It frustrates me to see the oversupply by major suppliers to small businesses – the overloading of stock way beyond what could be reasonably sold. Over supply in terms of range and in terms of quantity of an item.

I see it across several retail channels. I see it happening to the independents and not the national and international chains. And the independent retailers let it happen time and again. They say no and then don’t fight hard to prove that no actually means no.

The result is over stocked stores and under performing businesses.

My theory is that some national and global suppliers have a strategy of oversupplying their small business retail outlets because they can get away with it. And they can because these small business owners are too tired from struggling through each day to actually do the measurement necessary to know they are being ripped off.

Is it illegal? Maybe. Is such over supply unethical? Absolutely.

Even with software like that from my company it takes time to read the reports and then guts to act and with some of these suppliers also providing working capital for the business the challenge is made all the more difficult.

I don’t know what the answer is, however, the more small businesses owners who stand by a no I don’t want any more of this or that the better. Training in getting to no would be invaluable!

If I see it in the data for any business I analyse I tell them and offer to speak to the supplier involved. In most cases they want to back off and find another way to balance the business. It’s sad to see people making decisions which are not businesslike and which will only serve to further harm the business in the long term.

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