Managing Projects in the Current Climate
Many injection molders in the plastics industry are familiar with supply chain issues, especially since the lockdowns of 2020 led to unprecedented disruptions. The extended shipping times, price increases, delays at ports, limited warehousing, and labor shortages have all made it difficult for manufacturers to do their jobs and keep their customers happy. Despite the unstable market, Sussex IM has proactively planned for challenges faced by most businesses in this current climate, and our team of experts are here to share our knowledge.
State of the Supply Chain after COVID-19
While most experts agree that there were supply chain issues before 2020, the lockdowns and the pandemic only made the situation worse. The pandemic created a significant shift in demand for durable goods, which resulted in injection molding facilities working at much higher capacities. When people stayed home for months during the lockdowns, they wanted more tangible items for their home and had the disposable income to spend since they weren’t going on vacations or out to eat. This increased the demand for durable plastic products, which led to increased demand for resin from plastic injection molders like Sussex IM.
This increased demand was becoming more and more difficult to fulfill due to force majeures like the ice storms in February 2021. These storms shut down many of the refineries and processing plants in Texas, which made a difficult situation even worse. Resin couldn’t be produced at a high enough rate due to these plants being shut down, and prices increased significantly as a result. We are starting to see some prices stabilize, but not decline to 2020 levels.
Finding and Maintaining Customers in the Current Climate
Customers are obviously aware of the supply chain issues plaguing the economy right now, and many may feel nervous about the future. However, Sussex IM has taken steps to ensure customers are put at ease with any concerns they might have.
Sussex IM helps their customers by:
• Proactively working with suppliers on holding safety stock of resin and some WIP items in inventory
• Working with customers to quickly develop and qualify alternate resins to add to their engineering specifications and securing supply of product
• Providing engineering services and press time to our customers to get alternate materials at a lower price
• Increasing communication with suppliers to stay in front of changing market conditions
• Increasing communication with customers to provide real time data on changing market conditions to help navigate through them
With unstable markets and the current climate of the supply chain, continuing to work and communicate closely with customers and suppliers is imperative. We strive to simplify the supply chain so our customers and suppliers don’t get worried or confused. This is why we offer:
• In-house project engineering and project management along with product development and tooling engineering services
• In-house automation engineering, proactively and aggressively reviewing new and current programs for automated and semi-automated opportunities to help control labor and costs
• The ability to have molding, assembly, filling, fulfillment, and 3PL of products all in the same facility
Having so many capabilities under one roof allows our customers to feel more at ease about the supply chain issues they’re facing. Sussex IM is dedicated to keeping our customers happy, no matter what the current state of the economy may be.
Getting Back to “Normal”
Many people in the manufacturing industry are likely wondering when these supply chain issues will eventually resolve. Unfortunately, it may not be for a long time – many experts don’t expect supply chain issues to be resolved until 2023.
Manufacturers will continue to have a disrupted supply chain as long as COVID lockdowns persist, and most likely it will be a year after that when the supply chain finally goes back to normal. Demand is expected to shift every time there’s a new variant, which could cause another disruption in the supply chain, and troubles will begin all over again. Manufacturers can only hope that COVID eventually stabilizes and the economy can go back to normal, otherwise these supply chain issues may be with us for a long time.
The Sussex IM Difference
Sussex IM is an accomplished, custom injection molder with decades of proven turnkey success. We are located in the Milwaukee metro area with a 45-year-long history of being a reliable supplier and partner to many different industries.
Serving as a resource for automated assemblies, molding and decorating, Sussex IM delivers a competitive advantage to customers with their Design-for-Manufacturing expertise and 3rd party management relations for dynamic problem-solving capabilities for production molding while also supporting integrated value-added operations. Driven to hit our customers’ launch window, our team is dedicated to ensuring your product gets to your end-user.
Looking for a trusted injection molder to keep your company stable throughout an unstable market? Contact Sussex IM today.