Solving Supply

Industries & Trends

“The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize.”
– Shigeo Shingo


Area Businesses Conquer Supply Chain Challenges

It’s no secret that the last few years have seen plenty of supply chain challenges. The issues have spanned a variety of industries, and in many cases, the unpredictability has trickled down to consumers. Here, we spoke with the leaders of several companies who shared insight as to how they are navigating the ever-evolving supply chain and are continuing to deliver top-notch products and services.

harshad shah

Harshad Shah

President & CEO, Hamilton Plastics, Inc.

Over the past 37 years, Hamilton Plastics has endured supply chain changes due to everything from recessions and hurricanes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Navigating each of those turbulent time periods has taught us quite a bit about what to do when the market shifts. Supply chain issues primarily affect us in relation to our raw materials. We have always been extremely loyal to our vendors and built strong long-term partnerships throughout our history. When the going gets tough, our vendors consistently have our back and do everything it takes to get us raw materials because of that loyalty. Over the years we have paid extraordinarily high rates for shipping because of our reliance on large 3PLs, so my son started Shah Trucking & Logistics so we could control our costs and offer more controlled service to our customers. This has been a game changer for our supply chain strategy.

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royce cornelison

Royce Cornelison

Chairman & CEO, P&C Construction

The supply chain debacle has brought various challenges to the construction sector, including increased costs, long lead times in the procurement of products, extended schedules, projects that are postponed (or canceled altogether) for delivery schedules, and more. The cost of construction projects has increased from 30% to over 100%, depending on the type and location. Although the availability and cost of some products, such as lumber, have improved, other items manufactured from metals such as doors, HVAC equipment, and electrical equipment tend to have long delivery times and the costs are much higher than a few years ago. With the increased expenses, we anticipate the problems to continue, if not worsen, over the next several months. Despite all the difficulties, we feel blessed to continue to have a strong client base with many ongoing projects and an incredible staff of professionals who somehow manage to get the job done!

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holly martin

Holly Martin

Founder/Director, Gaining Ground Grocery & Chattanooga Food Center

During the pandemic, consumers were forced to confront the fragility of our food system and realized how quickly supply chain disruptions can affect what is available to eat. The crucial role of local agriculture and farmers was brought to the forefront, and self-reliance has continued to resonate with consumers. Opening the Chattanooga Food Center and then our local grocery concept, Gaining Ground Grocery, was a source of interest for many customers who had never thought much about where their food comes from. Looking forward, the support and possibility for our region to strengthen and develop a resilient local food system is important from an economic, health, environmental, and security standpoint. Our region is positioned in many ways to achieve this. We have all the pieces of the puzzle needed to create this type of system, but help will be needed to put them all together.

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brad cobb

Brad Cobb

President, Bowers Automotive Group

Over the last two years, the automotive industry was one of the most impacted segments due to supply chain issues stemming from a dramatic decrease in microchip production. Auto manufacturers were forced to shutter plants and reduce production, which in turn decimated dealer inventories causing a shortage of new cars which caused a dramatic decrease in used inventory. Our business model called for a 90-day supply of new cars and a 60-day supply of preowned cars. The initial introduction to taking delivery of the car usually occurred over a 24-hour to one-week period where most of the transaction took place at the dealership. As a result of the reset of inventory levels, we now operate on a 10-day supply of new cars and a 30-day supply of used cars. The purchase process now can take up to several months as a result of a lack of selection. However, we have experienced a heightened level of satisfaction in the process because customers are getting exactly what they want rather than settling for what is on the lot. 

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jason greer

Jason Greer

Food & Beverage Director, Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar, SideTrack, and Sugar’s Ribs

In a world of surging prices and scarcity of resources, some businesses are choosing to move to cheaper, more readily available ingredients, but our goal as a restaurant group is centered around delivering an extraordinarily consistent experience. Sourcing became our number one priority. We focused on strengthening supplier relationships, but also raising our standards of expectations. Ultimately, we diversified our supplier portfolio and increased the vendors we work with by well over 50%. We now have around 20 distributors who deliver different products on different days. This gave us the opportunity to bring in fresher products and even run with leaner inventory in some areas. We took this same approach across the board, changing our entire wine and beverage portfolio to be broader in price point and depth. We supported this effort with intensive training for our managers to be experts at identifying quality concerns so that we know with absolute confidence that what is coming in the door every single day meets our standards.

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