Hello Lone Star Family! It has been quite a year so far for operations. We have been blessed with more work than we can handle but at the same time we have been struggling with supply chain issues, manpower shortages and don’t forget surcharges and inflation. We are treading in uncharted territory with all the lingering pandemic era problems. It is in these times where the stars shine, and we look to them to show us the road to success. Like most of us here at Lone Star that have been around for a few years, we have seen a few of these things before but most likely not all at once.
Manpower shortages in all regions are showing us that we must be agile, and it is requiring us to ask for more from a team that is already pushed to the limit. We are scheduling projects hoping we receive materials in time to meet go lives. Directors of Operations and Project managers are having to work in a system that we have not seen before while maintaining our quality and keeping true to our brand promise. Credit and thanks to them for hanging in there and seeing it through. They understand, if we don’t make it through, it could affect all future work.
Every region has positions open and posted anywhere we can think of, and we are slowly building traction and seeing some applicants come in. We will eventually get the folks in the door that we need, but it’s not happening as quickly as we hoped. We are always open to suggestions, if you have an idea of a better way to attract applicants.
Regarding supply chain issues, where do I start? Rauland still does not have any good news for us as far as delivery is concerned. However, they have continued to really help us when we have a bind. We realize the overall problem is bigger than Rauland but it helps that we can vent to our Regional Managers when we get the urge. Internally, we have continued to do as little horse trading as possible, but it’s happening due to deadlines and inspections. We are having to do more work on the backend, but our warehouse and purchasers are really stepping up, a big THANK YOU to them.
The items just mentioned are most likely the most important obstacles causing chaos but there are other issues/constraints attacking us as well. We have vehicle lead times that surpass a year. This is causing issues as we have vehicles slated to retire and we are now asking more of them as well. All this does is increase the potential for failure. When a truck or van breaks down, now we have down time, added repair cost that directly affect our operating cost. Then we have surcharges and inflation, including the price of fuel. It seems everywhere we turn surcharges and some sort of price increase is being applied, not to mention we are having to go outside our normal vendors to keep projects moving. Our team works everyday making adjustments to help keep these costs manageable. Another thank you to them as well.
We have an awesome family organization here at Lone Star, everyone is stepping up and handling whatever comes their way. Remember to be vocal. If you have a better way to do something or your see a way for us to be more efficient, let us know. That’s how we win the game of operations.
- Victor Gonzalez, Chief Operating Officer, Central Texas