Government regulations have been loosening up lately, but some impacts resulting from them are increasing as construction keeps moving forward. One specific item that comes to mind is material lead times. Items that we were accustomed to being readily available now seem to carry a 2-3 week lead time, and items that were normally 4-5 weeks have jumped to 10-12 weeks. If anyone has tried to buy any furniture or appliances for your home lately, I am sure you can attest to that. This creates unique challenges for our project teams to overcome, but our company processes have been developed to help mitigate these issues for our clients and us.
Purchasing materials early is the essential first step, but that is just the beginning. We have come to learn in the past 18 months that there is a lot of uncertainty in the supply chain industry due to constraints of their own, whether they are labor shortages or raw material shortages. The direct result of this is lead times are now changing weekly or, in some cases, daily. This leads to the next step of our process; once an item has been purchased, we regularly verify the status of manufacturing to identify issues as early as possible through our material status report. Identifying issues early provides us with the opportunity to mitigate the issue before it has a big impact on the project and our clients.
Our goal is to work through these issues among our contractors and suppliers. Still, a ripple effect of this to our clients and design teams is they may be faced with choosing a different color product or maybe a different manufacturer with more favorable lead times. We understand this is not ideal and is the last resort option, but the collaboration we have seen between clients, designers, and contractors to work through these issues is inspiring and is hopefully something that is here to stay.
The Douglas Company