How to Manage Supply Chain Woes
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The past few years have been a roller coaster for the global supply chain, with natural disasters and pandemics causing major disruptions for manufacturers. These challenges directly impact manufacturers’ ability to effectively run production and positively impact the supply chain downstream.
In this article and latest “Filtered: On the Air” podcast episode, our experts Tim Keeter and Brent Bassett discuss supply chain issues and its impact on the dust collection industry, while also providing tips on how to alleviate some of the issues that manufacturers face in today’s supply chain.
The Future of the Supply Chain Delays
No industry was immune to global supply chain delays that have been impacting manufacturers the last few years. While some sectors did bounce back quickly, others are still in the process of recovering. Looking ahead, most of us learned that predicting anything has gone completely out the window. It appears things have improved, there are shorter delays, and more products on the shelves. As a result, we’re seeing less supply chain issues impacting consumers. But it’s still hard to tell as there are places around the world that are still recovering. At U.S. Air Filtration, we like to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. One takeaway from the last few years is that we can all be better prepared.
Industry Purchasing Trends
There are customers who have storage space, which has allowed them to update their purchasing process to include a back-up set of filters. More commonly, we see customers who try to order a month or two sooner than they normally would. But that may not always work out because some parts can have multiple delays. While an order may originally have a lead time of two months, there could be an additional delay for another month. One example would be for cartridge filters which consist of multiple parts. All it takes is one of those crucial parts of a cartridge filter to have a delay, and as a result the entire filter is delayed. In this scenario, planning ahead doesn’t always guarantee you’re going to receive your items on time.
How To Reduce Supply Chain Delays
Having a solid preventative maintenance plan is key. If you’re organized with your change outs, and know when they’re going to happen then you can order your things well in advance. One thing that U.S. Air Filtration can do for our longtime customers is help them realize their normal buying patterns. Oftentimes people just don’t know what those patterns may be. But if a customer has been ordering from U.S. Air Filtration for a number of years, we can look at those frequencies whether it’s every 12 months, or every 9 months which allows us to suggest a time to order with a little bit of a cushion.
In summary, a maintenance plan reduces the supply chain challenge because it allows a manufacturer to develop a predictable pattern, and understand the intricacies of their production. Some plants absolutely cannot run when filters clog, which means all production may stop if there is no cushion when ordering dust collector wearables. If you’re one of those clients that is going to shut down without your filters running at peak performance then you need to be able to plan ahead.
Some of the warning signs to look out for include a rising or high differential pressure. If your differential pressure is rising, your filters are getting clogged. If you know how often this happens, then maybe your filters typically last a year. This shows that your normal production schedule is pretty consistent and you could just order a few filters at a time. Knowing when that happens is key. But a lot of facilities will have a tough time because their production may change. They may run 24/7 for a couple of months on a big project and then slow down for a couple of months. So it’s a little less predictable for some people.
Due to the lack of predictability within manufacturing in general, some facilities opt to purchase a back-up set of dust collection parts. While some manufacturers are safe from unscheduled downtime with the availability of back-up dust collection parts, there are still a lot of companies out there that just aren’t equipped to store them. Another factor could be budget and timing.
Having a spare set of filters is always something the U.S. Air Filtration recommends, but we understand that there are challenges that come with this besides the storage issue. Here’s a few considerations with having to store dust collector filters
- Limited space
- Temperature swings
- Contaminants or pests
There are a lot of considerations to make when you’re thinking about storing,100 filters versus 1000 filters. But, at US air filtration we have come up with a solution on how to solve these issues.
STOCK ‘N GO Program Solution
At U.S. Air Filtration we have developed the STOCK ‘N GO program to address most issues that companies are challenged with when stocking extra parts. How it works is, U.S. Air Filtration will fabricate filters ahead of time for customers and store them in our warehouse. This way when a customer is ready for them, we can ship them out just within a day or two of being notified. This takes away the stress and the headache from the ordering process and lead times, resulting in a streamlined purchasing process.
In summary, supply chain issues can have a significant impact within the industrial air filtration industry resulting in delayed lead times passed down to manufacturers. Implementing a maintenance program and having a set-up back of dust collection parts are our top tips to alleviate the challenges that manufacturers face in today’s supply chain environment.
At US Air Filtration, we understand the importance of reducing supply chain delays. We are here to help ensure that your dust collection systems are working at optimal levels, so you can focus on growing your business and meeting the needs of your customers. If you would like more information about the STOCK ‘N GO program, visit us here. You can also reach out at 888-221-0312 or email [email protected]