Our friends at ThomasNet have released their State of North American Manufacturing Annual Report for 2021. (Link to the full download is HERE.)
We see a number of striking statistics and trends. Among them is “…an increase in demand for steel, chemicals, paper, and other raw materials. There is a parallel increase in traditional manufacturing activities, such as casting and stamping services, and modern manufacturing activities…”
Trendlines also point to reshoring: 83% of manufacturers are likely or extremely likely to add North American supplier to replace an overseas supplier.
Lead Times: Leading the Priorities
What really caught our eye is the chart above. Some 94% of those responding think the Availability and Lead Times were extremely and/or very important when vetting new suppliers.
That speaks directly to the work of the transportation industry, from customer to 3PL to carrier to dispatch to manufacturer.
First, though. if the supply-and-demand scenario is imbalanced, as we’ve experienced it in a heightened manner in recent months, the customer is often left to either wait or pay a premium for available stock. It’s no surprise that Price per Unit/Service ranks second on the list of priorities from this chart. The interesting aspect is that Availability and Lead Times take first position.
(Play that out in a hypothetical for a moment: end user has a deadline and is reluctantly willing to pay more if the material is actually available.)
Our focus this time around is not on the reason for all that unavailable manufacturing product. There’s plenty of interesting material floating around regarding the supply-demand imbalance.
What we are focused on is the ability of NATCO, as always, to move heaven and earth and ⏤ yes ⏤ your load to get it from Point A to Point B in the timeliest manner possible.
Life ⏤ and that includes inclement weather and traffic jams and unannounced detours and mechanical failures ⏤ happens.
The NATCO difference is no different pre-pandemic, in the middle of pandemic, or what we hope is now a largely post-pandemic national economy. It’s our secret that’s always been hiding in plain sight: clear, direct, pro-active communication that minimizes the glitch and maximizes the successful, timely delivery of your load.
And that’s why we do what we do.