Dealing with a lack of availability of your spare parts for repairs or new stock to sell can be challenging!
We supply parts as well as devices as you know, and even we have challenges on occasions. The pattern is very similar month to month and goes a bit like this:
- Samsung parts availability
Models are dependent, there is always stock available in small quantities (day to day repair stock). However, we may need a small amount of notice for some models with no stock availability.
- Google/Pixel parts availability
When we get stock in it almost immediately goes out of the door! Our supply chain is less than reliable and can at times be a little unpredictable. We expect an order to arrive around 4-6 weeks after ordering. Therefore, we recommend highly to stock up on this product!
- Apple product availability is in demand!
We receive stock once a quarter from an obsolete list provided from an Apple partner. Once this stock is sold, it is sold! There are no backorders.
So, knowing all of this how do we manage these altering situations? We have a couple of safeguards that we put in place that we think would be useful for you to! Here are a six ways to reduce the risk of the most disruptive out-of-stock situations.
- Getting parts by expediting them
Expediting is a term used to describe when a company pays extra fees for faster delivery and quality assurance. It is most commonly used for larger projects where a delay in delivery could be a disaster! This is an accepted way that companies are dealing with shortages today. It can be costly and uncertain though. Larger organisations choose to go this way believing the cost of expediting outweighs the cost of late deliveries to customers.
- Improve forecasting and holding of stock
Possibly the most straightforward option is to get better at forecasting. It means that you can determine how much you will need and make sure that you don't run out! Better forecasting can reduce uncertainty by helping a manufacturer and their suppliers' plan for when they’ll need parts. This then helps to reduce lead times by making more precise short-term predictions. Manufacturers may know how much stock they have now, but it’s more challenging to predict a week, a month, or even several months into the future. Watching what has happened in previous years can help to ease sudden dramas! In terms of the quantity of stock on hand we recommend holding at least 2 weeks for small operations/retail and 2-3 months for major retail.
- Improve lead time accuracy
Once you know the habits and lead times of a supplier you have something to work with. Challenges occur when you expect all suppliers to send your order through in four days. With our suppliers, some do just that. Others may take 4-6 weeks. These lead time patterns are vital for us to know when to place an order.
Combined with great forecasting we rarely get caught out anymore. Of course, it still happens occasionally but we can deal with that!
Having a knowledge of the lead times of our suppliers helps us to prevent shortages meaning we can meet the demands of our customers.
- Develop your shortage attack processes
Supply disruptions are going to happen. The key to getting through them unscathed is handling them quickly and efficiently. Having a plan in place of what to do when... will mean that when it does happen your first instinct is to deal with it rather than to panic!
Taking an afternoon to sit down and figure out a couple of strategic responses to a lack of availability will be time well spent.
- Improve supplier collaboration
It is important to have good as good a relationship with your suppliers as you can. Having a great relationship with them can mean that you are at the front, or close to the front of the queue when the stock does arrive. It can occur that a supplier is holding their own level of safety stock. This may be to protect themselves and their customers against surges in demand.
So, be nice, pay your bills on time and don't forget to ask how the kids are going. Get building that relationship!
- Ensure accurate inventory data
Make sure that you know exactly what stock you have on hand. The most straightforward way to do this is to get into the stock room or stock draw in some cases and occasionally count it! Without an accurate count of inventory levels, stock shortages can sneak up much faster. This is especially true where you have staff that is accessing the stock too. You may be unaware that a particular item has been taken by several staff reducing the stock far more than you thought.
Even if you have a good stock management system that is used by everyone it is worth doing an occasional count... just to be certain of stock levels. Some great examples of stock management systems include; Repairdesk, RepairQ and Repairshopr.
In short, it is a given that there will be occasions where you run short of a particular model, part, or device. The measures above should help reduce these substantially. When it does occur handling the situation should be easier. Whatever the method of prevention, getting the right parts at the right time is key to keeping products flowing. This gives you the ability to deliver a great level of customer service.
We trust these tips will help you to stay ahead of the curve and avoid stock availability challenges in your own operation. If you’re looking a little low on stock, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can give us a call on 07 3139 1559