Your First Steps in a Supply Chain Shortage

The email or phone call about a shortage in your supply chain can feel like an immediate migraine-inducer. The stakes go sky-high and every decision you make becomes a critical one if you want to meet production deadlines. Getting those first few steps right goes a long way when keeping a supply chain shortage from being a full-on crisis.

Here’s what we recommend you keep in mind the next time you get that message:

Get as Much Information as You Can

Your first step should be to determine where exactly the shortage is and what’s causing it. Has there been a spike in demand that’s pushing up deadlines? Are storms or bad weather delaying normal shipments? Is a machine malfunction causing one of your suppliers to slow or pause production?

Then, figure out exactly when your deadlines are and how much of the supplies or materials you need to meet them.

Contact Your Express Courier

When you get in touch with our team at CNW, we’ll want to know:

  • Where exactly your supplies are in the world
  • The size of the shipment you need
  • Where the supplies need to be and when

It’s easy to slip into crisis mode and think that you need a private charter to get your entire shipment from Point A to Point B in a matter of hours, but many times, this isn’t the case. An express courier will try to find the fastest and most cost-effective way to deliver your expedited shipment, and that usually means a more creative (and less drastic) solution.

For example, large companies with multiple manufacturing facilities may be able to get through a minor shortage by shifting inventory from a factory in New York to one in Texas.

A very large shipment can be broken up into several smaller shipments to get more options for shipping on commercial flights.

If you know when normal shipments will resume, you can opt to just express ship a portion of your supplies—enough to get you through this shortage.

Unless your facility is operational 24/7, you can avoid paying a premium to get something there in the middle of the night and have it sit around for several hours until the facility opens.

Let Your Courier Sweat the Details

Once you’ve given your courier all the information you can, they’ll determine what your options are and provide you with different scenarios, from using Next Flight Out (NFO) service to an On-Board Courier (OBC) to a private charter. They’ll outline the exact timeline and price for each solution. Once you make that call, they’ll execute the shipment from door to door.

Since you might be using different shipping routes than normal, or shipping at different times (overnight), your courier will also proactively plan potential issues with customs. They’ll make sure your shipment avoids going through a port or airport where customs is closed, and ensure that sensitive materials are handled appropriately.

It’s a given that unforeseeable things happen in every industry, so at some point, you’ll have a supply chain shortage on your hands. But by taking the time to look at the issue closely, and working with an experience express courier, you’ll be able to handle it without your production falling behind.

Interested in learning more about how CNW helps companies deal with supply chain shortages? Get in touch with our global operations team today.


Contact us today to see how our creative international courier solutions can get your expedited shipments delivered on time and in perfect condition.

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