Even though it's only late-November, organizations up and down the supply chain would be wise to start crafting their plans for what they will do when the new year arrives. Of course, many companies have already taken at least some steps toward this goal, but now is the time to go whole-hog on the effort so that you can come back from the holiday season in a position to really hit the ground running.

The following suggestions are just a few of the things you should try to tackle during these efforts, so you can start off 2021 on the right foot:

1) Revamp your workflows

For your purchasing department, in particular, it's a good idea to look at your own internal processes and see what you do and do not do well, according to Four Business Solutions. No company is 100% efficient in their operations, so it's important to simultaneously lean into the things that work well (and identifying why they do) and try to minimize the impact of those that do not (and likewise getting to the bottom of those hang-ups). That kind of effort will go a long way toward smoothing out everything you do and making you a more streamlined department in the new year.

A new year may require new purchasing strategies and processes.A new year may require new purchasing strategies and processes.

2) Put together a Q&A document for partners

If you find yourself answering the same questions over and over with various suppliers or customers, it might be a better use of everyone's time to create a document that answers some of the most frequently asked questions in a clear (but not too specific) manner, Four Business Solutions added. That way, while there may still be some issues that need to be ironed out in a new deal, everyone enters with at least a baseline understanding of what your processes look like.

3) Circle back to identify your supply chain risks

Generally speaking, companies operating within the supply chain will have a pretty good idea of what their risk factors are at any given time, according to Frevvo. However, if you haven't reassessed in the past few months — as issues around the novel coronavirus continue to shift and evolve — now is certainly the time to do it. That way, you can keep working on overcoming those issues throughout the holiday season and try to come up with a solution you can have in place shortly after the new year.

4) Try to work far in advance

Along similar lines, you should have a pretty clear picture at this point of what your holiday season is going to look like, but you might not have done all the same legwork for the new year, according to Supply Chain Game Changer. Once you are able to put together a near-comprehensive list everything you will need soon after the start of 2021, it becomes easier for your procurement department to ease into that time even with all the time off and other issues that typically accompany the holidays — and can hold a business back.

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