Resilient: Tackling supply chain challenges head on
For suppliers, the supply chain challenges with supply were just as daunting. Long lead times, rising costs and staggering misinformation have caused headaches across the board. However, several vendors have implemented new strategies to cope with the rigors, especially when it comes to the growing LVT category.
For many, it meant investing in the supply chain to meet the needs of their customers. “As always, our customers are our number one priority,” said Herb Upton, vice president of residential product and channel management at Shaw Industries. “We have updated our tools and systems to add more real-time order tracking and to suggest alternative options for backordered products when available. We are closely monitoring all market dynamics and are striving for clear and transparent communication with our customers as the situation evolves.”
Investment has also been critical for Mohawk, and the company has invested in its international supply chain efforts to increase product availability, according to Ed Sanchez, vice president of product management, resilient, Mohawk. “We have a number of new launches this year, as we refreshed both the SolidTech and Pergo lines. In preparation for this, we ordered a significant amount of product early to support this and have planned a steady flow. In addition, we continue to invest to expand our production capacity to support our dealers. We have made efforts to expand the production capacity of key programs such as SolidTech Plus to assist our dealers as the industry addresses these challenges.”
Doug Jackson, president of Cali, pointed out the importance of important relationships when dealing with hardship. “Our close relationships developed over many years of working with ocean freight suppliers and our factories have paid off in these challenging times,” he said. FCNews. “Cali works very closely with key suppliers to ensure our customers’ requirements are met and service obligations are exceeded.”
Then there is domestic production. Last year was the year of the announcements, as several foreign and domestic suppliers spoke of hearing or expansion efforts that were particularly focused on the supply of LVT products. As the pandemic slowed – and even halted – these efforts, suppliers say domestic capabilities remain a constant focus. “Domestic products are critical during periods of supply chain disruption,” said Mohawk’s Sanchez. “As the lead time and cost of importing has increased, this has created unreliable product availability for many dealers and increased service costs. With a US-made product, companies like Mohawk can offer alternative options to our dealers to help them serve their customers Mohawk continues to invest to add additional capacity to serve our customers and reduce lead times through a focused effort to increase production efficiency and productivity to get more out of our existing lines, and through investments in additional capacity, we are focused on supporting our dealers.”
Sanchez noted that the industry will see more domestic capacity available in late 2021 and early 2022.
Shaw’s Upton added that diversifying supply has been a priority for the industry long before the recent challenges, and production has expanded massively both in Asia and domestically. For Shaw, he said the company “will continue to invest in both domestic and contract-manufactured resilient offerings, including domestic capacity from our supplier partners, to meet the needs of our customers and the end user. We recently invested approximately $20 million to expand our existing SPC manufacturing capabilities at Plant RP in Ringgold, Georgia.”