5 ways to manage a PR crisis caused by supply chain disruptions

by | May 23, 2024 | Public Relations

A supply chain can get interrupted due to several factors—geopolitical issues, bad weather, natural calamities, war or internal conflict, cyberattacks, workforce strikes, etc.

This disruption put severe pressure on the companies and their logistical partners to deliver the same quality products in the same time frame while balancing these additional operational difficulties.

If not managed efficiently, this could turn out to be a PR nightmare. So as a company, how do you tackle supply chain disruptions with strong PR? Here, we will look at five efficient ways to deal with PR crisis due to supply chain blackouts. But first, it’s important to understand the impact caused by logistical hiccups on both—stakeholders and the company’s reputation.

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Impact of supply chain disruption

Disruptions can take a variety of forms, such as natural disasters, political instability, and customer demand changes. No matter what triggers them, these disruptions can cause big problems for businesses, their customers, and the broader economy.

For businesses, the main effect of a supply chain disruption is losing sales and profits. When the supply chain breaks down, companies can’t get their products or services to customers on time. This often leads to lost sales, missed opportunities, and unhappy customers. 

On top of that, disruptions can make production more expensive, raise storage costs, and increase shipping expenses.

All these issues can really hurt a company’s profits. However, the indirect effects of supply chain disruptions can be even more expensive. When things go wrong in the supply chain, businesses often have to scramble to find new ways to get their products or services to customers.

This can mean production delays, lower quality, and less happy customers. Supply chain disruptions can also harm a company’s reputation and weaken customer loyalty.

And it doesn’t stop there—supply chain problems can affect the entire economy. When companies can’t deliver on time, it can lead to a drop in consumer spending.

If this is not contained, it can spiral into a PR crisis that badly hurts a company’s reputation. Don’t worry, we are here to guide you how to navigate the PR situation through simple, yet powerful methods.

5 ways to manage a PR crisis due to disrupted supply chain

To contain a PR crisis that has occurred due to supply chain disruption, you should consider deploying these five effective ways:

1. Issue a public apology to alleviate the chaos

The first step in PR crisis management is to publicly acknowledge the situation and apologize for it. But along with that, provide a guarantee that you will take all possible steps to mitigate the damages caused due to this incident. With such a public apology, customers will have a positive outlook on you, considering that you are ready to make it all okay.

2. Tap into warehouse inventory to fulfill immediate orders

Check your inventory levels or safety stock from your inventory management software and tag items that can be fulfilled immediately. Proactive inventory management not only prevents stockouts but also cuts down on the costs associated with storing excess inventory. With data-driven analytics, businesses can accurately forecast demand spikes and plan their purchases in advance.

3. Hire third-party logistics or fulfillment partners

If your current logistics aren’t able to take up the increased demand or are facing technical difficulties, it’s better to have a third-party logistics provider on standby. Third-party logistics providers have exclusive relationships within the logistics sector. 

As a result, they will be able to instantly fill the gap in your logistics and ensure timely deliveries, maintaining customer satisfaction and minimizing loss. They can also help to offer greater volume discounts to clients. All of this can minimize overhead costs.

4. Showcase your efforts online to restore the balance

Now, if you’ve already taken the above-mentioned steps or are currently working on them, try to communicate the updates through social media and the press. They are the most powerful tools at your disposal to connect with your audience on a global scale.

Also, journalists from the mainstream media as well as independent media are actively present on platforms like X (Twitter) and YouTube and when you regularly post updates about your developments, they’re likely to pick up the story and follow it closely.

Your audience and people at large who also engage with your company and are active on these platforms can gain a sense of confidence in your brand through these updates.

5. Implement social media monitoring and response plan

When you proactively declare an SOS for your supply chain disruption on social media, people are bound to reply. Most of them would be critical, some sympathetic. You’d need an incident response plan on how to respond to different categories of posts or comments.

You don’t have to necessarily counter criticism with criticism but express the efforts you have made to improve it. Take charge of the narrative and direct the conversation on a positive note.

Along with that, consider using social media monitoring tools to keep an eye on the tracked keywords around your brand and monitor public sentiment.

Final thoughts

Supply chain management is a highly complex activity and requires constant attention. You need to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances that could disrupt your supply chain. 

Creating a risk management plan is crucial for keeping the supply chain running smoothly and protecting the business from unforeseen issues with suppliers. It helps turn chaos into order, providing a safety net for both the business and its customers. And with efficient PR management, you can quickly turn the situation in your favor, thereby saving your brand’s reputation.

Taher Batterywala
Taher Batterywala is a creative marketer who loves to write & design content that organically drives conversions. He is the creator of Pineable, the world's first content marketing design inspiration hub. He regularly shares his thoughts on LinkedIn about content design, SEO, and marketing. As a true cinephile, he admires movies above anything else.