Patience and planning needed to keep things moving 

Friday, January 07, 2022

Watch any news programme at the moment and it won’t be long until they are talking of staff shortages. While the news tends to focus on areas such as health care and logistics, shortages are affecting all sectors, not least the automotive aftermarket. 

Staff in the automotive sector was already in short supply before the pandemic hit and right now staff absences through either Covid related illness or the need to self isolate are reaching crisis point in many companies. 

The problem is particularly acute in the automotive supply chain. While if a bodyshop or garage is faced with an unexpected staff shortages it can make key adjustments by delaying work or taking in less vehicles for repair or servicing. Motor factors and distributors cannot do this and are faced with the problem of having to deal with the same number of customers and volume of business with staff levels that are sometimes only 50 to 80% of normal. 

Both parts distributors and motor factors are reporting high levels of staff absence through no fault of their own, making it near impossible to plan and deliver the high level of service that the market has become accustomed too. 

These are unprecedented times and all sectors of the automotive aftermarket need to show an extra degree of patience and understanding to their suppliers. With staff numbers critical, it is simply not realistic to expect every delivery to meet tight deadlines. 

Garages and bodyshops can assist through planning ahead and ordering parts early. They also need to be realistic in the promises they are making to their customers and allow some extra time on jobs.