Polydeck’s President, Ron Kuehl and Director of Supply Chain, Bryan Travis, reflect on supply chain in 2021 and what’s in store for 2022.
Q: How would you characterize the supply chain as you look into 2022?
Travis: The global supply chain remains strained on multiple fronts and will face ongoing pressure throughout much of 2022. As material availability improves and the logjam in transportation becomes less congested, there will be sections of the supply chain that ease. These pockets of easing, however, will likely be offset by other complications as the flow of raw materials work to normalize. Thankfully, Polydeck's strong relationships with suppliers have allowed us to foresee the current supply chain shortcomings and adjust our inventory positions in advance to prevent any such disruptions.
Q: What “shortages” if any are you (or the greater screening industry) seeing at the moment when it comes to screening equipment?
Kuehl: Steel, Polyurethane, and Rubber compounds are key materials that remain strained in the current environment. The resin and chemical industries have endured numerous impacts due to government restrictions, COVID-19 induced labor shortages, power interruptions at Gulf producer sites, and feedstock material shortages. Steel productivity is improving, with additional capacity coming online around the globe. A notable aspect of this current cycle has been the material disruptions and pricing inflation which has impacted multiple commodities and rippled across global markets. As a result, we have had to pass along some inflationary increases to our customers, but through our strong partnerships with suppliers and intentional efforts to maintain inventory levels we have been able to shield our customers from product disruptions.
Q: How are you advising customers to order for 2022?
Kuehl: With material and transportation impacts remaining front and center, customer collaboration and supply chain partnerships are a top priority. Today, in our customer conversations, we regularly emphasize the importance of communicating forecasts, growth plans, and development needs for 2022. Our operations team is preparing for growth and ensuring our ability to offer great lead times within the existing constraints. We look forward to continued customer conversations and value collaborative planning and communication so that we can do our best to hold lead times and offer our customers improved service during these difficult times. Our ability to meet our customers’ needs is only possible through the weekly input we receive from our suppliers to adjust raw materials levels, by leveraging our global manufacturing sites and suppliers and increasing our finished goods stock levels.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
Kuehl: This disruptive cycle has driven the need for an increased focus on supply chain efficiency and resiliency. The risk mitigation process and its effective deployment has become a critical part of supply chain management at Polydeck. As a customer to our raw material partners and a supplier to the mining industry, Polydeck has embraced a holistic approach to risk mitigation as a vital part of our business process allowing us to remain as dependable as ever.
*Article will also be available in Pit& Quarry January issue
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