Postal strikes threatened my business
We often attend events and trade fairs and need to put in large
orders with our suppliers so we can meet demand. On this occasion,
Royal Mail strikes meant our orders were delayed and our plans to
push certain products during the Thames Festival in September
2009 were thwarted.
Shortly before we were due to do one of the biggest events this
year, we had to order quite a lot of stock in. We thought we'd
given enough time for it to arrive, but with the Royal Mail strike,
in the week in the run-up to the event, we didn't receive some of
our best-selling products. Some of our hand-made bibs for babies,
which are very colourful and unique, and therefore very popular,
had failed to arrive.
Of course, they all arrived the day after the event - but it
wasn't in time for the event itself.
As far as actually trying to find an alternate plan, we had to
try and market the other products that we had in a different way.
What we had to do as a replacement was, obviously, provide the ones
we still had in stock and market the ones we had as alternatives,
and promote those instead.
We took a few orders, but it's difficult with events - people
like instant gratification. They say, if you've got it, we'll take
it - but if not, I'm not really that interested. We did take a few
orders. In the end it was fine, but at the time it caused a few
I think, in terms of providers that I would use for postage -
for example, some of my suppliers use only couriers, which you're
guaranteed a next-day service or a 48-hour service.
Now, if I am working to a deadline and dealing with a supplier who
doesn't use a courier, I will probably say to them, well, I'll pay
on this one occasion. If I know there's going to be a problem, I
would just want to guarantee that we were going to get our stock in
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