Looking Back on 2021 & Forward to 2022
As 2021 comes to a close, many organizations are likely breathing a sigh of relief. But, can everyone breathe easy now, or are we going to see more of the same challenges in 2022?
Read on to learn what American Products saw in 2021 and what we expect to see in 2022.
2021 was an interesting year, to say the least. Organizations across a wide range of industries have spent much of the year battling labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, long lead times for purchases and volatile material, parts and equipment prices.
The telecommunications and network industry wasn’t an exception.
American Products has been able to hire new talent this year to help us try to keep up with demand, but we haven’t been able to fill all our empty slots. And we’ve heard the same from our customers–instead of assemblers, welders and engineers though, they’re having trouble hiring experienced technicians.
In regard to supply chain disruptions, American Products has run into delays acquiring everything from steel to fiber optics to powdercoat to HVAC systems. Some products can have a 52-week (yes, one year!) lead time.
Often, material and parts shortages have resulted in higher prices than normal for those items. In addition, prices don’t remain the same for long. Some are changing so fast that our team has to get a new quote on the part, material or component with EACH order. To combat the fast-changing prices and avoid outages, American Products orders and stocks select components ahead of time.
To mitigate the volatile pricing and extended lead times, we’ve done what many other companies have done–think outside the norm to find solutions to the issues. American Products has tasked the team with vetting new vendors and finding other ways to get the products we need so that we can build the enclosures our customers want.
It’s not all negative, though! Bolstered by a number of government programs, e.g., RDOF, we have seen a big uptick in enclosure orders, which indicates telecommunications companies are working hard to expand their networks. In 2020, the pandemic really showed how the United States was deficient in its broadband services as adults spent much of the year working from home and kids were attending school remotely. Those new networks will really come in handy going forward.
Another positive of 2021? Getting to see our customers in person again! American Products enclosure specialists were once again able to get out and visit customers at their locations. Trade shows also kicked off again, so we had the pleasure to meet more customers and potential customers there as well. It was exciting to get to see these people in person again!
As the year draws to a close, all eyes are on the future. What will it hold? Will raw material pricing go down? When will the supply chain be fixed?
At American Products, we don’t have a magic ball that can show the future, so we’re trusting the experts and numbers. And they’re predicting that many of the issues will continue well into 2022. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a bad year! It means that organizations need to be more proactive. Forecast what equipment you’re going to need and speak to manufacturers early. Then, get quotes and place your orders as soon as you can to avoid waiting too long or paying significantly more.
At American Products, our team is working hard to continue providing our customers the enclosures they need in a reasonable and acceptable (considering all the variables) timeframe. When you work with us, you’ll competitive pricing, lead times and product availability.
We’re also very flexible and want to work closely with companies to develop the right enclosure solutions for them. For some, that means we’ll factory integrate components so the enclosures are basically ready to deploy to the field when they leave our facility. For others who might need the enclosures faster, we can factory integrate the systems they have in house (we have had customers send us their own components to install in their new enclosures for them, rather than quoting and sourcing the components ourselves).
If you want to learn more, please contact our enclosure specialists at 417.323.6312.
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