Forward thinking is key to navigating a difficult supply chain and exploiting strong demand says Anglia Components’ CEO, Steve Rawlins
The market is booming and customers are seeing strong demand. Yet, this demand is difficult to fulfil because of an exceptionally difficult supply chain—a situation that is unprecedented in my experience. There is inventory in the supply chain, but you’ve got to be smart and forward thinking to get your hands on enough to keep production lines and businesses going.
The position on lead times today is worse than a quarter ago and I don’t see it improving until next Summer at the earliest. As we emerge from the pandemic we are seeing pent-up demand, yet Covid has reduced capacity at raw material sources, manufacturing sites and in logistics organisations. Raw materials are harder to obtain so manufacturers are seeing significant price increases which have to be passed to customers. Also, freight charges are increasing and delivery times extending even when stock is available. We know of distributors quoting 17-days delivery on ex-stock orders.
With careful planning and forward ordering it is possible to find enough inventory. We’re telling customers to order now for Easter deliveries. Anglia has invested by increasing its forward ordering when stock was relatively plentiful, against the lean times we saw coming. We’ve been told we started ramping ordering at least six months ahead of the market. We’re carefully protecting this inventory position to support customers who partner with us. Working together allows everyone to prosper. We’re forecasting 20 per cent growth as a result—well ahead of the ecsn market forecast.