If businesses want to operate smoothly, all their aspects and departments must know their job. Most departments in well-established companies are usually interlinked. For example, marketing is related to production, and production is related to finance. The finance department is responsible for regularly maintaining a good profit margin for a business. Human resources must take care of the individuals within each department. Another factor that establishes the basis of business operations but doesn't get talked about enough is supply chain management.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected numerous industries across the globe. Some have had trouble getting their stock back on track, whereas others have seen a terrible decline in their online sales. In addition, the numerous lockdown policies implemented by the local and federal authorities have put their business at a standstill.

In the past couple of years, the eCommerce world has seen a problem with supply chain shortages. As a result, many small businesses could not continue operations due to this disruption. However, larger organizations have shown resilience and have developed effective ways to deal with supply chain shortage issues.

What is a Supply Chain?

A supply chain has a significant influence on the operations management sector. It encloses the company's features and activities regarding the production of products and services. The term 'chain' showcases a series of steps resulting in the final product. Therefore, the term 'supply chain shortages' means an interference within the chain that disrupts the final product's development. A supply chain can also be called a value chain because more elements are added to the product set to be taken into the world at each process step.

However, when so much importance is given to this part of an organization, it also has its fair share of risks. Hence, supply chain shortage issues are not uncommon, and managing them is an essential part of day-to-day business operations.

Supplier chains require information to run through them effectively upstream and downstream. While so many different steps are involved, supply chain shortages can happen due to inaccurate details going through so many people before reaching their final destination.

What is a Supply Chain Shortage?

If we can define supply chain shortages in the most exact words, it is the situation in which the demand for a particular good or service exceeds its current supply. Here are the various reasons behind a company's failure to manage supply chain shortages.

  • Failing to abide by the customer service protocols
  • Mismanagement of product costs
  • Inaccurate forecasting and risk management
  • Unreliable or untrustworthy partnerships
  • Low labor productivity
  • Lack of communication within the supply chain
  • Natural disasters
  • Evolution of competing firms in the industry

Supply chain shortage is the incompetence of one more part of a company's team, which results in the downfall of the rest of the organization. This domino effect is because of the interdependent nature of the supply chain.

ecommerce supply chain

Image taken from Strikingly User’s Website

Although it can be overwhelming, it is not impossible to manage supply chain shortages. The most critical factor in managing supply chain shortages is to be one step ahead in the game. In other words, you shouldn't be surprised if a supply chain shortage arises because you already have the plan to fix the damage.

Tips for Managing Supply Chain Shortages

1) Assess Your Supply Chain

Since you are a business owner, you must analyze all aspects of the manufacturing and fulfillment process. To maintain efficiency within your business operations, you must monitor the following elements:

  • Where does every item and material come from?
  • What is the cost of every item and material at your disposal?
  • How long does it take for these materials to arrive?
  • Are there any gaps or delays within the delivery?

Once you have highlighted all of these critical elements, you can manage supply chain shortages by looking at the areas for improvement. For example, you can see if you can place larger purchase orders to have more materials and products at your disposal. You can also determine whether to pay more for faster shipping to avoid lulls in your order list.

You may consider an alternative if you cannot get items from one supplier. Although it won't always help in the case of supply chain shortages, it can be a handy option for specific topics. For example, let's assume you have a problem with an overseas provider. If you see a local manufacturer having more availability despite being more expensive, it is better than having no products.

2) Alternate Materials

This is the perfect step to show your creative skills. If you cannot find a material or it has got expensive for some reason, you can think of alternatives immediately. For example, if you use lumber to craft your products, you can consider bamboo and hemp as alternatives. Similarly, if you cannot find rubber, you can look for silicon.

alternative raw materials

Image taken from Strikingly User’s Website

If the shipping and packaging materials are in short supply, it is time to embrace your brand and be more unique. If you sell knitting supplies, how about filling ship boxes with yarn rather than bubble wrap? If you are part of the food niche and sell snacks, you can include a few bags of popcorn that act as lightweight padding.

It is an excellent habit to have alternatives in your mind because, recently, many business owners have been unable to meet their budget due to worldwide inflation.

3) Tell Your Customers About Delays and Shortages

One of the best things you can do is to inform your customers about supply chain shortage issues, products that are out of stock, and shipping delays. In most cases, your customers will understand if you tell them ahead of time. However, if they find out about delays after placing an order, they will become frustrated and may have some harsh words for you. The best way to clarify all the delays and supply chain shortages is as follows:

  • Include a notice on your online store: You can display an important message with a store notice that appears on every web page. You can inform customers about potential delays or product shortages, so they know ahead of time.
  • Create new order status: By adding new order statuses, you can send emails based on them so the customers know exactly where their product is in the fulfillment process. For example, you can create two categories for "item in process" and "order shipped."
  • Include details on the cart page: You can remind your customers that items might get delayed. Hence, they would already prepare themselves for this situation.
  • Include more tracking information on the checkout page: You can allow shoppers to check their order status and know where their product is in the delivery status.

4) Remain Updated About Your Inventory Management

Inventory management is the most critical factor when we talk about managing supply chain shortages. Since you are a business owner, the last thing you would want is to see your customers buy a product that is out of stock or unavailable.

a checkout page

Image taken from Strikingly User’s Website

Business owners start by going through the warehouse or fulfillment center to get an idea about what is part of the stock. Then, according to the situation, you can update your online inventory. If you feel that a product has become difficult to find or manufacture, you can mark it as out of stock for a little while.

Furthermore, many online inventory management tools have made it easy to automate the process. These tools can be handy if you sell in additional spots, such as retail stores, local markets, or an online marketplace like eBay. Finally, keeping everything synced is always a good habit because your information is up to date.

Build an Ecommerce Website on Strikingly

Keeping an online record of all your inventory and pending orders within a system would be best. In this case, you will be better equipped to manage supply chain shortages that you will likely incur.

strikingly ecommerce business

Image taken from Strikingly

Nowadays, what makes it easy for businesses to manage their operations is by relying on a professional website builder, such as Strikingly. Strikingly is a website builder that allows you to establish a professional eCommerce website to showcase your products and services.

Moreover, it provides you with innovative tools to conduct your marketing campaigns and manage your inventory effectively.

ecommerce product integration

Image taken from Strikingly

If you build a personal website on Strikingly, you will gain access to the simple store feature. The simple store feature helps you to keep a track record of all the orders, stock, and inventory levels. Consequently, it will help you manage supply chain shortages that are potentially around the corner. It enables you to keep your customers informed about the developments, so you don't get negative feedback due to late deliveries or order cancellations.


Although supply chain shortages can be frustrating, there are always solutions to keep your store running smoothly. It is all about staying on top of your business operations, seeking ways to improve, and staying in touch with your customers.

To build an essential website on Strikingly, you need to register for a free account on our platform, which will help you gain access to our dashboard and ready-made website templates. There is no better feeling for us that your struggle for a thriving business begins with us. Being a responsible website-building platform, we update our features regularly. We want to ensure a smooth and user-friendly experience in building and maintaining your brand website.