By now, everyone is fully aware of the supply chain challenges many manufacturers are being faced with. It is affecting the IT industry sharply and everyone is scrambling to get supply as demand continues to increase. Each manufacturer has different ways of managing the situation to minimize the impact on their consumers. But in the end, any product comprised of microchips, is or will be affected by supply chain issues.
Practically every product in our portfolio is composed on hundreds of smaller components, that create the whole. In the manufacturing process, every component must be readily available to finish production, and a clear visibility of future component supply is needed to predict and forecast production. In many cases today, component manufacturers are giving visibility of the next few days or maybe weeks at most due to raw material constraints. This causes a marked disruption in being able to forecast, leading to shortages in production.
Adding insult to injury, logistics issues are also causing a great impact on the supply chain issues. Product is taking much longer to reach its destination, due to the congestion at the ports. Manufacturing plants abroad, can’t get enough containers to transport the product since containers are being rationed and are taking too long to come back from their round trip. Many manufacturers have changed their mode of transportation exclusively to air shipments to mitigate this situation, but this unfortunately has an associated cost.
At Westham, we understand how this situation affects our customers, and we empathize strongly with them. We understand that if our customers quote a longer lead time than their competition, they are likely to lose the deal. To address this, we are doing many things to ameliorate the supply chain effects. I would like to share with you some of the actions we take for our clients.
What we are doing:
- At the time of quoting, we are proactively checking lead times to make recommendations ahead of time for products that have better lead times.
- Our presales team is offering alternative solution recommendations for projects, that afford quicker turnaround times.
- Proactively negotiating price equalization on higher models that have better availability, while keeping the price of the lower model. For example if the customer requested a 3000 series unit, we can offer a 4000 series at the same price.
- We have access to other distributor inventory in the USA through a program called fulfillment. Our clients not only have access to our inventory, but all the other major distributors as well at the same cost.
- We are offering logistics services to our customers that expedite the delivery process. A good logistics operation can save several day or even weeks.
- We are constantly monitoring our backlog to see if anything gets stuck in supply chain to give recommendations or make changes early in the process. This is critical! You don't want to find out an item in your order will never be produced after waiting weeks with it in backlog.
The bad news is that it will get worse as 2022 progresses. The good news is that we have found ways to expedite orders by using these steps and having the right knowledge to be flexible. In these challenging times, partnering with a distributor that is experienced and customer focused is key. If you are not working with Westham, I invite you to contact us. And if you are already working with us, I want to thank you for being a valued customer.