by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Mr. Evris Huggins, Group Purchasing and Inventory Manager at TDC, during the most recent episode of ‘Working For You’ gave a comprehensive overview on the matter of Global Supply Chain Shortages and how it’s affecting the private sector in the Federation of St.Kitts and Nevis.
Huggins recalled a meeting on Monday, January 17 spearheaded by Minister of International Trade and Labour, the Hon. Wendy Phipps, where members of the Private Sector spoke about the fluidity of the situation.
Mr. Huggins shared some of the challenges that TDC has been encountering.
“As it relates to the building material cost, we are struggling. We have to be juggling between suppliers and we are juggling to find not only the best possible price, but logistically, does it make any sense to use this particular shipping liner. Logistically, does it make any sense to compile this particular bit of inventory with that particular bit of inventory. So, we are plagued with the challenges of carrying our inventory levels far beyond the forecasted period. It now forces us to expand the parameters of our demand planning; where we once would have had to plan three months in advance for a particular supplier or commodity, we may have to extend that by as much as 100 percent at times.”
Huggins shared a case where a few commodities were forecasted five to six months in advance and were expected to arrive in December, but are still not on island at present. This, he said, impacted revenues because sales from those commodities were forecasted into the peak sales period; but did not arrive, due to the realities of the global supply issues.
Other than the logistical challenges, Huggins disclosed that some of the common issues being experienced are, labour shortages, shortages in raw material, inflation in the cost of freight, which in some cases value more than the commodities, as well as a rise in the cost that consumers have to pay.
Despite the challenges, Huggins lauded the Government for the introduction of the ‘VAT Day’ initiative, which has been quite beneficial to the businesses in the private sector.