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8 Ways You Can Make Your Company More Self-Sufficient

 Updated on: September 20th, 2022

Employees manage and calculate their own backstock in their company’s warehouse.
Employees manage and calculate their own backstock in their company’s warehouse.

The global supply chain has become increasingly volatile over the past several years. Between product and employee shortages, natural disasters, or even issues like power outages, interruptions can occur at almost any point in the process. As the supply chain becomes more fragile and unpredictable, companies need to understand what it means to be self-sufficient — and how they can improve their ability to stand on their own two feet.

Beyond supply-chain issues, however, there are plenty of ways that self-sufficiency can benefit a business. You’ll have more direct oversight over avoiding potential issues. You’ll experience fewer hiccups caused by factors that are out of your control. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can operate more independently as a business and take advantage of these benefits.

Handle Transportation In-house

Handling your transportation in-house can improve a business's independence and self-sufficiency, but it is also a big undertaking. One way to approach this shift is to start by determining what type of equipment you'll need. It’s important to evaluate how you’ll be transporting your products and how far you plan on shipping them. Each method has different logistics and tools required. Generally speaking though, all of your transportation methods should include the following tools:

  • Forklift platform — When it comes to storing, accessing, and transporting goods, you’ll most likely have plenty of shelves keeping your products in place. To safely access and move these products around, you’ll need a forklift platform. Also, you can use this tool for any task that requires reaching higher spaces.
  • Shed ramps — Shed ramps can be particularly useful if you need to navigate around any permanent cracks or bumps around any sheds, garages, or other storage facilities.
  • Curb ramps — No matter how small your product is, a curb ramp can help you safely move across any bumps in the road.
  • Dock boards — Whether you’re loading or unloading your products from a trailer, you’ll need a dock board to help you safely transport yourself, your employees, and your products.
  • Cargo carriers — If you’re transporting your products in a smaller vehicle, any amount of space is necessary. If you find yourself running out of space, you can always use a cargo carrier to hitch on the back of your vehicle for a variety of sized packages.

If you're going to be handling in-house transportation for people and goods, it's also important that your employees are trained properly. Employees who work on transportation projects need specific training if they're going to move people around safely — and those who work with cargo should be trained to understand how best to handle their loads.

Handle Customer Service In-house

Customer service is the link to all facets of a company, and for many businesses, this is a facet that is typically outsourced.

When you hire an outside agency to handle customer service, you're outsourcing your company's most important asset — its customers. You're also risking your customer’s happiness with this method. It puts all the pressure on an outside agency to ensure everything goes smoothly, without any input from your business on how they do it. If any problems occur, your customers may ultimately blame your company, which may hurt your company in the long run.

If you handle customer service in-house, however, you'll have complete control over the process and make adjustments as needed. Since your customer service team will be trained internally, they’ll have a better insight of your business’s capabilities and even a better understanding of your values — with this training under their belt, they’ll feel more invested in its success which will lead to more customer success stories.

Manage Marketing In-house

There are many reasons a company might want to handle its marketing in-house.

When you’re handling your marketing, you have direct access to the campaigns, goals, efforts, and people behind the work being done. You can help mold and influence the voice and presence your company has within its competitive space.

If you choose to handle your marketing in-house, there are some things you should consider first. You will want to determine if the cost of recruiting and hiring a team, plus the associated software and product costs are within budget. Keep in mind that salaries can range from 45-70k per individual. This budget, however, is being put into a team of talented people working exclusively for your company, which is something that an agency can’t necessarily guarantee.

The costs outlined above contrast with the cost of an agency, which can vary widely depending on your needs and your budget. However, with the use of a marketing agency, you sacrifice the direct access and control of your campaign, and you’ll need to budget for these services in an ongoing capacity.

Manage Finances In-house

Handling finances in-house can improve a business's independence and self-sufficiency. It can also give you more control over your business’s money, which means you can ensure it's spent on things that matter to your company.

If you want to take control of your financial processes and start handling them in-house,there are a few things you'll need to consider. You will want to be sure to delegate an individual, or a group of individuals, specifically responsible for accounting and bookkeeping. You’ll want to consider what tools and training they might need to manage this responsibility successfully. Next, determine what kind of budget will be needed to cover these expenses, including the potential cost of hiring a CPA to periodically review the records for accuracy. Finally, consult with an accountant who has experience working with small businesses like yours so they can help guide you through the process.

Develop Robust Training Programs

When developing any department in-house, you need to build a thorough training program. With it, you can prevent skill gaps from occurring and ensure your company operates at maximum efficiency. Here are some tips for creating a successful training program:

  • Identify what skills employees need to succeed in their roles and ensure those skills are covered in the training program.
  • Ensure all employees have access to the necessary tools for completing their jobs, including software, hardware, or other materials.
  • Ensure that you have communicated expectations regarding how quickly employees should be able to complete tasks and what quality standards are expected in terms of output.
  • Consider offering incentives for completing training successfully, such as promotions or raises.

Assess Your Supply Strategy

Despite your best efforts, you may ultimately end up outsourcing for your supply chain, but you’ll want to be sure to be aware of and on the looking out for any issues or problems as they might arise. Supply chain problems can be extremely damaging to your business, especially if you don't have a strategy to minimize their occurrence. Here are some tips for assessing your supply strategy:

  • Make sure all suppliers can deliver quality products on time and at the right price.
  • Set clear expectations for what the supplier needs to do to meet those requirements.
  • Have a way of tracking whether or not the supplier is meeting those expectations.
  • Have a backup plan if your primary supplier fails or delivers unsatisfactory products/services.

Account for Seasonal Changes in Demand

As you’re constructing your supply chain solutions, you will want to be sure to keep seasonal demand and changes in mind. For example, ice cream sales are generally higher during the summer months and lower in other parts of the year. This means that companies must have a plan to deal with this fluctuation in demand.

Companies can minimize supply issues by anticipating these seasonal fluctuations and preparing for them. They can do this by planning for increased demand during certain times of the year, such as summer vacation or Christmas shopping periods.

They can also ensure that they have enough inventory on hand, so they don't run out of stock when there is an increase in demand. Another way companies can prepare for seasonality is by hiring seasonal workers who will only work during certain times of the year (such as the summer months).

Stay Ahead of the Game

Companies can minimize issues by ensuring they know about new developments in their industry and the economy. By staying ahead of the game, companies can maximize their independence and minimize reliance on others to solve issues that come up.

For example, suppose a company does not keep up with current trends in customer behavior or market demand. In that case, it may find itself behind other businesses that have already adapted to these changes. This could result in losing customers and revenue because it cannot provide services or products that people want at competitive prices. A company may be unable to keep up with market trends if they’re outsourcing, or they may ultimately find that if their internal marketing team falls behind, they must outsource to keep up.

Companies should also be aware of how changes in government policy might affect them. For example, suppose there is a change in taxes or subsidies for certain industries. In that case, this could impact how much profit they make per unit sold and, therefore, how many units they need to sell before making a profit margin.