Short term goals
What are your most pressing issues, and which ones need to be prioritised right now? Some of these will be financial, others may be reputational; we recognise that each retailer has its own challenges to deal with and different priorities.
Some of our clients have updated their customer terms and conditions to allow for more flexibility around delivery times and extended their returns period, whilst others have invested in better customer support platforms in order to maintain or improve customer satisfaction. Although most organisations recognise that this isn’t the time to be making big changes, there are smaller steps which can help to protect your business in the short term.
The impact of both Covid and Brexit continues to play havoc with supply chains for all shapes and sizes of retailers. If you have fallen out with a particular supplier, or you can foresee an issue arising, consider whether that supplier is a long term partner or a more ad hoc provider.
We recommend you change your approach based on the longevity of your relationship, taking a more understanding position with those suppliers who you want to work with long term as this is more likely to preserve mutual trust between the two companies.
For those contractors who have let you down and with whom you don’t see a long term future arrangement, don’t be afraid to enforce the applicable contract terms to secure the best possible outcome for your business.
Contractual terms don’t need to be your opening gambit though; never under-estimate the value of a strategic, commercial discussion and seek to maintain an open and constructive dialogue to salvage a difficult situation. With ongoing uncertainty across supply chains, maintaining a diverse supplier base is essential to keep disruption to a minimum so always take a considered view before taking too strong a stance in any disputes.
We encourage all retailers to assess their ability to fund the financial costs of any short-term measures, particularly as some of the measures may impact an organisation’s ability to meet their financial covenants within their existing facilities. Are your existing finance arrangements sufficient to cover new measures or will additional finance be required? Don’t forget to allow lead in time if you are considering additional support.
Financial institutions are open to discussions, and we’ve seen this first-hand having recently provided support for seasonal businesses to extend their bank facilities. This approach will enable them to carry excess stock over the winter months in light of ongoing supply chain risk which gives them some confidence in these uncertain times. Maintaining a positive dialogue with your bank’s relationship manager is key to unlocking additional finance options!