How to Overcome a Material Shortage in the Finishing Industry

How to Overcome a Material Shortage in the Finishing Industry

Grow your planning efforts to prevent the effects of a material shortage on your finishing business. Learn how to reduce the impact of any challenge thrown your way.

The recent global pandemic sent shockwaves to all finishing professionals in 2021 and 2022 when there were massive supply chain issues and material shortages.

The good news is those crazy times and experiences should be in the rearview mirror. And the even better news is that experts are optimistic about the supply chain in 2024 and beyond.

But if 2020 has taught us anything as industry experts, we must expect the unexpected. At Finishers Depot, we believe leaders in the finishing industry should be well-prepared if we ever face shortages again.

Keep reading for suggestions on how you can always stay prepared for potential shortages. You’ll also see why developing a professional relationship with Finishers Depot can be a key to your success, especially if market conditions deteriorate as they did in 2021-2022.

Increase Your Inventory To Combat Material Shortage

As a professional finisher, keeping common, industry-standard materials on hand is the best practice to avoid material shortages. But, this doesn’t mean you need an armageddon level stockpile.

You should consider upcoming customer orders and keep enough inventory in stock to feel confident you can meet or exceed your intended deadlines and contractual obligations.

For instance, acetone is a widely used solvent in solvent-based materials. You may realize that the U.S. produces most of these materials. Suppose one refinery stops producing acetone for 3 months for a maintenance turnaround. Suddenly, that solvent is on allocation – which means it is less readily available to you – and there could be shortages and potential price increases.

Much like pulling up to the gas pump each week, market fluctuations like these are to be expected. But with this in mind, keeping a stock of the necessary and standard wood finishing supplies you utilize daily, weekly, or monthly as a finishing professional on hand is a wise move.

Consult With Your Suppliers To Intercept Material Shortage

Communication with external customers and third-party suppliers is crucial to mitigate risks associated with raw material shortages.

For example, a mill workshop may be asked to finish fixtures for 100+ retail store locations. The shop may be contracted to deliver 10 fixture packages per week to fulfill its obligation to the company. In this case, the shop is promising to deliver a certain number of items within a fixed timeframe at a predetermined, promised price.

Before signing a commitment like that, we recommend talking to your suppliers and asking them these questions:

  • Do you see any supply chain issues coming soon?
  • Do you foresee any shortages in the near future? 
  • Can you guarantee the availability of the necessary supplies at an agreed-upon price for a year?

The answers from your supplier will then impact your business dealings with the customer. And, you will want to work with a reputable buyer who can handle the volume your business needs so you can see your projects reach completion on time and within budget, resulting in higher client satisfaction.

If they can’t answer the call, consider finding alternative partners to help you overcome potential issues and satisfy agreed-upon delivery dates.

Create Contingency Plans For Material Shortage

Things do not always go according to plan, as we saw in 2021 and 2022. That’s why it’s a good idea to practice “what if” scenarios and develop contingency plans for worst-case circumstances.

Similarly, it is a good idea to regularly consider events that could create shortages so that you can create contingency plans to address potential supply chain disruptions.

In 2017, no one could have predicted the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey that impacted supply chains throughout Southeast Texas. Now, everyone knows how important it is to have backup plans, stay informed in real-time, and prepare for storms well before hurricane season.

Likewise, as a professional finisher, you will want to stay abreast of global issues and events that could create global shortages. This way, you can preemptively plan how to adjust and respond to potential material supply shortages in the global supply chain.

Shop Local When Possible To Avoid a Material Shortage

Sourcing from local suppliers is a good idea because it reduces the risk associated with international shipping and can help prevent shortages in your business.

International shipping can be full of headaches, timeline delays, and project disruptions. Fortunately, Finishers Depot sources our materials locally so that we can be a reliable source of wood finishing solutions for professional finishers.

Because of our specialty experience, we provide everything you need as a wood finisher in one outlet rather than dealing with many vendors. In other words, you can count on us as your one-stop shop for wood finishing products.

Why Develop A Professional Relationship With Finishers Depot?

When you develop a long-term relationship with us, you will experience a sense of stability, comfort, and loyalty, especially when facing a potential material shortage.

Why? Because we work for you and with you. As our founder, Terry Parrish, says, “At Finishers Depot, we believe in partnering with our clients to find solutions that help them to be successful.”

We understand what it is like to be a professional finisher because we are professional finishers ourselves. We have felt the stress and pressure associated with a sudden disruption when you cannot find the necessary supplies to complete the job.

We are honored to have an industry reputation as a trustworthy supplier. One of the keys to building a strong reputation has been consistently having enough supply volume to meet our customers' demands, even during the most difficult circumstances.

We’re Prepared for a Potential Material Shortage

Our commitment was unwavering during the 2021-2022 supply chain crisis. When our customers experienced shortages, we worked closely with them to brainstorm alternative solutions so that they could stay committed to their project timelines despite supply chain challenges.

We systematically and strategically identified solutions so they could overcome specific challenges. We even created an online document with weekly updates to keep our customers as informed and up-to-date as possible with what was happening concerning industry conditions and global events.

Consistently Going Above and Beyond for You

At Finishers Depot, we pride ourselves on our quality products, unmatched customer service, and ability to identify the right strategy to support your needs. As such, we are the go-to resource for experienced professional finishers who must satisfy customer orders.

When you trust us to meet your business needs, you are not just buying products but investing in a partnership to help you reach your goals. Our dedicated client care representatives are prepared to provide you with a hassle-free experience that ensures your success.

Our team of finishing professionals can expertly assist you in stocking supplies to navigate any hurdle and avoid the ramifications of a potential material shortage. Then, you will always be prepared to stay on time and within budget for your projects. 

When you’re ready to place your next order, contact us for a complimentary consultation with a member of our team. Let’s find a solution that works for your finishing shop.