Supply Chain and Inventory Challenges
Like just about every business out there, the transportation industry is experiencing supply chain and inventory challenges right now. One of the many unfortunate effects of the global pandemic is most places are having a hard time keeping product on the shelves, on the lots, or in the warehouse. And while we’re experiencing these difficulties as well, CSTK wants you to know we are doing everything we can to make sure we keep you on the road and running strong. So, we wanted to answer a few questions you may have about how these issues may impact you.
Why are there supply chain issues?
The simple truth is that it is a combination of problems. In a globalized economy, power and labor supply complications in China can have an outsized impact on how soon a certain good arrives on the shelf in the United States. Combine that with more people ordering home delivery online, no or wrong investments in supply chain infrastructure, and the limited capacity of our ports to handle extra demand from the economy opening back up, and you can see how a number of issues have contributed.
The pandemic exposed all those flaws at once. And during the shutdowns, people deferred maintenance on machines or equipment. So, with many companies needing those maintenance issues dealt with now, we have increased demand combined with the restricted supply. It truly is a perfect storm.
What difficulties can our customers expect?
While we deal with these issues, customers unfortunately should not be surprised if they experience supply instability and/or shipping delays. Although we are trying our best to avoid it, and working diligently with our manufacturers, sudden price variations may occur, as well.
When will the supply chain issues be resolved?
There are simply too many factors involved for us to say with any accuracy when this will be over. We are at the tail end of the manufacturing process for a lot of our work, like waiting for a final truck chassis to be delivered, for example. A lot depends on what happens in front of us. The short answer is “not for a while.” We will continue to monitor the ongoing situation and do our best to respond.
What steps is CSTK taking to alleviate the difficulties?
Considering our tagline is “Forward Thinking. Forward Moving.” it shouldn’t be a surprise that we have been planning and putting into place our strategy on how to keep meeting our customers needs during this time. That includes previously stocking up and boosting our inventory when we could, as well as implementing an enhanced inventory forecasting model for our parts departments. It includes more communications with our customer to let them know when certain parts and services become available. And we continue to push our partners and manufacturers to put our customers as the highest priority. We are ahead of the curve on this, with agile thinking and best practices, and we appreciate any suggestions on how we can improve.
In addition, Thermo King is implementing contingency plans to overcome supply chain delays and have made significant investments to limit disruptions including:
- Converting critical units from ocean to air freight.
- Diverting materials in ports from rail to truck transport.
- Hiring team drivers to expedite transport times of over-the-road-deliveries.
- Securing dedicated shipping lines.
- Utilizing expedited lane containers from Europe to Puerto Rico.
What steps can our customers take to prevent difficulties?
Plan ahead. Please don’t wait until the last minute. Get your orders in as early as you can. Cold weather is on its way, so get your preventative maintenance. If something becomes a much bigger problem, it will only take that much longer to fix.
And please have patience with our day-to-day employees and supervisors. We promise you, they are working as hard as they can to deal with these problems.
Nothing is more important to CSTK than the success of our customers. We know you are depending on us. Despite these challenges, you can rest assured, we will do everything in our power to keep you up and running.