Supply chain expert Lisa Anderson discusses how to ready your supply chain for a surge in demand.

Ah, the irony: After grinding it out during the early days of your business trying to cobble together a critical mass of customers, a sudden surge of demand cripples your company.

Whether it’s a highly effective marketing campaign or a new hit product, a crush of new customers is, on the surface, fantastic–but can also have potentially catastrophic ripple effects.

Lisa Anderson, a supply chain expert and consultant who founded LMA Consulting Group, says projecting future demand is paramount when facing a demand surge. But don’t expect absolute perfection in your sales forecasting or volume predictions.

“You’re always going to be 100 percent wrong if you need to do it in detail by product, by month,” Anderson told Inc.’s From the Ground Up podcast. “That’s normal. However, you want to be directionally correct.”

If setting those kinds of projections sounds tough, it is. To start, Anderson says, just break it down into your most granular target market or target consumer. Then ask: What do you think would be the most that would happen and the least amount that would? What’s your minimum, what’s your maximum for each group?

For the rest of her advice, listen to the full episode of From the Ground Up.


Originally published in Inc. June 6, 2024