BY RANDY BOGRAND, COO
The last few years, for most of us, have been surreal. Starting with spotty news reports about the mounting COVID crisis, and gaining full steam on Friday the 13th, 2019, when the President announced that we were under a National State of Emergency.
Up until then, unless you worked in manufacturing, construction, transportation, or freight, it’s unlikely the phrase “supply chain” was in your daily vocabulary, but since then it has become a household word. We watched as things unfolded, collectively holding our breath, but one of the biggest surprises was waking up to the fact that the U.S., the largest economy on earth, was experiencing a severe shortage of toilet paper. For weeks, stores were limiting purchases on bathroom tissue, as stories of the legendary generosity of Americans were replaced by tales of hoarding.
From there, things took a turn. Over the past three years, we saw meat production all but halted by the spread of Covid, lumber milling almost entirely shutdown, and prices on all related goods rising precipitously, and nowhere was that felt more than in the Cold Storage Industry, a cog in the especially important food service wheel that keeps the world going. Dependability as a part of that supply chain means more now than ever.
The fabric of any economy is part reality, and part emotional buy in from the stakeholders, and in our system, a huge component of this is trust. Trust that you will be able to continue to do business in the way you always have, trust that the industries supporting you will be there when you need them to do their part. In the face of the crisis we’re facing, that trust has been eroded.
So, why, you may ask, is a company whose primary job is vapor barrier installation talking about the supply chain? We’re glad you asked. We want to address a problem many in our industry are facing, as you may be soon: material shortages.
If you’re sitting in a brand-new facility right now you may be laughing at us for being so dire. We understand. But the truth is, about the time that one year warranty on your shiny new building runs out, you may find yourself dealing with the signs of vapor drive (especially if we haven’t installed our patented product), including condensation, frost, and ice. In the past, these seemed like minor inconveniences, but with the FDA cracking down on their regulations to prevent listeria and other contamination concerns, it could mean facing shutdowns until the problem is solved.
That’s where our warning comes in. Many of you need new roofs, in fact, about 25% of the structures we assess for vapor drive issues have significant enough roof icing damage to require replacement. While the expense of this process would be enough to make any facilities manager feel it in the pit of their stomach, that may be the least of your concerns.
What used to mean a thirty-to-sixty-day process, to collect bids, select a contractor and complete repairs, is now becoming 90 days and longer. Therefore, we’re bringing this to your attention. It’s about the trust your customers place in your company, and how that plays into your continued success in business.
When your clients sign on to use your facilities for cold storage, or your company is storing their product, they put their trust in you. They trust that when their shipped product is delivered to your door, you will have the agreed space available, fully functional, and free from contaminants. This is the baseline in providing Cold Storage as a service. From there, they further trust that you will continue to be a dependable partner for their company, but what happens if that isn’t true?
From the time that the first signs of Vapor Drive are experienced in a facility, a clock begins to tick. Many times, a temporary fix is to use spray foam. In most cases, that is a temporary fix, which we’ve discussed in length on our blog before (check them out here).
In a recent situation with a client, they were given 90 days by federal regulators to remediate the conditions in their facility. After calling around to find an available contractor amid the labor shortages, and companies that have downsized, or gone out of business entirely, they couldn’t find anyone to meet that window. We suggested an invasive forensic assessment, to give us what we needed to propose a remedy.
The problems we found were extensive enough to require a full roof replacement. While our system allows us to do this while the plant is fully functional, it still takes time, and with the current workload we are experiencing, that time is extended. The client was facing a serious situation that would end in a shutdown, fines, and possible loss of licensing.
So, what was the issue? The client understood the need and had the resources to fix the problem, but the supply chain was preventing the contractors from providing their usual timely service. We’ll get it into that in our next post, along with why we think Vapor Armor is the best for you to partner with in these uncertain times.
Back to the client. With an impossible deadline looming over them, we made a suggestion. Once our assessment was complete, we would supply them with a proposal, outlining the specific process we would put in place to mitigate the problem. With that in hand, the client was able to go back to the inspector, present the solution and ask for an extension on the deadline.
It worked. The agency was able to see the additional pressure current conditions were putting on their situation. In addition, we knew something the client didn’t know. Our solution is uniquely designed to meet the regulatory criteria. We know this, because in part, our company’s specifications were used to create the criteria. That’s right, our process is the only one we know of that meets every bullet point they demand.
We know what this sounds like. It’s cocky at best, but the truth is: we invented that process, and it puts us in the unique position to be the only provider you can rely on to bring a permanent solution to this very pressing issue.
So, if you feel this pressing issue is something you may be facing soon, and if you’re not already a Vapor Armour customer, we need to talk. We won’t charge you a dime to come to your facility, do a full forensic evaluation, including satellite imaging and thermal photography of your facility, to show you where the problems lie.
From there we can provide a full proposal, customized to your facility. And we’ll throw in our 15-year warranty, 3-year average ROI, and guaranteed repairs or replacement for the life of the warranty just because. So, when would you like to talk?
Not convinced? We get it. Watch for our next post, where we’ll outline how we’ve built our own supply chain to withstand the current conditions and provide you with the service you deserve.