Thinking beyond the strikes: planning ahead to protect your business.

The headlines are about the wide range of strikes across the UK this Christmas. Strike dates have, of course, been planned to have the maximum impact on the festive season.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that the timing of these Christmas strikes won’t affect your business. You might be winding down business activities for the holiday. Perhaps you’re only wondering about the latest train strike, Royal Mail strike or border control strike dates because of the effect they will have on personal festivities. But you need to think further ahead; the long-term effect of many of these strikes will become far more apparent in January.

Initially, the sheer backlog and chaos of the strikes will affect UK delivery times. But even if your order is coming from the UK, it may be reliant upon components coming into the country from other locations. These components are likely to be significantly delayed, in backlogs caused by the extensive border control strike, and it will be very difficult to get a clear view as to the delivery status of shipments. What about your new starts for January who may need uniform, new projects starting, or essential PPE purchased regularly?

This is of particular concern in the UK, where we import most of our PPE. It is vital to your business continuity that you look beyond the union strikes and make contingency plans with your PPE supplier.

We’ve summarised three key areas you should consider:

1. Do you have a strong relationship with your PPE supplier?

Do they know how your operation works and which items are business critical? Make sure their knowledge of your procedures is extensive; they will need to respond intuitively to any identified supply chain pressures which could affect you.

2. Don’t rely on ‘just in time’ inventory solutions...

...based on inventory arriving as close as possible to when it is needed. Following events of the last few years these are now recognised as high risk in terms of quality, cost and continuity.

3. Try to concentrate on ensuring continuity of supply ...

...with a robust stock holding which will prevent you running out of equipment. An example of a risky solution is use of vending machines, which may give you inventory control, but don’t allow you a substantial stock holding.

This doesn’t mean you have to hold stock yourself. At Anchor Safety we work with our clients to ensure a ring-fenced, deep supply of key business critical items. This means our customers can draw from our stocked supply as necessary and pay on invoice, rather than being victim to long wait times. Rather than being a product shifter, we pride ourselves on working in partnership with our clients, and on understanding the disruption risks they face from any interruption to supply.

Once you have the kind of collaborative relationship described here, with a bespoke strategy and stock holding in place, its easy to plan ahead to mitigate inevitable delays, taking the immediate fear out of those looming strike dates.

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