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Automation supply chain: Staying close despite stresses

Sept. 14, 2021
Digitalization and maintaining relationships helps alleviate shortages and huge lead times caused by COVID-19 pandemic and its expanding Delta variant
2021 Automation supply chain update

This article is the first installment of the 2021 Automation supply chain update. 

View the rest of the series here.

The devil you know is supposed to be better than the one you don't. However, the draining grind of coping with COVID-19 for a year and a half may not be much better than the initial panic and tragic devastation of the pandemic in its early months. 

For instance, after a year and half of COVID-19 and its recent Delta variant, more than 75 respondents to Control's latest "Buy direct vs. distributors" survey reported in July 2021 that they're retaining many of the strategies they adopted at the beginning of the pandemic to locate, specify, purchase and implement components and support services, such as buying direct from suppliers and online from distributor websites. Those experiencing supply chain disruptions increased 12 percentage points from 74.5% in 2020 to 86.5% this year. These disruptions included ordering delays, unavailable products and increase shipping and logistics problems, which all jumped more than 10 percentage points during 2020-21, as well as pricing volatility that skyrocketed more than 30 percentage points from 21% to more than 52% during the same period.

Perhaps due to the release of some pent up demand, project delays declined 13 percentage points from 68% in 2020 to 55% this year, while cancelled projects dropped 23 percentage points from almost 40% to just over 17% during the same period. Some other good news was that added tech support hours increased almost 10 percentage points from 15.8% last year to 25.4% this year, while added discounts and more flexible financing both posted significant gains. Best of all, system integration services shot up 18 percentage points from almost 12% in 2020 to more than 30% this year.

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About the author: Jim Montague
About the Author

Jim Montague | Executive Editor

Jim Montague is executive editor of Control. 

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