NSCA can’t solve product availability or supply chain challenges, but we can offer our best advice on how to navigate these rough waters.
It’s clear that the supply chain is your No. 1 or No. 2 business challenge this year.
Although we can’t solve this problem, we can do our best to gather and offer business advice to mitigate the negative impact it has on your business. During a recent State of the Industry webinar, hosted by NSCA and Commercial Integrator, Editor Dan Ferrisi asked me what integrators can do to overcome supply chain obstacles.
To answer, I shared these insights and recommendations from leaders within the NSCA Community …
Remember: Supply chain issues extend far beyond our industry’s products.
It’s not just amplifiers or speakers (or whatever you’re selling and installing) that are hard to get. Projects are seeing supply chain issues with all types of materials. This unpredictability creates pause for customers thinking about what it will to take to build a new building or create a different space. A specific material may cost exponentially more than it did a year or two ago—and it might be sitting at a harbor waiting to be unloaded. In other words: It’s not only the supply chain creating confusion about when you can get the materials you need, but also the labor shortage issue.
The most important thing is communication.
NSCA members are doing a pretty good job of being transparent, letting customers know about potential product delays and how they might impact a project to eliminate surprises (or at least mitigate them). Overpromising and apologizing later won’t lead to a happy ending for you or the customer that’s depending on the solution.
Relief is hard to predict.
Economists seem to think that supply chain issues will be around for a while. Go through 2022 with a mindset focused on overcoming these challenges—not wondering when they’ll go away (you might be waiting a while).
In a previous Integrate article, NSCA’s Emerging Technologies Committee collaborated on how to approach supply chain challenges. They talked about communication and making sure your sales team aligns with overall company direction on transparency. They also emphasized the importance of planning for alternative products so you have options to choose from.
The bottom line: There is no bottom line. This is an evolving situation, and it’s one that brings out the best in leadership. In the NSCA Community, we use the words “nimble” and “pivot” a lot—but those words have never been more appropriate as integrators navigate availability challenges to meet growing demand after watching project pipelines dry up in 2020 and 2021.
NSCA continues to be here to help in any way we can.
Tom LeBlanc is NSCA executive director.