With well-documented and unprecedented global supply challenges, managing customer delivery expectations for projects which are partly or fully reliant on hardware supply has never been more challenging.
Difficulties created through changing political and economic circumstances, and the pandemic have converged to create a lack of available raw materials for products dependant on external suppliers for components.
Although there are signs of the supply challenges abating, some forecasts predict they’ll continue into early 2023 – possibly longer for some businesses.
This has had significant impact on finished goods stock supply, stretching operational teams to the maximum, leaving projects delayed or even unfinished with no sign of completion dates.
The impact on the Pro-AV market is significant, as recently covered by the team at InAVate and as you’re probably acutely aware. With traditionally long sales cycles for larger projects and multiple suppliers often involved, getting to the point of placing purchase orders and discovering a key hardware element of the installation is unavailable or has an unreasonably long lead time is frustrating for the integrator, installer, and customer.
Elements of a project may have to be re-specified and alternate suppliers and/or comparable products sought leading to delays and additional cost. Furthermore, end customers may experience lost revenues which cannot be clawed back or insured against if a building, venue, or retail space experiences significant delays in opening.
There are also the intangible impacts on failure to deliver. Future business may be lost and reputations damaged. Winning back lost customers becomes an insurmountable challenge.
We ourselves have seen interest growing in our Reserva room booking panels, amongst other solutions, as our stock levels remain high and feature to feature, it compares favourably against anything in the market. It’s helping our partners circumnavigate troubled waters and close deals now and not in 50 weeks’ time.
So, what are some of the key factors to consider when choosing a supplier?
Small suppliers can be agile; however, a larger manufacturer is more likely to have the purchasing power to be at the front of the queue when securing stock. Their relationships with their own suppliers tend to be closer and being as flexible as possible with their requirements can be the difference between being the front of the queue for allocating scarce stock, versus the back.
Manufacturer suppliers are also more willing to reserve component stock if requested where there is a long term, established relationship with higher value orders.
Furthermore, with the business intelligence and systems in place to facilitate more accurate forecasting, an established manufacturer is better equipped to get the balance right between the forecast, and supply and demand.
Larger manufacturers will also be both more able and willing to use their financial resources to secure stock, as well as having the physical warehousing space to hold stock for longer periods of time. It is then readily available to ship the moment the purchase order drops.
Tripleplay is rightly proud of its track record in stock management. We actively mitigate the supply risks to the best of our abilities and have implemented systems to help us forecast accurately and hold stock of long lead time items.
We aim to hold at least six months’ worth of stock of many components and up to 12 months on key items both in our European warehouse and our facility in the United States.
This emphasis on reliability throughout our business leaves our partners able to invest their valuable time and resources in developing and delivering their opportunities with confidence.