It’s easy to continue blaming COVID for everything bad in the world today. Our industry, like many others, has been hit dramatically. Face-to-face meetings are few and far between, it’s hard to fill job vacancies, supply chain issues are making it near impossible to deliver products on time, truck driver shortages add to delays and now, the cost of raw materials continue to skyrocket with no end in sight. With material costs up, most businesses must increase prices to remain profitable.
Raw materials across the board are considerably more expensive today as compared to pre-covid days. Copper has been escalating the last 60 days alone, nickel is up nearly 10% in last the 30 days, and steel has been on the rise since November. A good portion of our internal weekly meetings are spent discussing rising costs of materials, potential price increases, how to handle customer satisfaction and our expectations for the remainder of the year.
There are other factors contributing to escalating raw material prices aside from Covid.
This includes a rise in demand, increasing energy and fuel costs, freezing temperatures in southern states, shipping delays, truck driver shortages, understaffed warehouses and so on. With so many things contributing, it’s tough to predict when things may return to normal.
A recent article on PHCP Pros, What Will 2022 Yield for the Plumbing and Construction Industries, mentions that several construction market segments are poised for growth in 2022. This includes multiunit housing, commercial development, and residential remodeling–all which will keep the plumbing fixtures and fittings in high demand. While this is good news for companies in the PVF industry, like Matco-Norca, we still must keep a focus on customer satisfaction. As of late, we certainly have to be creative.
What can you do to protect your business?
Companies can only focus on what they can control, which isn’t a lot these days. One area that can still be controlled is customer service. Making sure the right team of workers are in place and that people are accessible via phone and online. There is a big shift to focusing on the online experience, making it easy for customers to get what they need quickly. Matco-Norca has adjusted how we forecast and place orders in addition to working on our website.
“We are expediting the critical products stocked at our warehouses that are in high demand. We are using airfreight when we can for project related work with stringent deadlines. And we have adjusted to the new norm of longer lead times,” explains John Grasso VP of Operations for Matco-Norca and SVF Flow Controls. Everyone knows product shipments are delayed, but if you can communicate with customers so they can handle it better, that helps.
About SVF Flow Controls
SVF Flow Controls is a recognized leader in flow control technology. We offer a full range of superior-quality engineered valves, actuators and controls for unique applications such as high pressure and high purity. Designed of exotic alloys, SVF Flow Controls serves many industries including; chemical, biotech, semiconductor, pharmaceutical, petro-chem, food & beverage, oil & gas, refining, etc.
By Amy Zucchi, Director of Marketing
Matco-Norca/SVF Flow Controls