You put a lot of time and effort into designing a space that is engaging and effective. Technology choices have been carefully considered to enhance the user experience. And you’ve developed plans for an unveiling sure to get everyone excited… unless there are empty spaces where interactive displays or video walls were planned. Instead of a demo, you’ve got Joe in Accounting singing a medley of show tunes. No disrespect to Joe, but it’s not how you envisioned the culmination of your hard work.
Global supply issues are impacting everything from your bathroom remodel to Sunday dinner. The fall-out from the pandemic will be felt through most of the year. We asked Dave Hutton, senior manager of B2B channel sales and PTG’s expert on Samsung solutions, for advice on ensuring a successful technology installation.
RESTARTING THE PRODUCTION ENGINE
When the world slowed down with shelter-in-place requirements, it kicked off a perfect storm that could potentially impact your next audio-visual project. Many consumer and business purchases were tabled, leaving organizations with difficult choices to protect the bottom line.
“Companies realized that the pandemic would be with us for a while and cut back on forecasts,” says Dave. “That decision cascaded down the chain to support businesses and shipping infrastructure.” If there are no orders for display screens, you don’t need semiconductors to build them or container ships to transport them. Limited production of raw materials like plastics and glass – which rely on petroleum – particularly impact audio-visual products. Bad weather and disasters like oil refinery fires complicated an already difficult situation.
Available inventory was snatched up to support the sudden transition to working from home, followed by a surprise consumer resurgence in the first quarter of 2021. Manufacturers were left to juggle demand for high-volume consumer products with less-frequently purchased professional equipment.
Businesses are escalating production, but Dave foresees this challenge will remain through at least the third quarter of 2021. “All of the parts of the cycle are trying to ramp up, but producers are fighting for the same raw products. Shipping options are still limited – and more costly. As a result, professional products are experiencing delays.”
JUMP TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE
A good forecast can help prevent foul weather at your launch party. Companies manage inventory through a sales forecast, which helps them plan for equipment needs around the globe. In times of shortages, products included in the forecast are more protected than other requests.
“Make sure your suppliers know about your project’s needs to include in our forecast,” says Dave. “We prioritize forecasted inventory, which gets supplied before individual orders.”
Not all products are impacted, so some items could be supplied quickly. Discuss your needs with your sales professional and product manager to better understand timing concerns. As a rule, Dave recommends placing orders at least 3 months before needed. This could mean accelerating the paperwork around procurement, like issuing purchase orders sooner.
For a smooth installation, make sure your project stays on everyone’s radar. Dave’s advice is to increase planning and communication efforts. “This is not how we’ve been able to conduct business in the past. You need to stay ahead of challenges by prioritizing technology decisions and sharing those needs as early as possible.”
Things change quickly, so make sure everyone involved has a clear view of your project’s timeline as it progresses. Dave and the PTG team discuss Samsung product needs twice each week. Shipping, for example, is backlogged as the product starts to move to U.S. ports. Earlier this year, the Port of Los Angeles logged the busiest March on record. That sounds like amazing progress until you consider that dozens of container ships were anchored, awaiting entry to the port.
Careful planning and proactive communication can help you manage product availability concerns. Alignment with suppliers – especially regarding your forecast for future project needs – can bring clear skies for your technology installation. The fantastic demos of interactive displays will be worth the extra effort. (Sorry, Joe.)
Thankfully, you don’t have to go through your technology project alone. Let’s talk about how we can bring your audio-visual vision to life.
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