One of the greatest challenges of running a small business is keeping up with the daily tasks of supply chain management and customer engagement. The more time we spend with those tasks, the less we have available for other needs. Yet we can't sacrifice the attention it takes to get the inputs required for our products, and we certainly can't turn away from customer interaction.
Technology has come to the rescue in both of these situations. There are computer- and phone-based tools that can simplify all these processes and really save the day for your business. They'll improve your customer relationships and your supply chains, to the benefit of your bottom line.
Customer Interaction at Events
The first place we want to look is customer interaction. A very common strategy for finding and engaging customers is trade shows, conferences, and other gatherings where potential customers can visit and contact you.
The number of initial contacts you can achieve in such an event is amazing, but that's only valuable if you can keep those folks engaged after they leave your booth, display, or session. A very effective way to do that is a mobile event app that keeps them in contact with what's going on with your company as they travel to other sessions and hear other speakers. DoubleDutch helps you get their feedback and involvement even after they're out of your sight, and the more they interact with you at the event, the more they'll interact with you after the event.
Strategize your Stock
It's also essential to use strategic technology in supply chains. It is a tightrope act to keep things properly stocked. On the one hand, it's essential that your product offerings never run out, and if you're a manufacturer, that means knowing that your assembly and fabrication personnel will always be able to reach into a bin or onto a shelf and have enough parts or materials to build.
At the same time, you must prevent input overload. Many times, they are fragile or perishable, making them expensive to store. And anything bulky requires expensive storage space, further increasing costs but only generating immediate revenue for the IRS.
Regardless of input attributes, payment terms to your vendor will always be such that you'll want to strike the right balance and not have to pay for inputs you won't be using for another 60 to 90 days.
You need a method that makes it simple to respond in an agile way to whatever is going on your business. Creating an online supply portal can do that. When a big contract comes in and you need to get inputs into your hands quickly, you can do it. When an item from years past comes back into demand and you need to revive your production processes, the required inputs will all be right there.
In terms of supply inventory management, the portal can provide valuable input there as well. It will track your order history, and you can compare that with your outgoing orders to determine some benchmarks for supply needs.
For example, if you build snow shovels, you will see an uptick in business when the pattern is throwing down lots of snow. You can flip back through your records to previous bad winters and compare your shipments to the timing and size of incoming materials.
Managing personnel, marketing, and facilities is demanding enough. You need all the help you can get with supply chains and customer engagement. The ability to maximize stored information, increase customer involvement, and reduce costs makes it very valuable to utilize apps like DoubleDutch for your small business.