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Businesses seek different ways to avoid inventory shortages and supply chain problems

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Shoppers are faced with sparsely stocked shelves of cleaning supplies at a big box store on January 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois

Fearing empty shelves, some retailers are stocking up what they can when they can. Scott Olson/Getty Images

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Many businesses have been building up their inventories when they can to make sure the congested supply chain doesn’t leave them empty-handed.

Early in the pandemic, Brandelyn Green figured she’d have problems sourcing the packaging she needs for her hair products company, called Voice Of Hair. “The caps, the spray tops, any lids to jars.”

So, Green ordered a lot more packaging than she needed. She’s also adapted the style of packaging she uses to what’s available, like using plain, white caps, that are easier to get instead of the fancier, gold ones that are harder to find.

“Customers, like, they just want the products when they want them,” Green said. “So whether you have a gold top or a white top, as long as the product is good, then they’re happy.”

Thing is, many businesses don’t have much control over what they can stock up on. Chris Duong, who manages Hawaii Supermarket near Los Angeles, said he’s been buying up whatever is available at the time.

“We know by now that any inventory that comes in is temporary, so whatever we can overstock on, we try to.”

The store’s been promoting those products to shift demand away from other products that are in short supply, he added.

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