How Can I Explain Global Supply Chain Disruptions?
Mpowered Podcast, Episode 11 Show Notes
Welcome to Mpowered, the podcast brought to you by Material Bank and created by ThinkLab.
In this bite-sized episode, Material Bank joins us to answers a question posed by a listener,“What is the current state of the supply chain, and how is it impacting the interiors industry?” Listen for insights on what’s happening in the global supply chain that is causing such disruption, as well as a look at the forecast for the foreseeable future.
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If you have a question or topic you’d like us to tackle on air, we’d love to hear from you. Simply direct-message Material Bank on Instagram with your success story or question through the messaging function.
Welcome to Mpowered, the podcast brought to you by Material Bank and created by ThinkLab. Consider this your new weekly dose of bite-sized, actionable insights to help you succeed as a B2B rep. I’m this week’s host, Erica Waayenberg, head of research and content at ThinkLab.
We’ll be answering one key question each week, many of them submitted by you. Want to join in? We’ll share details about how to submit your question at the end of this episode.
Our question this week: What is the current state of the supply chain, and how is it impacting our industry?
We hear the frustrations that the global supply chain disruptions have led to in the interiors industry, and often hear sentiments such as “why won’t my supplier just give me a straight answer on when I can expect my product to arrive?” While the frustration is real, it may surprise you that according to a recent report, only 6% of companies report having full visibility to their supply chain, so the majority may not even know where the breakdown in the system lies.
As we all logically know, the supply chain issues are a complex web of cause-and-effect relationships. If any one element of the supply chain is disrupted, it can take weeks rather than days for the supply chain to recover. And over the past few years, it hasn’t been one issue disrupting the supply chain, but many.
In the next few minutes I will do my best to give a brief overview of what’s happening in the global supply chain that is causing such disruption, so that you can have an of the moment update, as well as a look at the forecast for the foreseeable future. Our hope is to equip you with some talking points to effectively explain the bigger picture so that you can be an effective partner even when the near-term outlook remains uncertain.
When looking at the Issues that weigh into the current supply chain disruptions globally, lets focus on just three for today:
- First: Ports are overcrowded with empty containers waiting to be removed, which has vessels of containers waiting offshore for days to weeks at a time to unload their imports and get them connected to rail or trucking lines.
- Second: Supply chain workers from docks to rail and trucking companies are all in short supply.This is creating a labor crisis that has led to many strikes and prolonged wage negotiations. When one of these labor segments shuts down, it impacts the entire global supply chain.
- Third: The third factor may surprise some, but climate crisis is also now entangling supply chains.
In China, raw manufacturing production has been shuttered in several Chinese provinces due to scheduled power rationing by the government. The rationing is due to record heat and drought that is impacting the hydro electric supply with water levels remaining so low. Some of these manufacturers produce products like aluminum, lithium-ion batteries, and other raw component materials used in the interiors industry. In Europe, low water levels are impacting critical shipping routes.
So, what does the forecast look like?
One of the unknown variables remains the labor shortages, speedy wage and labor negotiations are needed to keep the supply chain moving forward.
Even while labor strikes hang in the balance, many are optimistic and have seen improvements in the number of ships waiting offshore, empty containers sitting in dockyards, and delays that were seen early on in the pandemic due to manufacturing shut downs at large scale.
The retail industry has a highly vested interest in the upcoming holiday season and having product in place at the time that it is needed, which may be the external pressure that helps to further improve the state of the supply chain, however, many do forecast that we will still be seeing delays in Q1 of 2023.
With that explanation, what can you as a rep do to lessen the frustrations of architects, designers, and their clients, when products can’t or don’t arrive on time? The most impactful thing you can do is to have proactive communication and sharing the complexities of the supply chain issues and the degree to which visibility of delays is, or is not, available to you may help to alleviate uncomfortable conversations down the road.
Thanks for listening in, I would encourage you to listen each week for more tips and tidbits to help you succeed as a B2B rep.
Have a question or topic you’d like for us to tackle on air, we’d love to hear from you.Simply message Material Bank on Instagram or leave a comment on LinkedIn with your success story or question.
Special thanks to Material Bank for partnering with us to provide bite-size, valuable insights for B2B reps in the interior design industry.