Your Supply Chain Management Guide: Successful Beauty Salon Supplies
Few companies are immune to the current supply chain issues. Even cosmetic giant Revlon cites the supply chain as a factor in its recent bankruptcy case.
Whether you’re starting a beauty salon or have been in the industry for years, you’re likely facing uncertainty in your business. Rising inflation means your supply budget needs to stretch further. And with consumers spending less, beauty treatments like botox injections, facials, waxing, and even haircuts often fall by the wayside.
In this unstable climate, how can salon owners and beauty supply stores ensure they get the beauty salon supplies they need when they need them? Read on for vital supply chain best practices.
What Defines a Sustainable Supply Chain?
The term “supply chain” denotes the network of suppliers a company deals with to purchase and deliver the products they sell. A sustainable supply chain tries to make this process as affordable, efficient, and environmentally friendly as possible.
There are three main areas encompass:
- Social sustainability—ensuring human rights are upheld
- Financial sustainability—money exchanges are equitable and affordable across the system
- Environmental sustainability—the system generates few to no emissions
How well a company reduces factors in these three areas defines the sustainability of its supply chain. In the beauty sector, you could also add other secondary factors, including seasonality and the effects of marketing.
Supply Chain Best Practices for Salon Suppliers
Of course, there are parallels in supply chain management across all sectors. But ordering supplies for the beauty industry has its niche requirements.
Map Out Your Supply Chain
To ensure your supply chain works efficiently, you need to be intimately familiar with every step of the process. First, you need to work out what levels of sustainability your company requires.
Do you need to buy, ship, or store at the lowest price? How fast do you need to receive products? Do your customers demand you adhere to practices like Fair Trade or specific environmental standards?
This requires mapping out your chain, including:
- The suppliers you work with
- The freight companies transporting your goods
- The warehouses you work with
You should continually audit this process to ensure all aspects meet your sustainability parameters. Don’t forget, too, to have a “Plan B:” a backup list of suppliers, freighters, warehouses, and more that you can turn to when any one path on your map fails.
Focus on Traceability
Don’t just leave the details of product packaging, shipping, and storage to your manufacturing and 3PL partners. Given the nature of the beauty industry, you must trace the path all your products take—known as traceability.
Traceability helps you pinpoint and fine-tune problem areas in your supply chain, from working out transport bottlenecks to ensuring products don’t sit in storage for too long. It also helps you figure out what went wrong in the case of product recalls—a surprisingly common occurrence in the beauty and cosmetics sector.
Customers appreciate the transparency that traceability offers, too. If they’re waiting too long for a product—say, syringe and needle kits—to arrive back in stock, you can provide them with the exact details of the delay.
If you want to receive (and send on to your customers) the most sustainable products possible, engaging in condition monitoring is vital. After all, cosmetic products are often fragile and susceptible to damage if mishandled.
This involves monitoring shipping conditions from the moment the product leaves the factory to when it arrives at your customer’s door—whether that’s by boat, plane, train, or truck. Factors to monitor include:
- Temperature and humidity
- Shocks or tilts that cause damage
- Exposure to environmental factors (like sunlight)
- Exposure to damaging external factors (like chemicals)
- Handling errors, such as mix-ups
Most freighters offer software you can use to monitor your shipments in real-time. Don’t be afraid to invest in and master these advanced digital tools as required.
Inventory Management Best Practices for Beauty Salons
A beauty salon is the last—or close to the last—destination in the beauty industry supply chain. As a salon manager, you must manage your inventory carefully to ensure you always have products on the shelf for your staff and clients.
One of the keys to sustainable salon stock management is ensuring your inventory is always well balanced. This means you don’t have too much of a product on the shelf, nor do you have too little (or no) product waiting in the wings for re-stocking.
For example, if you offer botox treatments at your salon, you need a steady supply of new needles. You need to know how many needles your technicians go through in a day or week so you can keep enough in stock to meet the demand.
Use software combined with regular audits to keep a close eye on stock levels. Sort your inventory by things like your in-house reference number, the distributor, the product SKU or barcode, name, description, and brand, wholesale and retail price, and volume level.
Remember, you don’t have to leave your business to the whims of a temperamental supply chain. While some things are out of your control, you can exert some influence over your inventory fluctuations.
Just as big cosmetic companies use marketing strategies to regulate or encourage consumer purchases, you can use sales and promotions to facilitate clients in their product or service purchases in your salon. In-house, you can set rules around how much of any given product your staff uses.
Ensuring Sustainable Access to Beauty Salon Supplies
If you’re running a busy salon or selling beauty salon supplies, the success of your business depends on quick, reliable access to popular products. In this current climate of instability, putting steps in place to ensure your supply chain is sustainable has never been more critical. Keep a close eye on inventory with regular audits and shop around often for new suppliers.
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