The COVID-19 pandemic continues to test people and industries in ways we never imagined. Not only has it resulted in a worldwide health crisis, but it also has created bottlenecks for businesses trying to keep up with customer demands for imported products. Dock worker shortages, port congestion, cargo container shortages, lack of vessel space causing ship dates and arrival dates to push out, and major holidays, like the Chinese New Year, are jeopardizing the timely delivery of food, clothing, medicine, and more.
In addition, shipping costs are becoming more expensive, as consumers spend less money on restaurants and entertainment and spend more money on online goods. In the past year, the cost to ship goods has nearly tripled, according to key indexes.
All these factors affect our industry too. Ultraflex is a leading supplier of digitally printable textiles and flexible and rigid substrates, and our customers depend on us.
How is Ultraflex responding to the transportation obstacles facing the industry? Below are three ways we’re taking action to help customers get the products they need to fuel their businesses.
#1: We Are Finding Alternative Ways to Transport Goods
We’re logistics professionals. For more than 30 years, we’ve successfully managed global inventory logistics, and we continue to do so in these challenging times.
Based on our expertise and extensive contacts, we’re working with multiple agents to find space on vessels for our inventory. We’re also looking at creative ways to transport inventory, such as transferring a shipment from one mode of transportation to another, known as transloading or cross-docking.
There are obstacles to overcome, but we’re thinking creatively and taking steps to minimize delays as much as possible.
#2: We Continue to Maintain a Large Inventory
With over 500,000 square feet of global stock holding space, we offer the world’s most comprehensive inventory across product lines. We know which materials are in highest demand and attempt to keep those on hand at our distribution centers to meet your needs.
For example, our SuperPrint Plus is a top-seller, and we keep a minimum of 6 months inventory on hand.
#3: We Help Customers Find Creative Solutions
Our inventory is vast, and so is the knowledge we bring to the market. When your business needs materials that are out of stock or delayed, we work with you to find alternative solutions to temporarily fulfill your needs.
For example, we carry four different 13-ounce banners: Ultima Pro, JetFlex/Normandy Pro, SuperPrint & ProFlex. The diverse inventory allows us to have various versions of the material in an easy replacement solution.
We have faced and overcome challenges many times. Our commitment is to constantly monitor the situation, do everything we can to alleviate delays, and to always offer diverse and consistently high-quality solutions that help you be successful.
When Will Things Get Back to ‘Normal’?
That’s the million-dollar question. Transportation experts predict the flow of supply will improve in the next few months.
In the meantime, the Ultraflex team is here to answer any questions you have about supply issues. We’re here to help you identify solutions that will grow your business. For more information, email us.