During these difficult and challenging times, businesses nationwide are facing unprecedented supply chain and disruption issues. At Pro Tapes®, we’re taking vital steps to help mitigate business and customer impact due to extended lead times on raw materials.
Below, you’ll find our top recommendations and advice from our team on how to mitigate supply chain issues for your business, too.
Top 3 Recommendations to Get Ahead of Supply Chain Disruptions:
- Continuously review and update stocked inventory levels to catch trends early (minimum/maximum stock levels).
- Constantly communicate externally with customers and vendors on product availability/constraints.
- Constantly communicate internally on any changes (sales with purchasing, and production with customer service).
What do the Pro’s Recommend?
We asked folks across our many teams for more advice – see their recommendations to help your business below.
In Depth Response from our Global Sourcing Manager, Russell Hart:
Increasing min/max levels to comply with the longer leads times from vendors helps keep stock levels at normal to higher levels.
Most vendors are suffering from the same issues, from producers of adhesive resins, pigments, and material backing. Unfortunately, these issues are nationwide at this time. Working with the “worst case scenario,” our lead time from vendors have tripled in the past year.
One way Pro® handled this shortage was to change the lead times accordingly. We also raised our stock levels to meet a 3 month supply of goods. This allows us to service our customers with fewer delays.
Increasing our stock levels to a 6 month supply when dealing with product coming from overseas.
Overseas shipments are more challenging to control because of various reasons, including:
- Cost of freight has increased 25-30%
- Tariffs are 25% with no exclusions
- Weather conditions (major storms) are causing interruptions on shipment arriving to port
Delays with docking times at port are another challenge. More than 200 vessels (East and West coast) compete at any given time for their turn to dock and get unloaded.
Once unloaded, the next hurdle is getting a truck to pick up the container. The shortage of drivers and restrictions on driving hours presents an additional obstacle.
We increased our stock levels to a six month supply so we could better weather these unpredictable situations.
Daily communication with all vendors on product availability/constraints, so we can communicate back transparently with customers.
During these trying times, communication is critical. We communicate with our vendors on a daily basis about material delays and shortages of components to make raw materials and finished goods. This valuable information allows us to give updates to our customers in a timely fashion.
We also hold production meetings twice a week with our customer support team, shipping managers and production managers. Based on these, we can adjust any dates on customer orders and communicate that back to them.
See More Advice from Our Pro’s on Mitigating Supply Chain Issues:
Kimberly Karmaou, CMA, Business Analysis & Planning Manager: “Have approved alternate sources in case they are needed.”
Michael Harned, Vice President of Operations: “Pro Tapes® took on the financial risks necessary to ensure minimal service disruption to our overall customer base. In addition, we now monitor stock levels to actual sales on a more frequent schedule.”
Chris Hart, Vice President of Sales & Marketing: “Practice good communication with customers and forecasting as often as possible. Communicating current lead times by item to customers is key, so we can book the order with enough time to fill within the quoted lead-time.”
Dana Hart, Customer Success & Business Development Manager: “We give weekly status updates to our customers regarding back orders, relaying extended lead time information accurately at the time of quotation. We proactively change estimated ship dates on items we are aware are on back order, prior to confirming the purchase order. We also provide substitutions/alternatives where and when we can, to keep customers production lines running.”
Pro Tapes & Specialties® is continuing to diligently monitor our extended lead times and countless other supply chain disturbances.
We’re here to do our best for you – reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org