It’s that time of year when we look back on the old year and look forward to a new one. While 2022 had its challenges, it was certainly better than the previous couple of years!
International supply chains have been a mess since the pandemic started more than two years ago. During the first few months of the crisis, factories closed or dramatically cut production to meet safety guidelines. In response, shipping companies cut their schedules, which was a mistake, because, with everything closed, consumers shifted their spending from services to physical goods. The decrease in production and shipping, worker shortages, and surging demand, meant that space on any cargo ship was expensive. This created supply chain chaos that still hasn’t ended, even though it is improving.
At Sperry & Rice we try to be as transparent and collaborative with our customers as we can. Our customer service department talks to our customers on a regular basis to keep them informed of production statuses and identify alternative solutions when the deadlines weren’t possible to achieve.
Through it all, our customers have understood that some materials might not be available at times and that we could help them substitute rubber materials if needed. The issues are easing, and we’ve been able to reduce our lead times down to 4-6 weeks, depending on the product.
2022 has been called “the great resignation” but thanks to our incredible employees and their unwavering loyalty, we didn’t feel the effects of people leaving their jobs like many companies did. Sure, we’ve found it a bit tougher to fill open positions created because of company growth, but that’s to be expected.
Internally, we have been listening to what our employees say and have implemented processes that help our people develop their interests throughout various areas of the company. We don’t only look for technical skills in a candidate, but rather we focus on the mindset and values of a person to ensure they are a good fit culturally. Our HR department is dedicated to helping people find the area in the company where they can shine, make an impact, and develop a career path.
We are focused on finding flexibility and encouraging our employees to learn and work in other departments of their interest, which has helped us in these tough times to cover the gaps when needed in all departments.
Having employees that have been with Sperry & Rice for 40 or more years make us feel that we’re doing a good job and appreciating their strengths. We can’t thank our employees enough for helping us get through the last few years!
The annual inflation rate for the U.S. is 7.7% for the 12 months ended October 2022, and experts believe the effects of inflation may still be with us after the supply chain issues ease, and may persist into 2023.
The sad fact is, prices of just about everything have risen, including rubber. We hope this is a temporary setback, but we’d like to reference Takeaway #1 again – that our customers have been very understanding because they’re experiencing the same price pressures that we are.
When we look at all the challenges of the past few years, just the fact that we are all still here and doing business is a major accomplishment. That’s because we were able to adapt when needed and change as times dictated. That is the very definition of ‘resilience’ – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. This is what has defined us all these years.
What will 2023 hold? That’s yet to be seen, but with understanding customers, incredible employees, and our shared resilience, we’ll make it through whatever comes, together. Do you want to share with us your projects for next year? Let’s talk!