Increased security continues to disrupt shipments of key manufacturing materials and parts in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
-- and just-in-time delivery programs may take quite some time to regain solid footing.
That's the view of buyers, logistics managers and distribution executives polled by Purchasing and other magazines published by Cahners Business Information. A week after the terrorist bombings, 39% of the buyers polled online by the company's Supply Chain Group magazines were seeing a dramatic impact on supply chain activities, while another 52% reported slight impact and 9% saw no effect on deliveries.
Many buyers for original equipment manufacturing companies cited only minor problems right after the attack in obtaining basic production materials -- steel, nonferrous metals, chemicals, plastic resins, electronic components, packaging materials and the like -- that typically arrive from domestic sources via truck or rail.
The short-term delays were caused most often by initial restrictions on air freight, which caused food, consumer goods and even mail to be delivered by independent truckers that normally would have been delivering manufacturing materials.
However, processed and fabricated materials remain hard to get delivered, and parts usually delivered by air remain at shipper's warehouses all over the globe.
Some longer-term supply shortages have been developing, and they appear to be centered on delayed deliveries of parts and components from fabricators and processors in Canada and Mexico because of intensified Customs inspections.
Express carrier and largest package delivery companies report they are back to normal operations, but buyer feedback suggests they are struggling to return to "near normal" service.