Recently I sat down with team member Corey Shoughrue and asked her about the challenges ECT Services faces right now due to supply chain shortages and lagtimes.
Corey manages the coordination of projects. If the team has a project for work to be done, Corey makes sure the scheduling of that project makes sense and that the parts are available. She and the team have had to get pretty creative lately.
Corey says the most important thing they’ve done is to be forthright with customers. “Transparent communication is key,” she says. ECT’s customers consider ECT an extension of their own team, as we’ve written about before. When communicating with the customers, Corey always aims to reassure them but is still honest about the situations we are all in. ECT Services isn’t the only company dealing with long lead times, of course. “Sometimes we might have to move some things around but we’ve stayed on top of our vendors so we can manage expectations of our customers.
Corey has been very proactive with vendors to check inventory levels. This helps her and the team make decisions about project timelines. There’s probably more interaction with vendors than normal, but it’s helping to stay on top of things.
ECT has partnered with a new distribution company – who has a large line card and carry a lot of product from different manufacturers. She’s even gone to google to find a missing part or two.
ECT has been meeting as a team regularly to be ahead of issue. They look at material, start reaching out to vendors just to get ahead of the situation. This helps Corey project out when can they can realistically install the job.
The delay right now? “It depends on the project but it’s about two months right now.”
Corey says “Sometimes we have to scramble and can come through. Sometimes we use something similar – same quality if the vendor is not able to come through with materials for a year or so.” Yes. A year.
She reiterates that communication with the customer is critical – especially if a part is not what was originally intended, but is what is available. It’s always better to partner with your customer and be on the same page than to blindside them in the middle of an installation she says.
“We have a lot of out of town work right now, especially on the security side. The team got together early on, started getting ahead and planned. They were able to stock large bulk orders early on so they have product in-house (you should see the conference room).
Corey says most customers today are reasonable and understand. “We are all in this together, everyone’s got similar issues with their supply chain. Regardless the industry, everyone needs products for their services.”