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Pulse of the pandemic in process

Sept. 10, 2020
Strong Links: Part 2

Read more in the Strong Links mini-series!

Because COVID-19 emerged and spread so quickly, everyone was forced to cope by using whatever solutions and awareness were handy, at least until better understanding levels and solutions gradually became possible. Some responses were woefully inadequate, but other available tools and existing infrastructures have proven useful and resilient. Of course, most involve preparation ahead of time, using existing supply lines and relationships, getting networked, and using the Internet and other forms of digitalization.

To collect and confirm specifics about how readers view their supply chains and how they're handling the pandemic, Control secured responses from close to 100 end users, distributors and suppliers in its latest 10-question "Distributors vs. Buy Direct" survey in July 2020 (see sidebar). They also reported on the most useful strategies they're using during the pandemic to locate, specify, purchase and implement their components and support services:

  • Buying direct from suppliers jumped almost 10 percentage points from 66.4% in 2019 to 75.8% this year, while buying from distributors dropped more than 10 percentage points from 79.6% in 2019 to 68.4% this year.
  • Online purchasing from distributor websites also jumped almost 10 percentage points to 72.3% this year from 64.1% last year, but purchases from supplier websites only dropped slightly to 69.9% this year from 72.8% last year.
  • Almost three quarters of respondents (74.5%) report they're experiencing supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19, including delayed projects, ordering delays,  unavailable products, increased shipping and logistics difficulties and cancelled projects.

To help fight pandemic-related disruptions, respondents report they're expanding their online presence (38.2%), offering more flexible shipping (31.6%), and adding tech support hours (15.8%), discounts (14.5%) and installation hours (14.5%).

Process control engineers, system integrators, technical professionals and other Control readers rely on a combination of suppky chains when buying process controls, automation and related devices. These sources include traditional distributors, direct from suppliers, and increasingly via the Internet—which have all been severely impacted by  COVID-19. In this latest 10-question survey in July 2020, almost 100 respondents reported on the most useful strategies they're using during the pandemic to locate, specify, purchase and implement their components and support services. For complete results, visit www.controlglobal.com/assets/buydirectvsdistributors2020.pdf  

About the author: Jim Montague
About the Author

Jim Montague | Executive Editor

Jim Montague is executive editor of Control. 

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