by Doug Ubel

There’s no doubt you have heard the threat of tariffs on imports lately. Steel, aluminum and copper are not only subject to tariffs, but have also seen sharp price increases in the past year. These materials have all been affected, and are vital to our daily product production. As part of our 90-year history, we have weathered some challenging economic times. Here are some of the ways we mitigate risks during these times:

  • Relationships. Our procurement team has developed long-term, stable relationships with our suppliers. These are built and strengthened over many years to become trusting, open and sharing. They are right-sized so that the business is highly interesting for both sides.

  • Metrics. Business updates and review meetings are held in a collaborative fashion with strategic suppliers. We utilize vendor scorecards to provide metrics based on performance and pricing.  These metrics allow us to make educated decisions and continue to grow our business.

  • Long-term Planning. The use of strategic, long-term sourcing enables supply to be secured at the proper quality with high on-time delivery rates. Knowing the demand of the markets we serve, from years of data collection, helps us plan for inevitable shifts in the market.

  • Trust. By building long-term relationships, the trust established is leveraged to discuss the proper timing for long-term contracts, negotiations with mills and hedging activities. This allows the critical raw materials to be sourced at competitive rates so that margins can be delivered and the customer base can be satisfied.

  • Contingencies. Contingency plans are always made to allow flexibility in the supply so that downtime is minimized and inventory planning is always addressed.

What helps your company succeed when new challenges arise? Our leadership team has a wealth of industry knowledge that allows for educated decisions to be made. They also have a habit of listening to employees at every level and empower them to see and address issues first-hand.