Some Challenges Behind and Some New Ones Ahead

As we already find ourselves halfway through 2021, thankfully life at Lou-Rich has returned to a level of normalcy comparable to early 2020. While some of our covid restrictions remain, many of them have been lifted. Mask mandates are no longer in our facilities. Customer and supplier visits are welcomed. Travel out to our customers and supplier sites has also started to increase. It is great to see everyone’s actual faces again. In person meetings are allowed, but I think most of them will remain in an online format. We certainly have learned how valuable and efficient online meetings are.

Production and new opportunity demand continue to grow. All the industries we support continue to be above forecasted numbers. With increased demand, supply chain challenges are one of the most pressing obstacles to manage. Steel prices are at incredible record highs with some pricing index metrics showing an increase of around 350% since Q3 of last year. In addition, availability for certain types of steel and other materials is scarce, causing lead times to keep extending. Supply chain logistics, production capacity, and overall labor constraints all contribute to making things very interesting in the contract manufacturing world. With these challenges, Lou-Rich is striving to keep product following through our value streams properly and timely. We are working to be proactive as possible with our supply base, our work center and outsource planning, and in our communication with our customers. It is a very active time in all our purchasing, planning, customer service, shipping, and program management roles. I can assure you these team members are working diligently on navigating this environment to bring positive outcomes for our customers. We would also like to thank our suppliers and outsource partners for all their support. They certainly have helped us overcome many obstacles.

Here’s to a great second half of 2021,

Lee Gulbrandson