The global supply chain is under unprecedented pressure. A nearly two-year pandemic has spawned a litany of challenges – from container shortages to the closure of high-volume shipping ports and reduced air cargo travel to shipping route congestion. Industries around the world are reeling.
That’s not to mention the challenges that pre-existed this current pandemic – particularly those resulting from trade volatility sparked by trade tensions between the United States and China.
All of this is arguably being manifested no more so than through delivery days, order backlogs and, by extension, costly downturns for many operators as they wait for key components to their businesses.
We recently caught up with Jamie Jolliffe, Inside Sales Manager at Alpha Controls & Instrumentation, for advice on the best way to mitigate long shipping delays moving forward.
Q: Are shipping delays currently impacting Alpha's customers?
Jamie: “We continue to be able to ship orders as quickly as less than a week. That being said, there are some suppliers who are more directly impacted by global shipping delays, and that can result in lead times for certain products that extend beyond six to eight weeks. This, in turn, can impact our customers in terms of their downtimes, how long they take to deliver their own products to their customers, etc.”
Q: What recommendations do you have to mitigate delays?
Jamie: “The best advice I can give is to order as early as possible. I would also stress that customers can contact us in advance of ordering to discuss their requirements so we can confirm accurate lead times or potentially find another option for them.”
“For example, if a customer is looking for a level instrument (or a particle counter, or moisture meter, or pressure transducer) and the lead time was too long, we would work with them to understand their situation to see if there was another option at a different price point that could be delivered sooner. In general, we will work with each specific customer on their requirements to see what we can offer them.”
Q: Are there certain products that are more readily available?
Jamie: “Absolutely! Anything we stock will not be impacted by any of these delays since we already have them on the shelf and are ready to ship out. Our website tells customers which products are in stock, and how many of each item we have.”
Q: How would you grade Alpha's supply chain?
Jamie: “Alpha has more than 50 manufacturers that we represent/distribute, so we have the benefit of having a wide range of supply chains. For example, we deal with companies that manufacture right here in Ontario. They typically have very quick lead times and have been minimally impacted by the global shipping delays. We also deal with companies that manufacture in Europe or Asia, and they have been generally more impacted by these delays. The good news is we have many of their components in stock, too.”
Q: Does Alpha Controls offer any other competitive advantage when it comes to mitigating delays?
Jamie: “Most of the components ordered through Alpha need to be calibrated before being put into service. While some of our competitors might outsource that service and thereby extend delivery times, we offer a state-of-the-art, in-house lab that allows us to provide quick turnarounds. We also offer rush services that often enables us to get these components into customers’ hands in a matter of days.”
Learn more about how Alpha Controls can solve your calibration needs. Contact us to reach one of our trained representatives today.