Since March 2020 we have been faced with restrictions, lockdowns, closures and a degree of change we have not seen for a long time. In the chemical industry we have certainly not had any exemption from the upheaval and there are now some enormous challenges to be faced in the future which could derail what were consistent and reliable manufacturers/suppliers.
The US government, for one, has allowed ‘force majeure’ clauses to be exercised and for contracts to be cancelled and business commitments to be wiped without consequence (there are presently 30 force majeures in the chemical industry). This coupled with many companies’ inability to produce to capacity or even maintain supply due to restrictions to their business has led to a world of confusion over what is and what is not available.
The problem has not been as simple as certain manufacturers having been unable to produce due to their own restricted business practises. The problem reaches far deeper than that. Raw material supply has been affected. Shipping lines have had to work within limitations that inevitably lead to slower service, cancelled routes and lateness!
Then, just when we thought things might one day return to normal…
- Severe bushfires in early 2020, taking lives, wildlife and property.
- Mass flooding in Northern NSW/Queensland.
- Price surges due to high demand and supply issues.
- More than 20 severe weather events in the USA in 2020 alone.
- A ship banks and blocks the Suez Canal, leading to further impacts on the shipping industry.
- A new president in the USA (and the impeachment of the outgoing!).
In many ways, our lives have been impacted by 2020. As an industry, the chemical industry is changing to adapt to the long term, ‘new’ way. The lack of face-to-face meeting, the working from home and the difficulty of communicating with our customers as they work differently are all massive challenges.
Many of us have managed to stay ahead of the curve, increase our MOQ’s, work closer with our shipping partners and ensure we do not run out of anything, whilst maintaining control of cashflow, product shelf-life and local distribution. At Protective Technology, we are working differently but effectively to ensure this and protect the ongoing needs of our customers.