An Easy Work-Around for Supply Chain Disruptions

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 8:00:00 AM

Categories: Customer Service, Inventory Management

By Mark Tomalonis
Principal, WarehouseTWO, LLC

These are not normal times.  Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is inevitable that once-stable supply chains will have hiccups.  Whether it is due to reduced manufacturing operations, temporary factory closures, or lack of raw materials further upstream in the supply chain, you cannot expect product availability to remain stable for the next few weeks, if not months.

The good news is that you already have an easy supply chain work-around when your suppliers cannot provide to you what your end-customers need to keep their businesses running.

Are you using this work-around?

The work-around is this:  leverage the finished goods inventory in your suppliers' wholesale channels.  This practice is called “inventory-sharing” or “inventory pooling”.  There are millions of dollars of finished goods inventory available for immediate shipment.  By collaborating with peer wholesaler-distributors in your industry, you can continue to serve your end-customers even when your suppliers are unable to serve you.

The benefits of formalized “inventory-sharing” among peer wholesaler-distributors includes:

  • More inventory for your end-customers, owned and held by another distributor in your industry.

  • A larger audience for your own inventory:  the thousands of end-customers served by peer distributors in your industry.

  • Faster fulfillment of your end-customer’s rush demands.

“Inventory-sharing” is not a new concept.  The automobile industry has been doing it for decades.  (Car dealers swap new cars on their lots all the time.)  Perhaps it is time to introduce it into your industry?

The recipe for formalized “inventory-sharing” is simple:

Ingredient A:  Someone inside a supplier’s wholesaler network who is tasked with driving all members of the network to participate.  I refer to his person as an inventory-sharing “evangelist”.  The most effective evangelist is someone in a leadership position at the product line manufacturer itself, such as sales executive or channel manager.

Ingredient B:  A an easy-to-implement tool for the sharing of inventory data and peer-to-peer communication within the wholesaler network.

An “easy-to-implement tool” is precisely what WarehouseTWO offers.  We have been in the business of hosting cloud-based inventory-sharing communities since 2005.  If you have never heard of us, contact us to learn more.  And if you are somewhat familiar with us but do not yet use our service, perhaps now is the time to give us a try.  Reach out to us for the next steps on how to engage with us.  We would love to hear from you.

Let us all hope that the current world-wide economic disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic ends soon.  When it does, will you be able to handle the spike in demand as your clients get back to normal operations?  We can help with that too.

About the Author
After a successful career in sales and operations management in the wholesale-distribution industry, Mark Tomalonis is now principal of WarehouseTWO, LLC.  He amuses himself by writing articles, such as this one, to help wholesaler-distributors execute their operations better.  Mark’s articles and tips are published in WarehouseTWO’s monthly e-newsletters.  Click here to subscribe.

About WarehouseTWO
WarehouseTWO, LLC is an independent “inventory-sharing” service created exclusively for durable goods manufacturers and their authorized distributors, and for any group of durable goods “peer” wholesaler-distributors, such as members of a buying/marketing group or cooperative.  To learn how inventory-sharing with WarehouseTWO can help your business, visit the WarehouseTWO website, or email