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Screening insights: Planning for further supply headwinds

By |  December 23, 2021
Ron Kuehl says Polydeck is advising customers to share their 2022 forecasts and growth plans so his company can react accordingly. Photo: Polydeck

Ron Kuehl says Polydeck is advising customers to share their 2022 forecasts and growth plans now so his company can react accordingly. Photo: Polydeck

Jason Bass sees plenty to like about 2022 as it relates to the aggregate industry.

“There’s a lot of building going on, producers are producing and they’re running a lot,” says Bass, senior sales manager for Rhino Hyde products. “We’re seeing a lot of things in the field that haven’t slowed down.”

Still, Bass recognizes that supply constraints remain the elephant in the room. While Bass believes supply pains are easing somewhat, a number of issues will carry over to 2022 from 2021.

“Now, it’s logistics,” he says. “It’s getting a product out, getting it in time and getting it delivered.”

Bryan Travis, director of supply chain at Polydeck, has a similar view as he looks to the year ahead.

“The global supply chain remains strained on multiple fronts and will face ongoing pressure throughout much of 2022,” he says. “As material availability improves and the logjam in transportation becomes less congested, there will be sections of the supply chain that ease.”

Travis, however, says any pockets that ease in 2022 will likely be offset by other complications as the flow of raw materials normalizes. Until corrections happen, equipment manufacturers will stay on top of their own vendors and reorganize as necessary to meet a customer demand that hasn’t waned.

At the same time, manufacturers are urging customers to plan ahead so they can make necessary adjustments.

“We’re pushing that planning piece,” Bass says. “With lead times and steel, you just don’t know where anything’s going to be. Planning pre-COVID, you could call up and typically get something in three weeks. In COVID, based on the day, where you are with labor, if things are OK in the plant, if you’re getting your logistics and product in, you could be looking at seven to 12 weeks or 13 weeks. There’s just a lot of things at play out there.”

Similarly, Polydeck advises customers to plan ahead and communicate their detailed needs.

Ron Kuehl

Kuehl

“In our customer conversations, we regularly emphasize the importance of communicating forecasts, growth plans and development needs for 2022,” says Ron Kuehl, Polydeck president.

According to Kuehl, steel, polyurethane and rubber compounds are key materials that remain constrained 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,” Kuehl says. “Steel productivity is improving, with additional capacity coming online around the globe.”

To Kuehl, one notable aspect of the current supply cycle is that material disruptions and pricing inflation impacted multiple commodities and rippled across global markets.

“As a result, we have had to pass along some inflationary increases to our customers,” he says. “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.”

Fortunately, a number of suppliers adapted because of disruptions that intensified in 2021.

“We as a company have learned to deal with the supply chain to have a broader view of who we should work with, quality of material and more,” Bass says. “It’s taught us how to look forward into 2022. I can tell you our aggregate division has been doing great. We haven’t seen a decrease, and people are still calling in.”

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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