By Frank Gambino
If you’ve been to a car dealership lately, you’re likely aware of a major shift. Fluctuations with inventory have caused rollercoaster rises in prices. Many lots are empty, and this is concerning because it’s not isolated to car dealerships, but extends to tractor-trailers, electronics, consumer goods, and various niche products.
So, what is at the heart of the issue? Some experts say it’s a result of a decades-long trend of minimalizing inventories as an effort to reduce balance sheet expenses; others say that this shortage ties specifically back to shipping and supply chain issues. Our response to that is simple, yes.
The current state of massive inventory shortages is a culmination of several factors of just-in-time inventory, pandemic ripples in the supply chain, and isolated shortages pertaining to specific components. Make no mistake, this issue is not only tied to the computer chip shortage, but to several items facing a lag in manufacturing – causing lapses in production.
Example: a car manufacturer can’t send a car off the production line if they’re missing a specific spring, gasket, or relay…
You may be thinking, “Okay, how is this relevant to trucking?” The reason this is a vital topic to address stems from delays that are flooding the transportation industry (and have been for some time).
Consider these recent hurdles:
- Digital microchip shortages
- Delays in ELD manufacturing and distribution
- Difficult-to-source tractor trailers
- Lapses in production, shipping, and freight volumes
All these factors create a more competitive environment for trucking companies (especially during what is normally a slow time for freight throughout the year).
At Transflo, we are not in the habit of presenting problems, without providing a solution – so here’s what we recommend:
- Plan: If you’re trying to source items for procurement, do your research ahead of time. Check inventory levels and make a realistic assessment if you can meet your timeline.
- Buy: If inventory levels are stable for your items now, determine if you can inventory items that you’ll need moving forward. Plus, work with vendors to see if you can stagger orders with a secured inventory.
- Be Proactive: Hold additional budget meetings to forecast procurement for the next 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. Many companies focus on the next month and next year but overlook the in-between.
Realistically, we’re all at the mercy of supply chain fluctuations – but with the proper planning and knowledge, we can mitigate increased lead times and avoid lags in operations.