COVID-19 snarled the vast network of land and sea-going vessels moving goods between continents, decreasing consumer product supplies and boosting the cost of shipping as a result — two key factors behind today’s soaring inflation rates.
COVID-19 showed how vulnerable the Northeastern BC region’s industrial employers, first-line suppliers, retail and service sector businesses and critical supply chains were to the global economic disruption. The region was luckier than many, due to our reliance on big industry, including major energy projects like Coastal Gaslink and LNG Canada, as well as our sparse population and smaller communities. The construction crews working on these projects also helped keep service sector businesses like hotels and restaurants afloat during these tough past two years. The forestry sector also benefitted from higher lumber prices, as COVID-19 sparked home renovation projects throughout North America.
Then, Mother Nature decided to dish out more calamity. Fires burned tracts of the Northeastern BC forest during the dry, hot summer months. Massive flooding, rockslides and mudslides in November in southern BC destroyed highways and bridges, leading to shortages on northern grocery shelves.
Changing global weather patterns and the increase in novel pathogens like the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus make it wise to plan for similar upheavals in the future. Key is building resilience into supply chains. A North Peace Savings & Credit Union Advisor can help you incorporate vital contingencies into your business, ensuring it is adaptable to future challenges and crises. Building resilience means making plans to handle any future man-made or natural disruptions to your business by creating a crisis management plan. This means establishing a plan of action that will ensure cash flow and profitability for your business. Despite such cautions, the outlook is positive. The Northeastern BC region’s natural resources, infrastructure and young workforce presents a myriad of opportunities for businesses to grow and flourish in the emerging post-COVID-19 landscape.
Rethink standard sourcing practices — where possible, buy local! Support locally owned and operated businesses for supplies and services when possible. The need for new local suppliers across all sectors also presents an opportunity for enterprising young entrepreneurs to start businesses of their own. North Peace Savings & Credit Union can support this aspiration from initial idea through to grand opening and beyond.
Strengthen your supply network. Improve forecast demands and manage inventory and risk more effectively by optimizing your supplier network.
Find Back-up Suppliers. Search out alternative suppliers just in case. Protect your supply chain and establish contingency plans in case your main supplier doesn’t deliver. During natural disasters or in health crises, try to keep buying from your regular suppliers but arrange for backup in case you don’t receive the inventory you need. Make sure to get prices and credit terms.
Access supply chain financing to improve inventory. North Peace Savings & Credit Union can help with inventory problems by providing funding to pay suppliers and acquire new purchases. Cash-flow is key to getting sufficient inventory to meet customer demand.
Build a financial safety net. Secure a reserve of cash that will allow you to survive a drop in revenue. Is cash flow a constant problem? You may need to raise prices and reduce business expenses. Put away extra cash in a separate business chequing account.
Know that a North Peace Savings & Credit Union Advisor is always here to help you with any of your business needs.
Shannon Luscombe is a Manager, Retail Advisory with North Peace Savings and Credit Union with a decade of experience working within the Credit Union system. She moved from Vancouver Island in 2019 to be with her husband who works in the Oil & Gas industry, bringing with her, Credit Union knowledge and experience to join the NPSCU team. She has a passion for helping Members succeed in achieving their financial goals, by sharing strategies and advice gained from a combination of education and experience in the financial industry.
Shannon says “the friendly people of Fort St John have made me feel right at home here and I am loving Northern life. I enjoy exploring the Peace region and all the beauty it has to offer with outdoor hiking, biking, and kayaking.”