Electrical Business

Features
The supply chain storm is here – from the editor

Unfortunately, the supply chain is still very much under strain, and it will impact your work schedule, deliveries, and estimates.


June 10, 2021
By Anthony Capkun


Topics


June 10, 2021 – By the Fall of 2020, supply chain problems in the construction sector were well-known.

In the electrical space, there was a shortage of panelboards. Lumber, if you could find it, had tripled in price. Concrete—which typically operates on 24-hr to 48-hr notice—required at least one to two weeks’ notice… and there was a good chance you would not get the full amount.

Unfortunately, the supply chain is still very much under strain, and it will impact your work schedule, deliveries, and estimates.

In a letter to customers, one distributor cites major product shortages, noting EMT conduit, PVC, breakers and panels, NMD90, AC90 and aluminum cables are difficult to get, and have 12-week lead times. In some cases, the distributor will need to limit quantities, and the purchase of items in these categories may result in unexpected shipping delays or partial back orders.

Advertisement

Another distributor, also in a letter to customers, highlights unpredictable price increases, caused by factors such as worldwide shortages of raw materials (the cost of copper, for example, is through the roof), import delays, increased freight costs, and product demand. As such, the distributor cannot offer any price protection; instead, pricing will be finalized on the day the product is shipped to the customer.

Add to this Covid-related productivity losses (for health & safety protocols) or outbreaks that shut down everything, and you could be forgiven for wondering… Do my estimates even mean anything? How do I finish a job and move onto the next with these kinds of delays? Will I have enough cash to weather this storm?

I wish I had better news to report, but the storm is upon us, and it will continue to affect our jobs and livelihoods for the foreseeable future. And while we cannot control raw materials, my hope is that all the parties to a construction contract work together—with understanding and patience—to ensure everyone’s business succeeds, and not just the project.

What has been your experience?

— Anthony Capkun, acapkun@ebmag.com


This column—along with other great content—appears in the May 2021 edition of Electrical Business Magazine. Even more back issues are located in our Digital Archive.



learning curve Sponsored Content
Post your tech sheets, white papers, new technology etc. Contact Anthony Capkun