How to Navigate Supply Chain Challenges

09.17.2021 |

It’s no secret that the global economy has been experiencing supply chain challenges as a result of the pandemic. Unfortunately, promotional products aren’t immune to these hurdles. From rising shipping costs to material & labor shortages, turn-times are dragging and inventory is lacking.

As if that isn’t enough, the busy season starts now as the holiday gifting season is upon us. With such demand and scarce supply, the supply chain issues we’ve all been experiencing are going to be amplified. But it’s not time to hit the panic button quite yet.2021-Supply-Chain-Challenges_V2-pdf

Since the beginning of the pandemic, if we’ve learned anything it’s that adapting to a changing environment is the only way to survive. At Stran, we’ve been working hard at finding solutions for our clients to overcome supply chain disruption. As a result, we shifted our offering based on client needs. Initially, that meant going away from our core business that we know & love and we dove headfirst into the world of PPE.

From hand sanitizer and face masks to protective signage and clean keys, we dramatically expanded our offering as we transitioned from a creative product supplier to a trusted source for safe & reliable PPE.

Having gone through these challenges, we’ve been practicing adapting on a dime for more than 18 months now to better serve our clients. Now, the challenge lies within our core product offering and delivering products in short time given the current supply chain hang-ups.

As has always been the case, the most surefire way to safely meet your in-hands date is by advanced planning. But that's not always possible, and we know that. So, how have we been preparing for these last-minute rushes and spur-of-the-moment promo needs? 

SUGGESTED LEAD TIMES: Domestic Orders: 30 Days | Overseas Orders: 120+ Days

  1. Identify Deep Inventory:

With supply chain issues and material shortages, the challenges are twofold. First, product selection can be spotty. Items ranging from apparel to drinkware have mixed amounts of inventory and timelines for arrival are a bit unpredictable. Second, meeting in-hand dates has become challenging as a result of this newfound unpredictability.

To counter these challenges, Stran has worked closely with key suppliers to identify and secure core products with deep inventory and items that have constant replenishment. We've also identified when items are coming back into stock to keep a pulse on when we can offer what. This allows us to present our clients with a reliable product selection to meet their core & creative needs in an honest and realistic manner.

  1. Utilize Domestic Suppliers:

In 2020, Stran executed the business of the 2020 U.S. Census. The project had a number of intricacies including utilizing a completely American Made supply base. This experience has served us well given the current overseas production & logistics complications. Having sourced promotional products of all kinds domestically, we have intimate knowledge of what products we can quickly deliver. This also eliminates the costs & delays of international freight from orders proving to reduce spend and turn time. 

  1. Navigate Complex Logistics:

From increased freight costs to international ports falling behind and freight timelines dragging, logistics have never been more complicated. Stran’s experienced navigating these waters by leveraging our overseas relationships by engaging in continuous dialogue which keeps us informed to make the best decisions when it comes to finding the best shipping rates and ensuring timely delivery. By doing so, this saves our clients both time & money. 

One method we’ve adopted for overseas logistics is by implementing a blended shipping approach. With this approach, we air in a portion of product to meet a hard in-hands date. With the remainder of the product, we send via cargo ship to realize cost-savings.CarGuruHoliday2020ProjectSocialEdit-1

While current conditions are certainly less than ideal, we're knowledgeable and transparent about our supply network. Engaging in continuous conversation with our clients about their initiatives keeps us ahead of the game giving them maximum product flexibility & availability.

At Stran, we're creative product experts & problem solvers. With increased lead times, we can continue delivering nearly any product imaginable, regardless of how complex or custom it might be. 

Feel free to reach out to speak with a member of our team to discuss product or any industry questions you might have. We're here to help!