The Sirius Effect:
Supply lines were critically tested these past few months. Thanks to our good relationships with both our manufacturers and our customers, we were able to keep ours open. Building a robust supply chain is about more than just making sure people meet deadlines, though…
One of the business lessons to be drawn from the COIVD-19 pandemic is that a robust supply chain is still a valuable asset. Just-in-time supply chains may be lean and agile, but they were also the first to suffer when the world shut down. Sirius, though, continued to supply products to their customers, and even added products to their catalog—products that other companies had problems delivering on time. Despite the lockdown, there were no problems with the distribution side of the supply chain – which is fortunate, as hygiene (and therefore, cleaning products) became important in limiting the spread of COVID-19.
In the fifteen years that Sirius has existed, we’ve learned a few things about supply chain management: the balance between having supplies on hand for contingencies, but still remaining agile. Because of our intimate involvement in the main stages of product sourcing, production, transport, and distribution, we have a clear overview of all aspects of the supply chain.
It begins with the product itself: the legal and quality requirements of our customers are discussed with the manufacturer of the relevant chemicals. Sometimes this leads to interesting twists, as our manufacturers are sometimes more knowledgeable about the industrial processes to make the products, and can make recommendations to our customers. This dialogue is part of the reason why Sirius has been able to help their customers come up with innovative solutions and new products to meet the changing demands of consumers, industries, and institutes.
Once the order is finalized, the manufacturers make the product and ship it to Europe. Of course, the lower the cost to ship it, the better, but cost is not always our only consideration. Some of our products, such as Britebleach SPC, can be literally explosive in the wrong environments, while hygroscopic products need to be carefully packaged unless customers have ordered a block of chalk.
For each contracted volume, Sirius keeps three months’ stock in our warehouses in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Thanks to our close working relationship with our customers, we have a lot of insight into their needs and can anticipate what they need, when they need it. And if there is request for something new, we can almost always find a way to get it.
Our business may seem like a simple matter of moving chemicals from one side of the world to the other, but really, it’s about building trust and relationships. In an unstable world, a good relationship is the difference between thriving and just surviving.
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