Supply chain issues continue to take centre stage in the world of manufacturing and while this Global crisis is sending shock-waves through the van conversion market, Adam Smith, Bri-Stor Systems’ Supply Chain Manager explains how the team’s relentless focus and expertise is protecting customers.
Adam explains: “People don’t realise the monumental effort that’s going on behind the scenes to keep everything moving. Converting a vehicle sees us at a point in the supply chain that brings together hundreds of different materials and parts – steel, aluminium, plastic, wood, electrical components and assemblies (to name a few) – are all product categories facing supply issues.
“That said, supply chains are rarely problem free whether that be due to geopolitical turmoil, cyber-attacks, trade wars, natural disasters, demand outstripping supply, lack of raw materials, labour shortages, new customs regulations, the challenge right now, is we’re facing the full set!
Typically, products with a two to three week lead time are out at ten to 12 weeks, with little assurance and bringing even greater price pressure.”
So what’s the Bri-Stor Systems’ secret? Adam explains more: “With a brand new team, we’ve come together during the pandemic, which gives us a unique advantage. From the get-go we’ve focused entirely on the immediate challenge in front of us, each team member grasping the nettle and bringing world-class purchasing expertise to this seismic challenge. This fighting spirit, coupled with the drive and determination to succeed is impressive by any standard. As a new team we have been able to see the pandemic through a different lens – unhindered by previous processes and entirely focused on the task in hand and finding the right solution for the customer.
“This approach has far-reaching consequences with our supply base responding well to our proactivity and resilience. We’re asking them to ‘do better’ and find alternative solutions, which for the most part is allowing us to meet the needs of our customer orders. There’s no question our relationships with our supply chain partners goes way beyond a simple transaction, high levels of trust and a true spirit of collaboration gives us a long-term competitive advantage – something our customers have come to recognise and rely on.
“The other unique Bri-Stor Systems’ advantage is our capability to call upon the skills and resources of our own, world-class engineering team. Led by Engineering Manager Greg Howell, we work closely with our colleagues to develop alternative design solutions where our traditional purchasing options aren’t available. Having this in-house expertise and capability, and the option to manufacture parts, in some cases overnight, with our sister-company Alpha Manufacturing has been a critical advantage in our COVID-response.
“The other part of the story is of course our customers, fully embracing new ideas, new solutions and alternative ways of working to achieve the right result. In many respects, the pandemic has brought about new ways of working and created a culture of greater openness, transparency and trust – values that drive this business forward.
“Regardless of industry, we will feel the impact of the pandemic for many more months yet – ‘business as usual’ is not even within our grasp. That said, I was once told that ‘there is nothing like a crisis to focus the mind’ and those words couldn’t have been more true in recent times. One thing I’m sure of is that this business will continue to adapt, strengthening our relationships and be stronger as a result.”