Solving Persistent Supply Chain Issues
by Tendon, on Oct 19, 2022 7:00:00 AM
Since the COVID-19 global pandemic, unique challenges meant everyday construction projects were often harder to accomplish and more expensive to execute. Even so, Tendon Systems continued on by providing exceptional services and work even when material costs skyrocketed and labor shortages plagued the industry.
Read on to learn more about these supply chain issues and explore a unique project Tendon Systems accomplished successfully during these unprecedented times.
Tendon Systems offers services all across the country for PT-cable systems, concrete restoration and much more. Our team of licensed engineers is standing by to meet the demands of your next project. Give us a call at 678-835-1100 to get started.
The Impact of Supply Chain Issues
In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, almost every industry felt the crunch of supply chain issues. The cocktail of problems stemming from increased demand and lockdowns limiting supply left businesses without materials and workers.
While these impacts were widespread, construction and related industries felt the fallout of the unprecedented international catastrophe much harder than other areas. With an increasingly globalized supply chain, even disruptions thousands of miles away hit closer to home than ever before.
Moreover, trends present before the pandemic grew into even more challenging problems for suppliers and businesses. Issues like driver shortages exacerbated these supply chain stressors and left many everyday business owners and operators searching for strategic ways to remedy their problems.
With all of these issues, customers felt uncertain about starting new projects or even finishing existing ones. This resulted in delayed delivery and construction schedules to add on to an already growing list of problems in the industry.
Additionally, because the supply chain is so fractured, when equipment breaks down it can take weeks or even months to get replacement parts. This increases downtime and delays schedules.
In 2021, around 90% of builders said they experienced a shortage of materials. These raw goods run the gambit from plywood to steel beams. This deficit in supply meant prices hit all-time highs, leading to higher costs across the board, not just for materials but for construction itself.
The price of steel alone hit an all-time high during the summer of 2021, rising in price by around 219% since the beginning of 2020. As you might imagine, this increase in the price of raw goods affects every piece of the supply chain. It’s not only the price of steel; it’s also the price of the goods that are made of steel. It affects suppliers, manufacturers and everyday businesses.
Additionally, manufacturers were using poor substitutes or reducing quality control measures just to get products out of the door and onto the truck. Essentially, contractors were paying more for materials of lower quality. This was increasingly frustrating for contractors who work hard to produce excellent results.
While raw good shortages and price increases wreaked havoc on the construction industry, that wasn’t the only stressor to supply chains. Shipping rates are a major factor in trade costs. An increase in transportation costs means an increase in price all down the supply chain.
While the beginning stages of the pandemic presented a decrease in demand for global shipping, increased demand in the second half of 2020 set off an unprecedented shortage of affordable transportation. This led to a severe increase in freight rates, jumping to a record price of over $10,800 in September of 2021.
Case Study: Holder Construction and Norfolk Southern
Even with all these supply chain issues, construction didn’t stop. In 2021, at the height of some of the pandemic-related problems, Tendon Systems was part of Holder Construction's massive 750,000 square foot twin-glass high-rise in Midtown Atlanta. Holder Construction is a large nationwide construction company.
This project presented many unique challenges for Tendon Systems, including time constraints, the need for strategic engineering and, of course, supply chain problems. Regardless of these hurdles, the team of project managers and workers executed the job on time and on budget.
The first, and most obvious problem, for the Holder project was dealing with the supply chain issues. Not only was Tendon involved in supplying materials for the initial portions of the project in terms of barrier cable installation, but they were also integral to the remediation of existing structures.
This meant sourcing specialized materials for Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) strengthening systems. Every vendor was impacted by supply chain shortages, making it difficult to get these necessary materials delivered on time.
Of course, labor shortage issues hampered the ability to run at full capacity. This presented unique challenges for the team on the ground. It also meant other contractors on-site struggled to find quality workers, leading to outside issues separate from Tendon, but nevertheless impactful on the project.
All these issues withstanding, the timeframe of the project didn’t shift when challenges requiring concrete remediation occurred. This meant that Tendon Systems needed to source materials, source workers and perform all the necessary concrete remediation practices all in the span of three months.
How Tendon Systems Solved the Issues
Tendon Systems has always presented a polished image and a professional reputation. Even so, the Holder project presented challenges that would fully test the capacity of Tendon Systems and the team. They needed to:
- Source materials in a global supply chain crisis
- Find workers during a workforce shortage
- Finish on time without any delays
To source materials, Tendon Systems leveraged years of industry experience and relationships. Project managers worked closely with suppliers and manufacturers to get the products necessary to get the job done on-site as fast as possible. These working relationships proved invaluable during this project and stand as a testament to Tendon Systems’ reputation in the industry.
The next issue was the nationwide worker shortage. While most concrete companies would have around 40 to 50 workers on-site for a project of this size, Tendon Systems did the same amount of work with exceptional quality with around 20 — including project-specific hires.
Project managers spent almost every day on-site fielding questions, providing value for Holder Construction and helping the project run as smoothly as possible. Moreover, the team owned other aspects of the project to go above and beyond with exceptional service.
Team members and other workers helped provide specialized knowledge, lead conference call meetings and work with material manufacturers to ensure products are on-site and usable.
The Holder project took every ounce of effort the team could provide. In the end, project manager Ryan Richardson described the team’s effort as “being honest and upfront.” For him, the project required “our knowledge going in and our knowledge on-site, our capabilities in the field and dedication in the field.” All this made the project a huge success, even with all the hurdles and supply chain issues.
Trust Your Next Project to Tendon
Even though issues stemming from the global COVID-19 pandemic created problems for the Holder Construction project, that didn't stop our team from finishing and exceeding expectations. Whether you need remediation services, post-tensioning systems or concrete coring and scanning, we’re here to help. Reach out online today to speak with a knowledgeable representative.