There’s a lot too learn from African small businesses. With supply chain bottlenecks and shortages a regular occurrence in some markets and industries, African entrepreneurs are always searching for alternative supply chain solutions.
Don’t stick your neck out. Develop your own alternative supply chain solutions and don’t over depend on a single solution. Test your alternative solutions on a regular basis and make changes where required.
Lean can be mean. Lean strategies are all the rage. Study your supply chain strategies carefully and be clear how it can work (if at all) in your African markets.
Lead times. Assess Lead times and expect and plan for shortages. Consider local conditions and determine safety, buffer and cycle stock.
Land routes. A number of African ports are operating at capacity and bottlenecks and strikes could have severe consequences. Identify regional hubs (Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi) and assess the potential to truck goods via land routes.
Source locally. Sourcing from local suppliers might be more expensive, but it could be a viable short term solution to keep consumers satisfied. Restoring trust and rebuilding relationships are impossible calculations on an Excel spreadsheet.
Regional warehouse. Study the potential of regional warehouses and determine how it can work for you during country specific shortages.
Collaborate with big and small. Collaborate with importers and specialized traders. Small businesses are normally more agile to deal small disasters.