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Practical advice on commercial lighting from LED retrofts to lighting design

Coronavirus, the global supply chain, and lighting

Posted by Scott Anderson on


coronavirus-impact-supply-chainWe will continue to update this article as we receive more information and better understand the impacts of COVID-19.

A coronavirus, specifically called COVID-19, is impacting communities around the globe. This is a serious situation that is impacting millions of people in different ways. 

Some of us are working from home (with kids). Some of us are currently not able to work. For others, business is booming. No matter the situation, companies are changing the way they operate.

We are monitoring the developing situation very closely. While health and safety is of upmost importance, we also recognize the virus is influencing the global supply chain. That's why we're looking at different and creative solutions for our customers.

Coronavirus impact on the industrial supply chain

Here's the reality: The virus hit China's supply chain hard. The Chinese government shut down offices and factories. In February, global manufacturing shrank the most since 2009.

As of the time this article was published, some manufacturers in China had started to operate again, but in a limited capacity. Others are still closed. There are also potential delays in the U.S. as companies shift their priorities and face economic challenges.

The end result is uncertainty about which products will be limited and when products will be shipped.

Since a large amount of the lighting products we use every day originate in China, it's likely some of the products we distribute will be impacted.

Coronavirus impact on lighting product availability

Several manufacturers have told us they could experience delays on some lighting products, although they are working around certain challenges. Even when factories are back to full functionality, some manufacturers have concerns about shipping and receiving.

Does this mean that all products will be impacted? No.

We anticipate delays on many, but not all, lighting products.

Our takeaway at this point is that each manufacturer has been impacted and is dealing with the challenges in a different way.

We're fortunate to have excellent relationships with our vendors, so we are monitoring updates carefully and are able to find appropriate substitutes in many cases where timelines are critical.

How businesses can deal with COVID-19 and lighting needs

What does this mean for you? Hopefully, the products you need will not be affected.

But if they are, we recommend the following steps to limit any problems you could encounter.

1. Order early

If you're a current customer, get us purchase orders for your urgent projects over the next quarter as soon as possible, so that we have maximum time and options to deliver on time and on budget.

If you are not a current customer, but you would like to talk about upcoming lighting projects, please contact us.

2. Check your lighting stock levels

Since the situation with COVID-19 is rapidly changing, you may benefit from reviewing your lighting stock on hand.

Supply chains are being impacted in many industries, and you may benefit from having extra lighting products like fluorescent tubes, HID bulbs, ballasts, and other light bulbs on hand in case of a need.

Having proper lighting supplies may be particularly important for hospitals, medical labs, urgent care centers, grocery stores, convenience stores, senior living centers, and other critical facilities to be able to serve our communities through the coming weeks.

3. Make purchases online, via email, or via phone

As we face a season where social distancing is being encouraged by authorities throughout our country, we’re doing our best to meet our customers’ needs.

One of the simplest options you have for making lighting purchases is to use our website (important trick listed below). If you shop through our website, please sign into your business account or request a business account here.

Our team can also help with your lighting needs via phone and email. In short, we’re here to help you through this season.

Side note: We’ve decided to practice social distancing in our own distribution centers as well for the safety of our team.

4. When purchasing lighting, check for inventory on hand

If you would like to order online, our website will tell you how many items we have in stock. You can see the image below as an example:

Screen Shot 2020-03-05 at 4.06.36 PM

If you see a message that says "ships in..." followed by a number of days, that means the product is not in stock. If you have a deadline you're trying to meet, it's always best to ask us to confirm this lead time in case the manufacturer has updates on their supply chain.

Screen Shot 2020-03-05 at 4.08.21 PM

5. Check for savings

We also understand budgets may be tight for the next several months for many of our customers. We work everyday to find useful savings for our customers, whether it's tax deductions like EPAct179D or lighting rebates offered in your area.

We’ve also heard of opportunities for businesses to complete critical facility work while more employees are working remotely. If this applies to you, our team can help you source the product you need to maintain your facility and move toward greater efficiency.

6. Consider an alternative

We hope that you are able to find the lighting and electrical products you need. However, if the items you need are not available, we will help you find the next best fit.

We can also help you decipher the difference between products that look comparable and actually perform comparably. As always, contact us with questions.

Questions about coronavirus

If you have any questions about the impact of the coronavirus, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We've also compiled a list of resources for more information on COVID-19:

LED Buying Guide to find the best pricing and right specs for LED lighting products