Ask The Expert - Q&A with our product sourcing guru, Chad!
With supply chain issues affecting industries nationwide, everyone is affected. Especially the end consumer! That’s why we’re sitting down with Chad, our in-house inventory manager and product sourcing expert. We’re going to get his perspective on the global material shortages, how he sources new quality detailing products for our store, and how this could impact your pocket this holiday season and beyond.
Hey Chad, thanks for taking the time to chat. We’re going to jump right into this one with the question everyone wants the answer to.
Q: Do these global supply chain issues mean some of the products we carry will be going out of stock and what steps are you taking to combat this?
A: Supply chain issues have certainly been a challenge but not one that our team has been unable to handle. Items going on backorder are getting more and more common but we have had our finger on the pulse since day 1. As a result we have been adding more manufacturers to our arsenal to make sure that we have not one but multiple options for sourcing goods. In some cases we have replaced items with either equivalent options or simply upgraded our product line up. We will always make lemonade out of lemons.
Q: If product costs are going up because of shortages, is there anything you’re doing to offset price increases? Like sourcing certain products from different vendors or anything else?
A: You bet! We have seen it too many times where companies are not changing anything and simply increasing their prices MULTIPLE times a month. We feel that is not fair to our customers to take such a lazy approach. We have found new manufacturers and worked out agreements with them that lock us into certain price brackets and on our end we agree to buy certain quantities of products. That way it’s a win win for everyone. The pandemic has had minimal effect on our pricing, and we will continue staying on our toes to ensure our customers get the best products at the best prices.
Q: What does your process look like for sourcing new products you want our store to carry?
A: I speak for our entire office team when I say we all are constantly learning and searching for new information. However, tons of research is only the beginning. We like to find multiple options for new items and gather samples to test out right here in our wash bay by some of the best and brightest in the industry to ensure we find the highest quality goods. We will also at times open things up to our customers via social media to get feedback from them directly.
Q: Since we have such a high standard for quality here, does that make it more or less challenging to find new detailing supplies for us to carry?
A: It certainly can be challenging but not one the team here at Image can’t handle. It all comes down to lots of research, gathering feedback, and testing. We are lucky to have such a high quality team that has a wide variety of skills and backgrounds so we are getting opinions from every angle.
Q: When ordering detailing supplies from our vendors, are you seeing a lot of items being out of stock and back ordered? If so, what are some of the longest wait times for backorders you’ve seen this year? What kind of lead times are we talking about here?
A: Absolutely, depending on the industry we are gathering the products from, we have seen backorders as long as 6 months. In those instances we just communicate with our vendors effectively and at times source materials from other sources until the items come back in stock. Overall we try to keep at minimum 2 months of stock on hand which gives us basically 1 month cushion. That way we have time to make quick changes which will reduce or eliminate impact on the customer’s end.
Q: What about chemicals? Are those going to stay stocked up and available for purchase through the holiday months? Are we seeing any changes on that side of things? And if so, do you recommend companies stock up on anything in particular to be prepared for shortages in the near future?
A: So far, our chemical manufacturer has been able to keep things operating normally. So we’re in good shape for the holiday season. We maintain communication with them as much as possible so we can prepare ourselves and our customers for any major changes way ahead of time. If you have a large fleet we would highly recommend ordering larger quantities either way. That way you can make sure you have what you need at all times. Plus, you get more bang for your buck that way.
Q: Do you have any other recommendations for people based on inventory/supply chain issues you’ve been dealing with?
A: Always keep your finger on the pulse of your vendors. Over communicate through these difficult times so you can stay flexible. As I stated before, our arsenal of products only got better through the pandemic and that in part is due to items we normally stocked going out of stock and placed on very long backorders. Which lead us to finding even better items from more dependable providers. Make that lemonade. Cheers!
Big thanks to Chad for taking the time to sit down with me today and get this knowledge out there. If you're shopping around and notice something is out of stock, feel free to shoot us a message by clicking the blue chat bubble in the bottom right corner of this page so we can harass Chad about it.
Thanks for reading,
Chief Marketing Officer
Image Wash Products
Oct 18, 2021