• Bob’s Archives
  • November 8, 2021

    Supply Chain Madness –

    Blogging again – six months since my last official blog. As someone who owns a business with two divisions - both selling products primarily made in Asia – you can only imagine the stress we are facing delivering our goods. No, this blog isn’t going to try to explain – or blame anyone - for the situation we are in as a country. There are countless pieces written by businesspeople much more experienced than me that already do that. Just Google “Supply Chain” and you’ll get all the reasons, conspiracies, and blame you want. You might want some whiskey or aspirin (or maybe a therapist) when you are done reading; because no matter the reasons or who you blame, the unfortunate outcome is the same for everyone. Inflation and empty shelves are infecting this country every day (dare I say) like a virus. And it’s companies like ours that get to explain that to customers…

    Empty Shelves and Inflation

    Here is an example of the conversations going on in our offices daily. This is funny, and I don’t mean it to be. But I do like humor…

    Sales rep: Bob, can I take this order and promise Thanksgiving delivery?

    Me: I don’t know, let me ask Purchasing.

    Purchasing: Bob, how do you expect me to answer that? These goods have been at the port in Long Beach for weeks. I can’t promise anything to anybody.

    Me: Sales rep you can tell the customer the goods are at the port, and we will do our best to get them delivered by Thanksgiving.

    Sales rep: Bob, they cancelled the order. Now they are asking me if we can get them new goods by March 1st.

    Me: OK let me check with Purchasing again.

    Purchasing: I’ve had these goods on order for months and they are ready to ship, but we can’t get a booking on any of the ocean vessels yet. You can’t promise anything to anybody!

    Me: I’ll make sure everybody understands…

    That little scenario is par for the course these past 12 months. I keep telling our folks that the only way out of this is to deal in facts - and the facts are the facts. Does it cause stress - of course! Do our customers like the answers – of course not! Are our customers understanding – for the most part yes. For sure we are not the only suppliers delivering this kind of news. So, what is happening? I already gave that answer – inflation and empty shelves!

    When will things get back to normal?

    I’m reminded that 57 years ago Bob Dylan wrote the famous song “The Times They Are A-Changin”. I’m sure “normal” in 1964 was no more “normal” than 2021. No, rather than normal, we will deal with inflation, substitute product, alternate brands, some empty shelves; and ultimately, over time, the laws of supply and demand will flip. Then we will have another set of issues to deal with.

    Control what you can control.

    I’m looking for a happy ending to this little blog. A belief that you can live in these stressful times and still find peace, sanity, happiness or at least comfort. My message to the people I work with - deal in facts and control what you can control. If you want to go berserk, try to change things you cannot control. But if you want to stay sane; understand the facts, communicate the facts, look for alternate solutions, and be empathetic in your nature. It is working here at Broner. We are growing our business despite the chaos around us! We are not always telling our customers what they want to hear, but we are being rewarded for giving honest answers. And that makes me smile!

    Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Holiday Season!

    Cheers! -BB