Tips to handle supply chain challenges
Disruptions in the supply chain continue, creating complications for companies across the globe. The supply-chain bottlenecks have caused record shortages of many products that American consumers are used to having readily available, from household goods to electronics to automobiles. Moody's Analytics has warned that problems "will likely get worse before they get better." 
What's causing the disruptions?
The main culprit is the lingering effects of COVID-19 mitigation strategies that caused a reduction in the production of goods and services. The imbalance between supply and demand eliminated inventory. Therefore, returning to pre-pandemic levels has been a struggle for many manufacturers.
Another issue is not enough warehouse workers, port workers, and truck drivers. A record number of workers quit jobs that are key to keeping things running smoothly. In July, the Labor Department reported that the warehouse industry had a record 490,000 job openings, and the American Trucking Association estimated it would be short some 60,000 drivers in 2019. Since that time, many drivers have quit or retired. 
How long before things return to normal?
The future of the supply chain is uncertain. As companies and consumers adapt, current challenges will ease somewhat. But as the pandemic continues and the realities of keeping businesses profitable are the main concern, we probably shouldn't expect a complete resolution in 2022. Ultimately, supply chains are driven by people, and 2021 showed the system's limitations.
So, what can we do?
Throughout the order process, good communication is key. Transparency between suppliers and their customers is vital to preserving relationships and keeping business flowing. Here are some suggestions to ease the situation.
- Access your current fleet and plan your future needs. Place equipment orders sooner than later to prevent delays. You want to do this before your needs become an urgent situation.
- Be flexible when sourcing equipment. Look for alternatives like re-manufactured forklifts. They are reliable, and many come with a warranty. Can you be flexible on your specifications? Perhaps, consider a lift truck close to specs but not a perfect match. Another option is to try alternative power options from what you usually work with. If you’ve always used propane or gas-powered trucks, consider electric. It is better for the environment, and it may also save you money over the life of the forklift.
- Maintain your current equipment. Regular maintenance is a proven step to extend the life of a forklift and reduce downtime. Take care of the forklifts you already have with planned maintenance. Our expert technicians can service your equipment if you don't have an in-house maintenance team.
- Work with a trusted material handling specialist. It would help if you had a supplier that stocks up on parts and has the expertise to refurbish forklifts and other equipment. Our capability allows for good relationships with our contacts and suppliers. We are constantly looking for equipment to recondition and add to stock.
At Action Lift, we are committed to helping our customers through these challenging times. We continually add trucks to our rental fleet and used inventory. Our parts department and service teams are experienced and ready to keep up with demand.
To conclude, our best advice is to be proactive and take inventory of your equipment. Due to long lead times, it's critical to PLAN AHEAD! Also, keep up a good maintenance schedule so your current fleet runs at its BEST.