No matter how much effort you put into selecting the best providers and creating strong relationships, businesses have ups and downs, and not all manufacturers, suppliers, or solution providers stay afloat.
What happens when your supplier goes out of business? How does this impact your current business operations? What happens if something breaks, needs maintenance, or you have questions?
Often, a business will be acquired by or merge with another business supplier. This is the best scenario, as often there will be plans and processes set in place to help current customers transition.
Sometimes, a business goes under. When this happens, the impact it can have on a fleet depends on the type of supplier. A vehicle manufacturer folding may be more impactful than a maintenance provider. Sometimes it may not be a business folding but a line of vehicles being discontinued.
The best thing a business can do is plan ahead. Unfortunately, the worst can happen. Include verbiage in contracts and agreements related to recourse should a supplier go out of business is smart.
Be smart and research and know your suppliers' financial status. Being prepared for the worst can help you be proactive instead of reactive.
Analyze the Impact
First, you need to analyze the impact. Is this going to seriously impact operations? For example, if your fleet single sources a vehicle from one automaker and that vehicle is discontinued or the automaker goes bankrupt, that can seriously hamper replacements, parts, and maintenance. Action must be taken immediately.
Find Other Options
Second, you need to figure out your alternative options. One helpful suggestion is networking. It’s likely you are not the only fleet being impacted. Reach out to your local agencies and associations or networking groups and find out what others may be doing. Someone else may have already begun the research into alternatives and have some info they are willing to share.
Third, you need to make changes. Obviously, things cannot continue as status quo, so once you have determined what options you have, it’s time to make the change and select your new business partner.
If you have found yourself in a situation where a business partner or supplier has gone out of business, don't wait until the last minute to find a solution. You risk increasing vehicle downtime and reducing overall fleet productivity.
Have you had a situation where a supplier or business partner has gone out of business? What did you do to work around it and find a solution?
E-mail me and lets chat!
Lauren Fletcher, executive editor
Work Truck magazine