How Would You React to a Lego Shortage?

If the store you own doesn’t sell Lego and you don’t happen to be a Lego customer, you may not realize that there is a Lego shortage in Canada. Sound irrelevant? Maybe – but maybe not. There are some good reminders in this article from Canadian Business about how resilient entrepreneurs must be in order to succeed.

Without any warning, stores in Canada were not being shipped their orders of Lego. An expansion into the Chinese market and the success of The Lego Movie are among the causes. For one retailer, the shipment represented their Christmas order. I was expecting to read comments of frustration and exclamations of “What will we do now!” Instead, these entrepreneurs gulped with the impact of the situation and then immediately moved into positive action.

Lessons from the Lego Shortage

#1:   Be on top of the situation. It is important to note that the supplier didn’t contact the customers about the cancelled orders. The store owners learned of the cancellation by checking on their orders as part of their regular practice. Finding out about problems early on gives you an advantage in meeting the challenge.

#2:  Have a backup plan. Can you fill the void if one supplier suddenly goes down?  In the Lego example they note that there were still 37 items that Canadian Lego retailers could order. Better to concentrate on what you can access than lament what you can’t order. Alternatively, can you access a different product line  – one that you may have been considering but were waiting to test. This might be the time.

#3:   Maintain business relationships. “I think Lego is now starting to reach out and let people know what’s going on.” That entrepreneur says that Lego is a great product and wants the communication channels open to see how they can work through the shortage together.

#4:  Stay positive. I was very impressed by these comments: “We have a very close and strategic relationship with Lego. …..We’re confident that the supply will meet our demand”.  Another entrepreneur states “The last couple of orders had less things shipped on them than normal, but it doesn’t mean that they won’t show up later in the year. Like any product, it’s about managing the inventory.”

I know that entrepreneurs have great determination but when I read this article I was reminded that resilience is every bit as valuable in meeting challenges head on and moving forward. We see and hear these kind of stories every day at the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba.  Entrepreneurs are simply amazing.

– Cindy Ruth