There’s no question that the COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions in supply chains across the globe. Even in a post-pandemic society, the ripple effects of COVID-19 are lingering — especially for businesses.

Supply chain issues are prevalent, resulting in delays, shortages, and cancellations. Unfortunately, those issues can wreak havoc on a textile business. Serious labor shortages in the textile industry have only exacerbated these issues.

However, with a little creativity, planning, and preparation, you can keep your textile business competitive and even find success during supply chain issues. Let’s cover a few ways you can work around these disruptions to keep your customers happy and your business afloat.

What’s Causing the Issues?

Before you come up with viable solutions to keep your textile business competitive, it’s important to understand why supply chain issues are still causing problems. During COVID-19, supply chain issues were caused by shifts in demand, lockdowns, and labor shortages. Some of those problems still exist. Since the pandemic, many companies have struggled to find employees. Plus, demands are still high for certain goods.

That has resulted in transportation issues and traffic problems across the country. Supply chain constraints are starting to cause backups and heavy traffic along U.S. highways. Having so many trucks on the road and truckers working long hours can also be dangerous. In fact, supply chain issues are putting drivers at risk since there’s an increased likelihood of those truckers feeling burnt out and tired behind the wheel. These overworked drivers tend to clog the roads with tractor trailers, leading to slower delivery times.

Unfortunately, there’s not much any company or industry can do about the influx of demand or the labor shortage. However, there are supply chain strategies MSMEs can put in place to mitigate the harm these issues might cause.

Get Technical

Your goal should be to streamline your processes as much as possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is to implement technology. Your supply chain will always be vulnerable if you’re not utilizing things like:

  • Cybersecurity;
  • Operational systems;
  • Organizational systems;
  • Data protection protocols.

A digital supply chain platform for the textile industry just makes sense. Using technology to your advantage allows your company to stay at the same speed as your consumers. You’ll be more agile if you can digitize your operations using collaborative software and smart-tech packaging systems. When you do, you’ll be able to keep production both high and stable while offering a wider range of shipment types.

If you aren’t convinced, consider the fact that streamlining things with technology can also improve productivity while cutting costs. Something as simple as upgrading your machinery with smart technology can improve efficiency and boost the quality of your products. The textile industry might seem simple, but behind the scenes, it’s always been one of the greatest industries for innovation. If it wasn’t, no textile business would be able to keep up with demands — or the changes in trends that happen so rapidly.

Not only should your warehouses and backend processes utilize tech, but you should also consider upgrading your customer service options. Without having to hire many additional employees or burn out your current representatives, your customers will receive greater support and find more patience with any delays.

Improve Your Customer Service

A tech-forward customer service strategy should incorporate AI. This will help to relieve your labor costs and protect your representatives from customers who might be frustrated about shortages or long shipment times.

AI already impacts daily life in many ways. You use it every day for things like:

  • Social media;
  • Travel and navigation;
  • Vehicles;
  • Healthcare;

You can implement it into your business by offering things like chatbots on your website or to improve customer retention efforts on social media. This way, you can create a hybrid customer service model so your representatives aren’t overloaded and are able to handle more serious questions, comments, and complaints. As long as your customers are being tended to right away and their questions are being answered, most won’t mind chatting with a “robot” or using an automated system to get the help they need.

Moving Forward

There’s no telling when these supply chain issues will be improved or what else might happen to create shipment issues in the future. The best thing you can do for your textile business is to have strategies in place that allow you to adapt to difficult circumstances, including shipment and delivery problems. Consider putting some of these practices in place or using them to plan for the future and any supply chain issues that might arise. Your customers will thank you, and it could make all the difference when it comes to the success of your brand.