Transportation & Logistics

Tackling Global Supply Chain Issues Requires Fresh Thinking And Better Tech

Illustration of piggy bank in back of dump truck looking at schematics on computer.

By Lakhveer Singh Jajj

Small entrepreneurs never thought much about the supply chain before the pandemic threw the world into disarray. 

Now, that’s all they think and worry about. And while investors have sunk over $7 billion into supply chain-oriented ventures so far this year, there’s more work to be done to bring solutions to life and to market.


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My family established a small food market in Toronto’s Little India neighborhood in 1981 shortly after immigrating to Canada. My three siblings and I helped my parents run the store, learning the basics about operating a business as we went along. 

Lakhveer Singh Jajj is the founder and CEO of Toronto-based Moselle
Lakhveer Singh Jajj is the founder and CEO of Toronto-based Moselle

Our market specialized in importing Indian food products and dried fruit and nuts from abroad. In doing so, it was our first modest foray into developing and managing an international supply chain. My parents put me in charge of this for a time as a teenager. It required monitoring and scheduling payments, but the supply chain worked efficiently with paper orders and invoices and the odd phone call — kind of like magic. 

I left the store to study computer science and embarked on an exciting career in software engineering. Not long ago, however, as my father was preparing to retire, I learned that the supply-chain planning process had not changed. It was essentially run the same way as when I was still working there, except with the odd spreadsheet and email exchange. 

To me, there seemed to be a great many opportunities for growth that were lost to fear of modernization. Much of this was rooted in discounting and ignoring the role of logistics in growing a business. 

This was all before the pandemic, of course. 

The post-pandemic retail world

Since 2020, owners and operators have faced a whole new set of disruptions, only one of which is the supply chain. If you survived or launched in the pandemic, you already know the pre-pandemic rules of managing growth and scaling up are obsolete.

One of the great transformations of pandemic-era retailing and services is the rise of e-commerce. In 2021, over 27 million Canadians were regular e-commerce users. That’s nearly three-quarters of the population. Canadian consumers are spending over $3 billion a month through e-commerce, led by the fashion sector, and that is expected to rise steadily until 2025. 

A growing number of these e-commerce transactions are flowing through small to medium-sized businesses. To accommodate them and gain more customers, these businesses must focus intensely on two pillars: Making sure customers get the goods and services on time, and making their e-commerce platforms bulletproof to hackers and tech hiccups.

Inventory management and demand planning

Customers are still spending, and companies are still pivoting to meet their demands. A key piece of the puzzle is improving planning through inventory management and demand planning to make sure your brand grows in the channels that are right for you, even through tough times. 

New sales channels bring new overhead and stress. 

Companies like Amazon have the capacity and staff to adapt to new business and sales environments. New e-commerce businesses launched during the pandemic such as designer clothing, protein bars and kitchenware, do not. 

There are solutions to the great supply chain disruption of the 2020s for small businesses, and they are simpler and more accessible than owners may think. 

My company Moselle, for example, has developed a suite of data analytic tools that provide inventory planning and demand management to entrepreneurs. The role of these tools is to determine how much product to order, when to order it, and to automatically place the order. This allows businesses to manage administrative challenges like scaling up their supply chain.

The overarching goal: to provide SMBs with technology, data and support to scale up their supply chains efficiently — giving owners, operators and managers more time to create, market and sell. 

The bottom line for any company in e-commerce (and, frankly, commerce) is the need to surmount massive challenges to manage supply chains — predict product shortages before they happen and scale it up rapidly — in order to manage SMB headaches and challenges. The best way to manage a supply chain is through accurate, rapid information that is available to managers when they need it. 

With the data collection and user-friendly dashboard to keep tabs on the supply chain, entrepreneurs will be liberated to focus on new products and channels. Like imported dried fruit and nuts sold as gifts via an online store.

Lakhveer Singh Jajj is the founder and CEO of Toronto-based Moselle, a digital platform that helps businesses streamline the sourcing, ordering and scheduling of goods from suppliers.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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