores. On trading platforms like Craigslist, eBay or TradeMe you can easily filter searches by location to find products/services within a workable range for quick delivery. Buying used cuts down delivery time and gets the job done until you can find replacements. It’s also better for the environment!
3. Reduce Your Use
One upside to doing without is learning to live with less. Supply shortages are great opportunities to launch campaigns around efficiency and cost cutting. Use less paper products by transitioning to digital documents. Is your disposable coffee cup supply running low in the break room? Then buy your staff personlised mugs. Necessity is the mother of Invention, so use an unpredictable situation to promote conservation and frugality among your team and tenants.
4. Promote Flexible or Remote Working
By embracing the remote work trend, you can offset some supply use and costs to workers, many of whom will be happy to trade sweatpants and a much shorter commute. Besides using fewer resources, flexible work models offer more benefits for both employees and companies including increased productivity and higher retention.
5. Prepare for Tenant Backlash
Lack of supplies inevitably trickles down to your tenants. Sidestep complaints and backlash by preparing them before scarcity hits. Here are a few themes to weave into your tenant messaging.
Fairness. Some tenants may feel others are getting preferential treatment. Strong messaging is needed here. Any emails or correspondence needs to firmly dispense with such rumors before they grow. Maintain a voice of empathy and understanding around the shortages and their implications.
Transparency. Keep tenants abreast of delivery updates. Being in the dark is worse. When tenants can see there’s an end in sight, their patience increases dramatically. But even if you have no idea, be honest about your situation; sincerity does the heavy lifting when it comes to acceptance of a bad situation.
Collective Struggle. Take a “We’re in this together” approach. Groups get through things easier when there’s a feeling that everyone is sacrificing. However, this isn’t a time to point out how you’re the victim too; don’t unwittingly create a competition for “who’s got it worse.” Instead, stress collective sacrifice as a balm for individual angst and impatience.