The Backorder, March 20 2024

Written by
Start a trial of Unleashed software
Written by
4 Minute Read
Share Blog:

In this issue:

  • The latest in global supply chain news
  • 5 secrets you can steal for better cash flow
  • Growth advice from the founder of a healthy soda brand
  • Job opportunities from Fujitsu, Tesla, and more

Not subscribed to The Backorder? Sign up for free to get your weekly dose of supply chain insights and expert advice.

In the supply chain headlines

  • Manufacturing profit margins recovering. Stabilising supply chains and reduced lead times have resulted in improved performance for the global manufacturing sector, based on an analysis of 2,600 organisations. Learn more in the latest Manufacturing Health Index report.
  • UK pledges additional £120m to support low-carbon supply chains. The UK government announced the additional funding for the Green Industries Growth Accelerator (GIGA), bringing the total to almost £1.1bn.
  • Houthi threat softened by pandemic prep. Firms are dealing better with the current Red Sea crisis thanks to their experience of the Ever Given vessel blockage and Covid disruptions, says supply chain consultant Lisa Anderson.
Shipping routes

5 secrets for improving cash flow

  1. Introduce early payment discounts. Save money and increase cash flow by negotiating early payment discounts with your suppliers. If you’re selling B2B, convert those savings into brownie points by offering the same deal to your customers.
  2. Get ruthless about technology. Software is cheaper than staff – so give employees the tools they need to add maximum value and efficiency. Ask yourself which workflows are slowing your ability to conduct business, then speak to your accountant or advisor to find a tech stack that grows efficiency.
  3. Cull overheads. Are you paying for pre-covid levels of space, when half your workforce is now remote? Maybe it’s time to change premises. Audit overhead costs such as rent, utilities, insurance, and transport. Do you pay for parking? Walk outside now and count any empty spaces – you may be paying for something you just don’t need.
  4. Optimise your reorder points. Avoid having too much capital tied up in inventory; use stock optimisation software to set optimal min and max levels based on historical data and sales trends. This will help you slash your inventory and storage costs in one fell swoop.
  5. Lease big ticket items. A quick fix when funds are low is to lease instead of purchase for large investments that would otherwise decimate your cash reserves. 

Soda made safe – Meet Ben Vear

Ben Vear

We chatted with Ben Vear, former General Manager of Minor Figures turned Co-Founder & CEO of Living Things Soda, to see what life’s like for UK beverage brands in 2024. Here’s what he had to say.

What’s been happening in the world of Ben Vear?

“I recently left Minor Figures to found a functional soft drink brand called Living Things Soda. We wanted to shake up the beverage space with a clearly differentiated flavour and nutritional profile. So we developed Living Things: [a soda that’s] low in sugar, high in fibre, and belly-loving.”

Why did you choose healthy soda as your core product?

“The last decade has seen protein added into just about every food and drink product you can imagine – despite the fact most adults already consume sufficient levels of protein. There is, however, a fibre problem: most of us don’t consume enough. A study of over 2,000 adults found that 21% plan to prioritise gut health in 2024, 74% plan to consume more high-fibre food and drinks, and 86% of shoppers surveyed want to improve overall digestive health.”

You’re scaling fast – what are your top three tips for building a successful beverage brand?

“1) Hire a team of experts and give them the resource, space, and support to do their job. 2) Design and build a brand which is stretchy and can play across categories, is distinctive, and has on-shelf standout and the all-important pickup-ability. 3) Speed-to-market is important but keep your ingredient deck simple and clean, and ensure your product will get repeat purchases.”

Living Things is carbon negative – what does sustainability mean to you?

“Sustainability should be easy and accessible to all. As consumers, the food and drink we buy and consume is one of our simplest agencies for positive change. So we started out our journey as a carbon-negative brand with a local supply chain. We’re proudly made in the UK.”

What are you reading or listening to at the moment?  

“After studying business and managing teams for 10 years, I try my very best to avoid cliche business books. To relax, I read Adam Gnade: he’s a modern day John Steinbeck out of San Diego and living on a farm in Kansas. His work is poetic, beautiful, harsh, and sometimes crass. Always full of perspective.”

On the lighter side…

lighter side

Who’s hiring?

Sign up for The Backorder

Start receiving practical tips and supply chain insights in your inbox every week, free. Unsubscribe at any time.

More about the author:
Share Blog:
Oliver Munro - Unleashed Software
Oliver Munro

Article by Oliver Munro in collaboration with our team of specialists. Oliver's background is in inventory management and content marketing. He's visited over 50 countries, lived aboard a circus ship, and once completed a Sudoku in under 3 minutes (allegedly).

More posts like this
  • The Backorder: June 12, 2024

    Another week, another dose of SCM insights from around the world. ✈️ Today we look at some job-hiring tips to help you pick the perfect candidate ...

  • The Backorder, April 17 2024

    In this week’s edition of The Backorder: Tesla develops revolutionary car manufacturing process The Dos & Don’ts of managing supply c...

  • The Backorder: May 22, 2024

    In this week’s edition of The Backorder: Australian government to invest $22.7 billion in clean energy 7 simple tricks for turning slow-moving ...

Subscribe to receive the latest blog updates