Just when businesses and consumers around the globe were hoping for a season of supply chain relief, the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19 began spreading across the globe, triggering factory shutdowns, manufacturing disruptions, delivery cancellations and even city-wide lockdowns. These latest developments come at a time when the global economy is already grappling with widespread shortages ranging from drivers, pilots and other frontline workers to shipping containers and the necessary machinery and staff to unload them. All this, coupled with raging winter weather, leaves the business world bracing for what economist Frederic Neumann calls “the mother of all supply chain stumbles.”
Thankfully, HSM has been building up supply chain experience and offering industry-leading expertise and support for 55 years (and counting!), and our procurement experts continue to provide our customers with the flexibility, access, information and innovative solutions they need to operate and grow their businesses despite this latest round of supply chain snags. While our experts cannot reverse shortages, influence inflation or change the course of winter storms, we have cultivated a far-reaching global network of suppliers, supporters and key partners to help us circumvent these and other challenges. On the logistics front, for instance, HSM partners with hospitality-focused freight companies that understand our business and share our sense of urgency to get product to each and every property. Due to the strength of these relationships, we have faced few delivery challenges caused by winter weather where our freight was delayed 1-2 days until local roads were passable. Customers were provided with constant status updates and, if need be, troubleshooting solutions.
“Supplier partnerships are key in the logistical space, and HSM has partnered with some of the most competitive, hospitality-driven logistical partners in the industry,” said Jon Thomas, HSM’s Director of Logistics and Supply Chain. “Timing and planning are critical, and having a visible supply chain from pickup point to delivery sets us up for success by helping us stay ahead of certain bottlenecks. Having multiple logistics partners is a key success factor for us as well, because when one supplier cannot handle a specific shipment for us, we have several backups in place to help get the job done in a timely manner.”
While some supply chain challenges are expected to subside once the omicron surge passes, other issues reflect a more deeply rooted reality. Currently, the U.S. is facing a driver shortage of nearly 80,000 workers, due in large part to drivers “aging out” of the business and retiring from the road. As such, the driver shortage is only expected to increase in coming years, prompting our logistics experts to pursue new solutions to get goods to our end users. For now, HSM’s logistics team is working to bypass backlogs and decrease a products’ travel time by connecting shipments with less congested entry ports closer to customers.
“We've really had to figure out how to plan ahead a little bit more—how to understand exactly what hotels are hearing from their guests and their customers so we can make sure the right product is there at the right time,” said Leena Baran, director of F&B Category Management for HSM. “We work to figure out exactly where everybody is in the process, exactly where product is going to be needed and how our solutions should evolve based on the changing consumer behavior. It's really all about communication.”
If you or your business could benefit from timely, transparent communication coupled with strategic risk mitigation solutions, HSM’s logistics and category management experts would love to help you alleviate some of the challenges you might be facing. From supply chain and warehousing needs to installations and renovations, we can put HSM’s size, scale and global reach to work to help insulate and support your property through these ongoing issues. Make a connection with your HSM Strategic Accounts advisor or email HSMx@hilton.com and together, we can arrive at the right solutions for your business.