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Coping With Material Shortages

By Project Executive Casey Hughes and Vice President of Preconstruction Omar Black

The pandemic has created countless challenges for the construction industry. One of the difficulties affecting contractors across the country is the disruption of the supply chain. The ripple effect of material delays and shortages is impacting projects today and will continue to do so. Upstream supply chain shortages of raw materials, coupled with manufacturers struggling to support factory production rates due to staffing restrictions, have created an all-time low supply of new products. During this material shortage, demand has simultaneously surged. Housing starts continue to trend upwards, low-interest rates have incentivized large purchases, and diminished inventory levels are creating a backlog of orders.

While every day brings a new challenge, trades that are facing the current market shift include:

Dealing with material shortages during covid-19

Harkins is focused on implementing creative solutions to mitigate project impacts in a variety of ways, including:

  • Early Project Involvement: Harkins’ early involvement in the project allows us to obtain materials with long lead times well before they are needed, in lieu of just-in-time contracting. By partnering with the design team, we are able to help specify products and designs that are readily available or work together to find alternative materials to ensure that disruptions are minimized.
  • Advanced Management of Supply Chain: Historically, Harkins has always emphasized effective supply chain management on our projects. In our current environment, this focus has intensified even further. By monitoring our buyout schedules, long lead time logs, material control logs, and 90-day schedules, we have been successful in receiving the necessary materials and products by the scheduled dates.
  • Strong Relationships: Harkins has been leveraging our 55-year history and relationships with our clients, design teams, key trade partners, suppliers, and vendors to ensure that we are receiving the most up-to-date information about materials. This team collaboration is essential to formulating the most appropriate mitigation strategy.
  • Investigating Creative Storage Solutions & Buying Arrangements: Harkins is working with our owners and design teams on accelerated submittals and, in some cases, expedited shipping. Other arrangements, such as buying materials and storing them before they are needed, are also in consideration.

We will continue to monitor the market trends that our industry is facing, and Harkins will adapt accordingly. If you have any questions about how Harkins can help with material concerns, please reach out to Project Executive Casey Hughes at chughes@harkinsbuilders.com.