It may still be early into 2022, but many local companies aren’t expecting shipments for parts until well into next year. The well-known supply chain squeeze, exasperated by a global pandemic and warfare, is far from over.
Delays of a year or more are severely bogging down tech firms such as ACR Systems, a data logging solutions company, reports Derrick Penner for the Vancouver Sun. The delays are extreme—if you can even find a supplier willing to offer a delivery timeline, ACR general manager Wayne Thompson told Penner.
According to Thompson, the delays are widespread, affecting everything from integrated circuits and capacitors to simple plastic connectors.
The supply issues plaguing ACR, based just outside of Vancouver, are hardly unique. A recent survey conducted by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters suggests 90% of manufacturers in Canada are facing supply chain disruptions—and a majority of those affected say the disruptions are “major” or “severe.”
“Our survey confirmed what we’ve been hearing from manufacturers on the ground for a long time,” notes Dennis Darby, president of CME. “Demand for manufactured goods is strong but we are increasingly unable to keep up let alone take advantage of this boom.”
Darby cites a perfect storm of “labour shortages, supply chain challenges and higher input costs.” Each alone is a “big problem,” says Darby, let alone all of them combined.
So far Canadian manufacturers have lost billions of dollars in sales because of disruptions, according to the CME survey, and issues remain ongoing. In BC, manufacturers have lost more than $100 million, while also experiencing $84 million in increased costs, most of which are passed on by suppliers farther up the supply chain.
For example, VMAC Global Technologies on Vancouver Island “had to absorb some astronomical air-freight costs to keep the lines moving,” the firm’s supply-chain manager Yolande Freed informed Penner. For them, six-week delivery windows became three to four months.
“If we don’t address these [big problems], Canada’s economy will suffer,” Darby says.
One of the suggested solutions to supply chain issues in the CME report is a call for increased support “to help accelerate the adoption of automation technologies,” such as from Attabotics, which replaces the 2D rows and aisles of traditional fulfillment centres with a patented 3D storage structure and robotics shuttle system inspired by ant colonies.