Despite a very difficult 2020, North American manufacturers and security dealers are optimistic overall for 2021. Last year saw many small security companies collapse due to damaged and slow supply chains to there inventory. Many of the mid-size dealers have also been significantly impacted, plant shutdowns, stay at home mandates resulted in a lack of demand for security services and products.
In addition,access to labour remains the top concern for manufacturers followed by raw material pricing and employee health.
As we see the things start to ramp up in the wake of COVID-19 many difficulties remain as many products will not re-emerge until the materials supply chain from Asia and more specifically India and Pakistan return to normal. As we see the devastating news and almost complete shutdown of these markets, we will continue to experience production delays and cost increases. Still of concern is product inventory in the access control industry, manufacturing plants are not operating anywhere near capacity and are barely able to meet commitments. Any relapse in plant shutdowns will likely result in product backlogs as we experienced in the fall of 2020.
Ashton Security Inc. foresaw the market slowdown and issued a mailing to our customer to pre-order or stock allowing them to buffers many of the price increases. We are again seeing pressure on our supply chain in both cost of goods and availability. We have for the most part insulated our customers from these stresses by maximizing our purchase lots and maintaining large stocks.
As we see spring peeking around the corner it is to note that we are likely to see another wave of product availability shortfalls and price increases.