This month, Quickslide’s Adrian Barraclough discusses supply chain challenges and how to manage them.
Every one of us, up and down the supply chain, has experienced delays and price increases for raw materials, components and finished products. And where once we might have seen it as a sneaky way of manufacturers increasing their prices, by now we must all accept that the problems are very real and not going to go away any time soon. Which means that now is a good time to consider how to deal with the new reality of price hikes and product shortages, with a few gentle suggestions to make it all a little easier.
The best way to deal with the problems in the first place is by accepting not just that they exist but also that they are here to stay. The cost of raw materials such as steel, aluminium and plastic resin, for example, are predicted not just to remain high, but to continue upwards for well into 2022. So, with this in mind, we can all get on with talking to our suppliers and then communicating truthfully with our customers. By doing so, we can prevent many (not all – there will always be one or two!) irate customers constantly nagging for their job to be finished – or even begun!
Great relationships with suppliers have never been more important: by talking to them regularly and insisting that you want realistic delivery dates, you can in turn keep your customers informed. Setting aside a period each day to update everyone will save constant interruptions throughout the rest of the day.
Honesty and transparency…
Be honest – and you should expect that from all of your suppliers too. The supply chain issues are affecting EVERYONE and EVERY company, no matter what they supply. And companies boasting that they have no problems should be regarded with suspicion. Although you’ve probably found that out for yourself by now.
If it seems too good to be true…
…then it absolutely will be. It doesn’t matter how prestigious a fabricator might be, if the products and materials aren’t available…they aren’t available. The current materials and products shortages are a world-wide phenomenon and are the ultimate leveller – so be wary of any company offering any, let alone substantial, discounts when a/they don’t need to and b/they probably don’t have the stock anyway.
For windows and doors, these days every manufacturer has a huge range of options available. But try and avoid specials which will have longer lead times even in more normal times. With a huge range of ‘standard’ colours, glass and hardware choices your customers will hardly be limited, and most will be happy with the regular options available to them. But if they do insist on having that subtle shade of mauve for their frames (yep, it can be done) then check with your supplier for their lead time before you accept the order.
Check and double check. And check again!
The old adage of ‘measure twice, fit once’ is even more important when re-ordering is likely to take considerably longer than usual. Make sure you are certain about dimensions, get your customer to double check their specification and sign for it; and when you place the order, double check it again. If you are uncertain about any aspect of the products you are ordering – ask! The order desks of any decent fabricator will know their products inside out and be happy to help.
Follow these few simple pointers and buying windows and doors won’t add to your ‘out of stock’ angst!
For further information on Quickslide visit https://www.quickslide.co.uk/