Remember the hilarious old “Who’s On First” bit with comic geniuses Bud Abbott and Lou Costello? Do you sometimes feel like you’re Costello planning your fleet recovery strategy, and Abbott is handling all of your fleet supplier relations – especially in current conditions?
Who’s on ‘fleet.’ Yes.
These summer months are crunch time for implementing your recovery strategy that optimizes your assets and protects your business operations from risk. This requires you to evaluate not only your own financial and operational stability, but also that of your suppliers.
Your suppliers may not be comfortable being upfront with you about their own challenges because they don’t want to lose your customer loyalty. However, you need players in the game that are not going to trip over the baseline or collide in the outfield.
How to size up your suppliers for stability
Start by trusting your gut, and then confirm your observations. If you’ve had long-term relationships with key suppliers, you know how they communicate and operate. If you’re seeing responsiveness and agility diminish, you have the right to ask questions about their strength and security.
You also want to see some degree of innovation. Ever since December 2019, it’s been a whole new ballgame for entire industries. Here are the major positive changes:
· Production and retail facilities are making a big hit with employee safety measures and process efficiencies.
· Supply chain management is knocking it out of the park with better tracking and communication.
· Technology is hitting grand slams by allowing workforces to maintain or improve productivity under new and unusual work environments.
If it feels like one of your key suppliers is watching this progression from the bleachers, you may need to consider benching them.
Read the signals
Download this checklist to confirm your suppliers are performing at financial, technical, and operational all-star levels.
Call for an official review
Transparency is really all you’re asking for. If you’re not seeing and feeling the actions described above, you’re not off base if you ask your suppliers to:
· Share how they’re maintaining service levels and tracking key metrics.
· Provide insight into liquidity and stability measures.
· Demonstrate the strength of their commitment to your business success.
Bring it on home
At this time when economic uncertainty has gone into extra innings, many MVPs are on the injured list. It’s understandable to feel loyalty to your suppliers who supported your company in multiple wins, but it’s also fair to ask about their game plans. The victory you need now is not just for the stability of your company, but also for the hearts of your customers.
At any point that you want to call a timeout and touch base with our ARI and Auto Truck Group fleet and upfit heavy-hitters, we’ll go to bat for you. We’re happy to field your questions and help you gauge your risk for operational uncertainty. Together, we can improve your revenue and profitability, and keep your fleet strategy from getting lost in left field.
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