Start with supply chain bottlenecks, toss in labor shortages, dynamic markets, and a bit of unpredictable weather, and you’ll begin to see the uncertainty that lies ahead for growers and ag retailers this season. While having a Plan B is good, in 2022, it may take a Plan Z to overcome these challenges. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for possible disruptions.
Expand your network.
When it comes to solving problems, what you know is often not nearly as important as who you know. Collaborative thinking and creative ideas can fuel practical solutions, so build out a network of trusted advisors you can call on when times get tough.
Last season, aerial applicators were hard to come by in some areas, which put ag retailers in a pinch to get their customers’ acres covered. To avoid those types of situations, expand your network to include multiple operators and build relationships that help support your business objectives.
As the saying goes, the best offense is a good defense. In 2022, you want to insulate your business and your customers’ operations from uncertainties that could limit profitability potential. You can do that by thinking through “what if” scenarios to identify and address potential roadblocks.
For example, you might ask, “What if I’m not able to secure enough glyphosate to support all of my customer orders?”. Brainstorm all the possible alternatives and outcomes so that you’ve got a strategy in place to address the situation if it arises.
The ag industry is in a dynamic state, and things are evolving quickly. The only way to navigate price fluctuations, product shortages and logistical bottlenecks is to have open, honest communication with your suppliers and farmers. Plan well in advance and try to secure products as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, farmers have become accustomed to on-demand service, but it may be impossible to satisfy every need in a timely fashion this year. Set realistic expectations with your customers and make sure they are involved in contingency planning, so there are no surprises in-season.
If we’ve learned anything over the past couple of years, it’s that uncertainty is the only certainty. But, with good planning and open communication, you’ll be in a much better position to deliver the service your farmers rely on.
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