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updated: 10/13/2021 11:32 AM

Maintaining continuity in the face of global supply chain disruption

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  • Jeff Stewart

    Jeff Stewart

By Jeff Stewart
Chamberlain Group

With the global supply chain disruption showing no real signs of slowing down until well into 2022, manufacturers like us must continue to find ways to stay competitive in the marketplace and deliver for our customers.

Like many of our peers, we rely on a vast network of suppliers to provide the components and raw materials required to manufacture our smart access products like garage door openers, gate operators, commercial door operators and multidwelling access control systems. In this tumultuous time with so much focus on securing and shipping commodities for our manufacturing lines, Chamberlain Group has been able to maintain steady operations.

We've accomplished this feat through a commitment to teamwork among our sourcing and product teams and by building strong relationships with suppliers of all shapes and sizes.

We have seen a perfect storm of supply strains, increased lead times and record-high demand. Every company is chasing the same problems with supply, labor and commodities.

But what is really making the difference in our ability to continue making new products and deliver for our customers is our team's willingness to support each other and being creative in problem-solving supply challenges. In my 20-plus-year career, I have never seen so many of our teams work this closely together. It's terrific to see how we can come together and support each other.

Digging in to support customers

Our teams have been able to manage interruptions in the supply chain by building strategic relationships with suppliers, forming sourcing collaborations and substituting materials where possible. Tier one suppliers are great, but what happens when they are offline or behind schedule? By forging deeper relationships next-tier suppliers, we have diversified our supply base, strengthening capacity and keeping production steady.

In addition to our teams working more closely to plan for different scenarios, we have been able to minimize supply disruptions for our customers by reworking logistics plans and expanding strategic carrier partnerships. While relief is coming to some categories, material shortages are anticipated to continue through 2022, especially in electronics.

This is significant because, while other materials can be multi-sourced, some electronic chips may be product specific. To alleviate this choke point, our teams have been working endless hours to multi-source materials and qualify additional suppliers while securing alternate transportation options.

There is no comparison to the difficulties facing today's operations and supply chain teams all at once. Instead of folding under pressure from the mountain of supply logistics needing to be untangled and managed, our teams have thrived by banding together to develop creative solutions to complicated supply challenges.

Though we are talking about getting commodities from point A to point B, now more than ever, I believe the people responsible for those commodities' journeys make all the difference between successful and unsuccessful operations in times of crisis. I couldn't be prouder of our people.

Chamberlain Group is a global leader in smart access solutions across residential and commercial properties. Our prominent brands LiftMaster, Chamberlain, Merlin and Grifco are found in millions of residential and commercial access applications across the globe. Our innovative products and partnerships, powered by our myQ smart ecosystem, provide customers with smart access solutions to move safely through garages, homes, communities, businesses and storage facilities.

Chamberlain Group pioneered vehicle-to-home connectivity through patented technology aboard hundreds of millions of vehicles. Chamberlain Group owns Controlled Products Systems Group, a leading wholesale distributor of perimeter access control equipment in the U.S., and Systems, LLC, one of North America's leading dock leveler manufacturers.

• Jeff Stewart is executive vice president, operations & supply chain at Chamberlain Group in Oak Brook.