What Can Be Done About Construction’s Supply Chain Problems?

Construction has had issues with the supply chain for at least a couple of years now. Although many industries are currently feeling the squeeze, it may be affecting construction worse than others. The good news is that experts are actively looking for solutions. Here are a few of their ideas.

Temporary Release of Stockpiled Materials
The United States keeps an emergency stockpile of certain types of materials. The amount and use of the stockpile is dictated largely by the executive branch of the federal government. By releasing certain amounts of raw building materials, the government can bypass some of the current delays in the supply chain. It’s not a permanent solution, as these supplies will run out eventually. But it can help to bolster the market so that contracting businesses can continue to get supplies while the manufacturers and shipping interests fix the problems causing delays.

Infrastructure Updates to Eliminate Shipping Backlogs
Ultimately, putting a bunch of new materials into the shipping routes won’t help much without coping with shipping backlogs. Right now, one of the biggest problems that many industries are having with supply consistency is shipping. Specifically, ships are facing significant delays in transferring their materials to a shipyard, and then delays in getting those containers on a truck or other vehicle. Even a few days’ worth of backlogs can turn into weeks ‘worth of delays in deliveries. Upgrading and expanding the shipyards, while providing for increased labor, can modernize the processes to make them work more quickly.

Increased Paths to Raw Materials
Fixing the problems with shipping is a major part of addressing the supply chain, but so is access to the raw materials in the first place. The supply chain is failing at several points, and some experts think it is unwise to focus too much on issues that come up toward the end of the chain. In short, they believe that it is important to find different ways to source raw materials and make sure that businesses can get them from more than one supplier, in different locations. That way, things like bad weather or a shipping delay in one port are less likely to cascade into problems for everyone.

Assistance to Supplying Countries
Improving access to raw materials may involve interacting with other countries and helping to fix these problems together. Although the U.S. produces a lot of raw materials for construction domestically, there are many countries in Central and South America and in Asia that manufacture raw goods for export to the U.S. When they get hit with supply chain issues, American businesses feel the pinch. Some experts recommend collaborating with and providing assistance to these countries, as a way of making the supply chain more stable for all.

Sharing Data About Consumption
In many ways, the supply chain problems are exacerbated by a lack of understanding about demand. Anyone who went to the grocery store and found empty shelves last year knows that demand can be a tricky thing to predict. Sometimes, demand rises because people are using more of a particular product. In times of unpredictability, demand can be outsized due to hoarding. By sharing data about consumption patterns with suppliers, some experts believe that manufacturers may be better able to meet that demand in a way that discourages hoarding.

Managing the supply chain takes a lot of experts. You’ll learn quickly how important it is, once you are a contracting business owner. For more information about the steps to opening your own contracting business, visit CSLS today!

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