Supply chain shortages, product outages and long lead times continue to be a factor in most, if not all, areas of business around the world. Just when you think you have a wrinkle pressed flat, another seam begins to crease. At the same time organizations and employees still feel the pressure to meet customer requests, revenue goals and deadlines. While we can’t smooth out all the supply chain issues you are experiencing, here’s what we’ve learned works to help mitigate the delays.

Start early. Begin your project as soon as you can and add time to the overall project timeframe to account for both known and potential delays in the supply chain.

Consider options. Are there other, available products you can substitute for your preferred and/or unavailable first choice? If so, consider the substitution and perform a quick cost benefit analysis. Which has the greater cost and benefit: choosing an available, second choice product or potentially delaying the overall project by waiting for the preferred product to become available?

Prioritize vendors. Look to vendors who can provide multiple, varying options from other manufacturers. Evaluate which vendors you choose and perhaps begin a preferred supplier program that pushes more requests through these vendors.

Order early. When scoping your project, prioritize your dependencies and order those items as soon as you can. Placing orders early ensures your “spot in line” as well as locks in a lower price. As issues continue to occur within supply chains, price jumps are occurring at non-regular intervals.

Plan for delays. This can vary from padding your overall timeline to preparing your team and client to receive a call saying your order will be delayed.

Have a backup plan. Think through what contingencies can be accommodated and how they impact the overall project timeline. This involves both products and people. Will you have the staff needed ready to implement if a shipment comes in on time? If it is delayed?

Communicate early and often. Clients will be more understanding if they know at the beginning what the possible delays will be and when to look out for them. Be sure to keep them updated of progress and delays.

No one knows how long we will continue to see supply chain issues impacting how work gets done. Employing these tactics will improve the success of your projects even when supply chain issues are ironed out.