Managing an international supply chain for a fast-growing CPG company is quite a challenge – and doing it during the age of COVID is another story. As you might recall from Amin’s story on the formulation of BOMANI, we traveled the world to source the highest quality ingredients, because we believe you deserve it. This means that we must manage bringing ingredients in from all around the world. We are thankful to work with such great partners who have extensive experience, but even with all the experience in the world there are still going to be unforeseen challenges and bumps in the road. I think the most important thing to make sure the business can function and operate smoothly during times of turbulence is creating clear communication channels – at times, even making sure to over-communicate. Even if there are unforeseen challenges, if people are given the information, they have time to adjust accordingly.
In a fast-growing company, one of the things we struggle with is inventory management and production projections. Early stage CPG companies are always concerned with cash flow – you always want to make sure to find the balance of not having too much inventory on hand that ties up your cash flow, but also be prepared to scale when opportunities come your way. It’s one of the hardest things to manage. Yes, this means that sometimes you have to say no to a seemingly amazing opportunity, which might be tough if you just got an offer to expand into a large retailer or enter an attractive geography. Your top priority must be to think about what is best for your business at that stage of its life cycle.
For us at BOMANI, like all fast-growing brands, projections often need adjusting. This is more true than ever during the age of COVID. This is one of the many reasons we’re so thankful to have such great partners who we keep communicate with frequently and honestly. We’ve developed true partnerships with our manufacturers – they want to see us be successful and empower BOMAN to fulfill its true potential. They understand that things change quickly, and we need to be flexible to be able to react. Now, no one could have predicted a Global Pandemic was going to hit, but it’s one of the reasons you need to be flexible and have clear communication with your partners. We’re thankful to say that COVID hasn’t interrupted our supply chain operations, but at the start of the pandemic, no one knew exactly what was going to happen. We were able to work on a plan with our partners to produce more inventory than we had initially projected so that in the case of a supply chain interruption, we would have ample product on hand and be able to supply the demand in the market. It’s one of the reasons we were in a position to say yes to a couple large retailers, with over 500 stores who wanted to launch us this Fall – stay tuned for news on that!
Bumps in the road are going to happen. It’s impossible to perfectly project the trajectory of a fast-growing company. Even with the most well thought out plan, one where you seem to have thought out every scenario and your reaction in turn, a Black Swan event like a global pandemic could come around and flip all those plans on their head. My main takeaways and pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs or those who are managing a supply chain is to establish strong relationships with your supply chain partners. We insisted on working with partners who shared our vision and created relationships where they understood that unforeseen things are going to happen – and that we need to work together and be flexible for BOMANI to reach its massive potential. The last piece of advice is the one I opened with – make sure to have strong lines of communication with all parts of your business. If people in the busines are given all the proper information they can often adapt and come up with solutions. This is key and if you don’t communicate you won’t survive.