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supply chain strategies

Even lamestream media is talking about potential supply chain breakdown. Of course they are blaming everybody but the people causing it; pointing fingers outward instead of inward. Nevertheless, the message should be reaching most of us that between now and absolutely empty shelves lies a large field of stuff getting hard to get.

A friend scheduled a brake job on his late model, plain-Jane car three weeks ago. I helped him deliver it to the tech priests for the repair. He came out of the office muttering a blue streak. The parts for a job scheduled well in advance were going to be weeks from arrival. He was ranting at the repair shop before I ‘splained it to him.

Automotive Solutions is not in the parts warehousing business. In the world they are accustomed to, the parts come to them within a couple of hours after they call the local parts supply house with specifics gleaned from the disassembly and analysis phase of the repair.

The local parts house cannot afford huge inventories of every potentially needed part. One or two each of the most common serves nearly all of their customer demand. The rest are a day away in the stocking wholesale house.

The wholesale auto parts warehouse doesn’t need to tie up huge volumes of capital in square footage or inventory as the manufacturers handle meeting the demands of global markets rather well.

Nice system, but what if it breaks down?

It is really not IF, but WHEN that is currently coming up on the guitar.

It is not just auto parts, but everything we take for granted as readily available in our town or the next town down. I have recorded a number of videos and published numerous posts along that line. Today’s focus is this intermediate field of spotty supplies.

I will use the transformation I have contracted on my Dr. Zee motorcycle from too tall to somewhere near just right.

Not trusting the parts to be readily available to The Motorcycle Garage, I wrote a check for AT LEAST enough to cover their costs before the work was on their schedule. That frees them up to order parts they know will fit and from suppliers and manufacturers they have learned to trust. Now the inventory costs are on me. Get ’em rolling in.

In another example, we have been told from our regular auto shop that the catalytic converter in our 23-year-old van is failing which, in turn, is causing the transmission to struggle, soon to fail in a much more expensive way.

Today I scheduled a catalyst replacement surgery at the local shop who has regained my trust and I offered to buy the parts in advance because “I don’t trust the supply chain”. The shop proprietor responds, “I don’t either. I will order the part as soon as you call me with the VIN. You don’t need to prepay. I will handle it”.

There is my tip for the day.

At least offer to buy the parts as soon as you have an idea of what parts are needed.

Do not trust the supply chain.

We have just entered the rapids.

Turbulence will get a lot rougher from here.

Of course at this juncture I could easily degenerate into my oft-repeated warnings about establishing your own inventories of things you or your neighbors might need when the store shelves are empty, and remain empty for a long, long time.

Been there; done that.

Check out over 200 posts here on preparing.