How to Handle the Bumps in the Road
Our industry relies on a sometimes fragile supply chain. I know I’m preaching to the choir but how many of us have had that unfortunate conversation with a customer about their order being delayed? Many times, the manufacturer couldn’t procure the component of a product thus unable to produce said product and the ripple effects go on and on.
I know in our company we are currently struggling to meet the demand for various types of internal load centers, but earlier in the year we saw this component (Lugs) prevent shipment of our pedestals.
Are there really any solutions to help prevent these supply chain issues? Turns out there are a few:
Forecasting & Inventory Management: By learning what your customers need and when they need it by you can greatly improve your chances of not being negatively affected by a period of high demand. For example, we typically we see an increase in the purchasing of large components to a campground- pedestals, power boxes, transformers, junction boxes, etc. in the spring and fall. The summer campers have left and the snowbirds haven’t come (or left) yet. Additionally, many companies including ours offer some great tradeshow special pricing on big ticket items like pedestals and power boxes. However once summer hits it is time for the repairs and the replacement part orders. Around this time we make sure our inventory is packed plenty of meters, receptacles and breakers because by that time campers have inevitably fried, overloaded or backed into them.
Manufacturer Supply Chain: Sometimes our vendors are blindsided with a breakdown in their supply chain. The lug example is a case in point. This winter a major supplier of lugs in the world stopped shipping, reason unknown. Quite quickly all manufacturers of electrical equipment saw backorders on their products that couldn’t be finished. We try to stay ahead of problems like this with the above inventory management. But this time it just didn’t work
We still have a long way to go before we in our industry will be able to promise an issue free supply chain but until then my advice to you is to take advantage of every bit of technology you can find and do your best to forecast your customers needs while also keeping the right products in your inventory at the right time of the year.
~ Wizard of Watts