Walking The Supply Chain Tight Rope (5 Tips to Protect Your Project)

Picture of a shipping port at dusk

How Does the Construction Supply Chain Work?

The big rain cloud over today’s building industry is all about inflation and the strain it’s been putting on the supply chain. Demand is increasing while cargo ships are circling the waters outside of ports because the docks are so backlogged with inventory. With a global economy, the domino effect ripples across several channels, and the supply chain is feeling the growing pains.

What Are the Main Construction Supply Chain Challenges?

  • COVID related reductions in the availability of products
  • Increased costs throughout the supply chain.
  • Supply chain complexity due to multiple channels to market.
  • Increased consumer demands drive the need for improved speed, quality, and service.
  • Risk in the supply chain creates pressure.
  • The impact of supply chain volatility

supply chain management processAll the costs incurred from these collective challenges ultimately have to be passed on to us, the consumers.

In addition to supply shortages, manpower is looking murky as well. The International Transport unions reported to the U.N. on Wednesday that “transportation sectors are seeing a shortage of workers and expect more to leave as a result of the poor treatment millions faced during the pandemic, putting the supply chain under even greater threat.” Together, the organizations represent 65 million transport workers globally.

So how should you prepare today for a project you may want to do in the coming year? In short, the industry experts are saying, “buy now.”

“I’ve been recommending to all my customers to just buy now,” says Jeff Voss, owner of Benjamin Moore on Boones Ferry in Lake Oswego. “And if you have the means, buy in bulk. Prices are only going to go up from here.”

Voss said his customers are buying in larger quantities than normal in anticipation of the coming price hikes and unprecedented shortages over the next year, and he doesn’t see prices going back to normal any time soon.

Here are some tips to help the supply chain and protect your future investment:

  1. Buy locally

    It helps our own economy, supports our domestic businesses, eliminates a need for international shipping, and reduces the strain on the global supply chain.

  2. Buy materials sooner than later

    Make materials decisions now and don’t change your mind. Since the future on pricing is subject to change, consider buying your purchases now and don’t change your mind later down the line. (Some vendors will even store your purchases for you until the time of installation.) When selecting materials, try to choose things that are already in stock and ready for purchase; don’t rely on estimated shipping dates.

  3. Order fixtures now

    For kitchen/ bath remodels, order fixtures now. Fixtures and appliances could take several months to get, so work with a designer ahead of time about what you want, and then design the cabinet layouts later around the appliances and fixtures that you chose.

  4. Reconsider salvages

    Customers often want to save a door, window, countertop, or other vintage items in their remodels, but that can create a need for a more artful demo, which costs more time and therefore more money. Unless it’s sentimental, consider tossing it.

  5. Project management, planning, and proper expectations

    Set proper expectations and plan accordingly. If you want to get that remodel done in time for summer, you should start getting estimates now. Let your contractors clearly know what your goals are and review your contracts thoroughly now to minimize surprises later.

With proper planning comes proper execution and when things go smoothly, everyone is happy. Be clear about what you want to accomplish and communicate those goals to your design team and subcontractors. Metke is proud of our knowledgeable, caring and helpful designers that would be happy to help walk you through your vision in our welcoming and immersive design studio. Our design-build construction team is an award-winning remodeler and custom home builder. Specializing in a wide range of remodeling services including custom kitchen remodels, custom bathroom remodels, outdoor kitchen remodels, and more. Contact us today to get started!