Financial Data
Updated 22 Nov 2019

Is your supplier chain peak time proof?

It is early December and while many people are looking forward to their annual holiday, for our clients in the Retail industry, peak time has arrived and is gaining momentum fast. In certain geographical areas this is the single most important time of the year for their business’ financial survival as they rely on the profits made during peak time to sustain the business throughout the rest of their financial year.  

Su-Mari du Bruyn, 31 December 2015  Share  0 comments  Print

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Our in-depth analysis of business performance during the peak time period often reveals significant amounts of waste that is in fact detracting from the organisation’s profitability and although it may be well hidden by the additional turnover, leaves ample opportunity to gain more during peak periods.

Are you confident that your supply chain flexibility will allow you to easily accommodate additional volumes during peak periods or is this generally the time of year that leaves everyone haggard from all the fire fighting?

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If you find yourself in the latter position, I suggest that you spend some time to discuss and develop an action plan around:

  1. What did not work?
  2. Why did it not work?
  3. What can we do differently next time?

From our experience we have found that the following areas are usually where the supply chain issues hide:


Do you have a plan? How accurate are your demand planning and sales forecasting figures? Have you taken into consideration historical trends? Do you know what resources will be required to execute your plan? Do you have sufficient inventory and consumables on hand? Do you have enough reliable, trained and competent staff to assist with the execution of your plan? What check points do you have for progress made against your plan to allow you sufficient time to adapt if need be? Have you allowed for additional traffic on the roads?

Partnership purchasing

Are you sharing your forecast transparently with your suppliers? Do they know what to expect and have they committed to support you? How quickly can they manufacture additional inventory and / or make additional deliveries to you? Are there specific times or days that your vendors or suppliers will be closed or your key contacts unavailable? Have you accounted for the availability of spare parts and maintenance and technical support availability should the need arise?

Risk Management

Have you completed preventative maintenance on your vehicles and equipment in advance? Have you tested the robustness of your e-commerce site? What is your back up plan in the event that things do go wrong? Do you have dual sourcing options in your supply chain? Who are the stand-ins for key personnel in the event that they are unavailable? How will you prioritise your customers if you are unable to serve everyone? What is your plan of action from a customer service and public relations perspective to recover from disappointing your customers?

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Financial assessment

What are the financial implications of activating any of your back-up plans and how will they affect your profitability? Who should be able to make these decisions and at what point in time should they be activated?

Although working through the above will not guarantee that your peak time period will not contain any surprises, it will significantly increase the probability of you gaining maximum value from your peak time ahead! 

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About the author

Su-Mari du Bruyn

Su-Mari Du Bruyn is co-founder of Adapt To Change. She is a qualified HR practitioner and logistics specialist and is passionate about Continuous Improvement and people development. Through Adapt To Change she assists businesses to improve their business performance and better engage their staff. Su-Mari also recently launched her e-book business guide, The Power to Ignite. Available exclusively on for Kindle, The Power to Ignite is a practical guide to the powerful art of Continuous Improvement, sharing proven methodology and highlighting important dos and don’ts in engaging staff and improving business results.

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