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Back to Business: Navigating Product Shortages and Supply Chain Disruptions

As the global economy gradually rebounds from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the industrial and building automation industries face new challenges caused by supply chain disruptions and component shortages.

"Business is up, and product orders are flooding in, but now we are dealing with shipping backlogs, and are struggling with component availability," said George Thomas, president. "Though we self-manufacture, many of the parts we use to build these products are on backlog."

Across the industry, there is a logistics backup and transportation shortage for receiving components and finished goods. We are experiencing delays along every step of the supply chain from point of manufacture to point of sale.

For products delivered from overseas, there are bottlenecks at the ports. Then, once products arrive at the warehouse, we encounter inventory management and shipping delays.

"Even if products arrive at the warehouse, there might not be a truck available to deliver them," said Thomas. "Recently our components sat in a warehouse ten miles away, and the supplier could not release and deliver the product due to a shortage of trucks."

Keeping items in stock is a challenge. Traditionally, for products that are in stock, we ship orders within two business days. Orders can still be placed online for most products, but due to Covid-related shipping delays and out-of-stock inventory, we've had to alert our customers to longer ship times for some of our products.

We are constantly reassessing and adapting to meet our customer requirements. We've increased safety stock levels to better anticipate future orders, we've expanded the transportation methods used to receive parts and we've increased our use of air shipments to reduce shipping bottlenecks. "Air shipments are a more expensive mode of delivery," said Joe Stasiek, sales manager. "But we know first-hand that a shortage of just one component can stop you from completing a product build. Our primary goal is to support our customers and minimize the impact these issues have on their ability to conduct business."


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