A World Series of Unfortunate Events

April 1, 2022

Manufacturers Battling Multiple Foes

There is no lack for challenges facing the manufacturing industry. Molded Dimensions works with customers to face these challenges head-on, though the mission sometimes feels a bit overwhelming. Since it’s Spring, let’s look to baseball for some historical perspective.

The New York Yankees lineups in the late 1920s, considered some of the best in baseball history, had an incredible string of efficient hitters that included Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Dubbed “Murderers’ Row,” four of the first six hitters are now enshrined in Cooperstown, and they relentlessly pummeled opposing pitchers in what likely felt an endless parade of strenuous battles.

Looking at the manufacturing climate in 2022, “Murderers’ Row” seems a fitting title. A worldwide pandemic appeared as the leadoff, followed by a most formidable lineup:

  • COVID. Now in year three, it’s still lurking in the background, more so in China where lockdowns are currently in place. In its wake the work environment has been altered forever.
  • Supply Chain Crisis. Supply chain issues are slowly being resolved, but manufacturers continue to struggle to get materials, components and supplies needed to make their products.
  • Inflation. When these components can be procured, they cost significantly more. Rapidly rising prices in numerous commodities is largely the result of supply chain disruptions and global economy shutdowns.
  • Labor Shortage. Manufacturing has dealt with the lack of skilled labor for at least a decade; the Pandemic and Great Resignation the two latest logs on the fire. Manufacturers have also coped with increased efforts to automate.
  • War. Russia is a key producer of energy, steel and raw metals such as nickel, copper, platinum and palladium. Vehicle manufacturers are some of the first to be affected by supply changes as the ripples of punishing Western economic sanctions are felt worldwide. Uncertainty about an escalating conflict, China’s reaction, or what a conclusion to the war in Ukraine looks like.

Much like the Yankee lineup of old, the trouble isn’t dealing with a single, strong hitter, but a series of them. The market’s focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is being interrupted by the supply-chain effects of Covid lockdowns in China, the Federal Reserve trying to catch up with inflation, and the risk that consumer demand gets crushed by rising prices.

Molded Dimensions is committed to dealing with these challenges, doing everything possible to navigate 2022 with the goal of providing our customers with the best products and the best prices that we can:

  • Long-term relationships with domestic and international suppliers are paying off.
  • Our in-house chemist has offered material equivalents as replacements if and when possible.
  • Capital investment and acquisitions to strengthen the company continue to be made.
  • Aggressively dealing with inflating costs and uncertainty is ongoing.
  • Ongoing efforts to retain and recruit good employees have had success.

And we wish you equal success in striking out 2022’s heavy hitters!

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