January 18, 2022

We’re Here – Greg Niksa

As the Director of Supply Chain, Greg Niksa’s position within Pecora is solely focused on ensuring all materials needed to manufacturer, package, and ship products are at the disposal of the company. Over the last three years, the job has grown to become increasingly difficult given the current state of the world. Greg has had to skillfully, methodically, and continuously had to maneuver production setbacks, global shipping disruptions, and unforeseen environmental disasters. To strengthen our goal of transparency and reinforcing confidence, we sat down with Greg to discuss some of the issues his department is facing and what he is doing to mitigate these challenges.

Q: Can you paint a picture of how the supply chain has been affected over the last two years?

Greg: To begin, we actually need to go back as far as 2019. During this time, we started to see some raw material shortage issues. Problems began to arise resulting in the tightening of distribution of certain materials. Then, 2020 hits and the pandemic wreaks havoc not only across U.S. manufacturing industries, healthcare, education, government, freight, construction, retail, real estate, etc., but globally as well. There was no real understanding of how severe or how long disruptions would continue. This resulted in companies driving down their inventory to zero. Unfortunately, trucking companies were going out of business, cargo ships were out of service, Covid-19 was causing the workforce to get sick and stay home, and supply chains were broken and completely shattered. Even the hope of a vaccine didn’t push companies to create a plan for the future.

In 2021, vaccines soon became real, making employers optimistic for the return of the economy. In February, the country was hit with a devastating blow when snowstorm Uri ravaged the Gulf Coast completely halting and forcing the shutdown of raw material facilities. The damage was surreal and every facility experienced issues with pipes bursting and no power. Basic feeds that we use to make our supplies with were shutdown. Urethanes, polyols, emulsions for latex, acrylics were all in short supply. And just as we were beginning to pick ourselves back up again, Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Louisiana and kicked the hell our of basic feed, and downstream materials. Since Ida in late August early September, we have been working to rebuild our raw material, packing, and shipping inventory in order to meet the needs of our customers. Although it saddens me to say, there is some solace in knowing these issues are revibrated across most industries around the country. That we are all anguishing together and working to bring the economy back better than it was before.

Q: Tell me about the cargo issues Pecora is experiencing.

Silicone raw materials have been the biggest problem. The building blocks to manufacturer this product comes from Asia. After fights with presidents and administrations, the geopolitical issues have stopped raw materials from coming into the country. In 2021, price of transportation has also increased 10x what we paid in 2019. There are not enough people to manage and remove the cargo off the ships. People are even trying to barter raw materials as they are taken off of the ships. There is also a shortage of truck drivers transporting these materials to manufacturers. It feels grim, but Pecora has an advantage in our employees and management team. Our dedicated staff has worked tirelessly throughout the last two years. Both at home and in the office to continue to provide our customers with the quality products and service they are accustomed to ordering and working with from Pecora. With over a combined 125 years working in the industry, our management team has seen some things, and have devoted themselves to ensuring Pecora succeeds and sees the light at the end of the tunnel.

Q: So, with the light at the end of the tunnel, what does 2022 look like?

We will see some struggles in 2022. There will still be issues with silicones, but will be in much better shape with urethanes, latex, and hybrids. Freight will also be a problem as costs will continue to escalate. The labor shortage has also diminished productivity for us as well. Our hope is to see some relief in Q1 in 2022. We are working with our R&D Department to develop new formulas to come up with comparable products. Our strategy in procurement is to purchase as much now at 2021 prices in preparation for 2022. We are trying to mitigate future problems by acting now. The longer we wait, the longer we will not be able to handle the challenges. As long as raw material manufacturers and relations with Asia improve, the better 2022 will be for Pecora. We just want our customers to know we are doing everything we can to maintain the products and support you demand from Pecora.


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