Editor Allan Leibowitz comments on the news of the week
We wrap up our LogiMAT coverage this week with a report on the overwhelming issue on the minds of everyone at the event in Stuttgart - the impact of supply chain disruptions and component shortages.
We heard of manufacturers with thousands of incomplete forklifts in their factories, most just waiting for one or two parts. Then there are delivery time blow-outs, with some customers facing delays of a year or more when they place an order. And further, there are the financial ramifications, with suppliers doing all they can to accommodate rising costs and avoid passing them all on to buyers, especially those with firm quotes in place.
While this may sound like doom and gloom, we were surprised by the level of optimism and the belief that things will improve next year - maybe not to pre-COVID levels, but to something closer to "normality".
One astonishing assurance was that none of the major manufacturers was overly concerned about the impact of the current challenges on cash flow. One would expect some panic, with delays in deliveries meaning many months of operation without revenue coming in, but it seems that most manufacturers were prudent during the good times and have built up enough capital buffer to see them through the rough spots.