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April 27, 2022 | Mike Sprang

Staying Ahead of Supply Chain Disruptions

The uncertainties we’ve faced throughout many aspects of our personal and professional lives over the last several years have required flexibility and thoughtful navigation. There are few facets of our industry that have been as affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as the global supply chain. Commodity shortages, price increases, and transportation issues have wreaked havoc on what was previously a relatively predictable part of doing business.

While we can’t anticipate when the next global pandemic or supply chain disruption will occur, we have learned that a strategic planning approach enables us to respond to the challenges that come our way so that we may continue moving forward.

As challenging as it’s been since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, these years have provided several opportunities for learning and growth. Resulting adjustments have been in service of our larger goal to ensure we continue to exceed expectations and provide exceptional service today and well into the future.

The Global Context

Recent global events like the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal in 2021 caused major disruptions in the supply chain. However, advance planning allows us to manage and respond effectively to these disturbances and develop response procedures for future disruptions.

While we can manage the components we know, the ancillary impacts can have significant consequences. When there’s a supply shortage of commodities like steel and copper from a major producer, the ripple effects are felt throughout the supply chain as manufacturers seek to identify alternate sources. COVID-19 has presented several compounding challenges relating to disruptions in the workforce and transportation systems, all of which must be anticipated, monitored, and responded to effectively to mitigate risk and ensure project timelines are met.

Supply and Supplier Management

Many suppliers are managing the impacts of having fewer resources, resulting in longer lead times and cost escalations. Sourcing materials, like semiconductors and other key inputs currently in short supply, can take twice as long as it used to.

One solution is to take a strategic approach to supplier relationships, developing thoughtful partnerships with key suppliers for mutual benefit, helping to minimize the risks of an over-diversified supply chain. Building strategic partnerships also extends the ability to rely on suppliers’ extended networks, further mitigating sourcing risks.

Working closely with critical suppliers to manage inventory, including making forward buys whenever possible and relying on warehousing infrastructure, helps ensure the right supplies and equipment are available when needed.

Creative Solutions

A multi-pronged approach to managing supply chain disruptions is in service of building confidence and peace of mind. Supply is one side of the equation. The ability to manage demand by proactively planning for disruptions reduces their occurrence and results in real-time visibility improvements.

Knowing that commodity shortages and supply chain disruptions will arise, we can avoid major disruptions by being prepared to seek and implement other possibilities in the current macro environment, and by developing solutions that are nimble, innovative, and provide the foundation for long-term success.

Building Resiliency Now and into the Future

By building stronger relationships and forging deeper alliances with both critical suppliers and clients, we build collective resiliency and the ability to respond to future unanticipated regional and global events. We aim to continuously have our finger on the pulse of events happening at home and abroad that are affecting the supply chain, allowing us to be better prepared when issues arise.

By working with our team, you are investing in a strategic, relationship-based, and long-term approach to managing projects end-to-end. Contact us today to learn how you can benefit from Foth’s proactive approach to managing the supply chain and ensure your project’s success.

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