Thinking Outside the Box

Like many other companies, Prime is dealing with supply chain shortages.  But while contractors can push back completion dates, and other businesses can alert customers to delays, delayed deliveries are not an option for Prime.  To keep freight on schedule and trucks in working order, Prime associated including National Parts Manager Jordan Silva have had to come up with some creative ways to help out.

The problem Jordan and his team are running into is this—parts for trucks are no longer readily available.  “As simple as it was before to call somebody in to get a new filter, that’s not available at the moment,” he says.  While Jordan and the Prime team can’t manufacture the parts they need, and they can’t always find them, they’ve come up with a simple but effective workaround.  “We start planning for months of inventory rather than a couple of days,” Jordan says.  He and his team have also expanded their network of suppliers, and they stay ready to buy enough material and equipment to last.  This is when having a good relationship with vendors definitely helps.

“To ensure we have all the parts needed to keep trucks on the road, we’re willing to aggressively purchase all of it,” Jordan says.  “We’re not going to be the ones that hesitate.  We’re going to capture what we can when available.”  A good example of this happened last year when Prime suddenly found itself facing a shortage of foam—a key item in the refrigerated fleet.  “The fact that we get to do almost all repairs on our trailers in-house is amazing,” Jordan says.  “But as the nation’s largest refrigerated fleet, we use foam daily, and suddenly we were out.”

That’s when Jordan and the team got resourceful.  “We had a guy in the Chicago area travel to each Menards store and purchase every piece of foam he could buy,” Jordan says.  “He spent about a month loading up a trailer, and then we moved all that product down to Springfield.  And then from Springfield, we dispersed it to Prime terminals.”

An operation life this takes a team effort to say the least, and Jordan knows there’s not a single Prime associate who could resolve the shortage of parts by themselves.  “I’m absolutely proud of the associates and how they’ve responded to this time,” he says.  “We want to make sure we’re at full capacity, and we want to make sure our drivers are on the road.”  To do that, everyone has to start thinking creatively.


Read more in the Prime magazine, Prime Ways – Time to Train

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