As we prepare to close the door on (let’s be honest) one of the most unusual years in our company history, all the signs point to a very strong 2021, starting with January sales and continuing throughout the summer months.
In response to ‘the situation’ and the subsequent backlog and recovery, our biggest clients have carefully mapped out their orders for next year, so as to program production space in our multiple production partner facilities across Asia.
“As a bridge between the East and the West, Atlas was hit multiple times by ‘the situation‘ in 2020 – first when our factories went offline, then by our multiple customer locations going into lockdown.”
…said Mr Steven Zou, Atlas’ Furniture Asia’s recently appointed Quality Control Manager.
“…and although UK is back in lockdown and USA are having a tough time of it (to put it mildly), our wholesale customers are pushing to recoup lost time over the past 8 months and be ready for the Chinese New Year dip in production output, as well as be ready in case things worsen in 2021”, he said.
“One of the biggest challenges today is the shipping container shortage caused by quarantine measures, as well as sky-rocketing prices from Asia to USA” said Mrs Fay Qiu, Account Manager for Atlas, continuing to add:
“However, for the past 6 months, the challenge has been to balance the supply in Asia and demand from our customers and the factories, with whom we have long-standing exclusive production relationships. The rise and fall in both has been a real juggling act!”
In response to the mix of record growth from our valued customers and clearing the backlog from last year, Atlas has been carrying out a two-phase plan to keep everyone on track. One phase was to maximise the current capacity of our existing supply chain.
“This has been a combination of pre-booking all current capacity with our manufacturing partners, reducing lead-time and booking containers early to avoid shipping company delays” explained Mr Peter Broybn, Director for APAC region.
“Our top 3 factories have increased their capacity – some by as much as 200%, by investing in more staff, bigger facilities and new equipment to tackle the excellent growth trend we expect to run well into 2021”
Phase 2 was to engage new suppliers. Mr William Wu, Account Manager for Atlas used his ‘20% time’ (time assigned to staff to work on the projects outside the scope of their daily role) to research our huge database of reference factories, who we have visited or sometimes worked with in the past, as well as find new factories to send requests for quotations. He explains:
“Our new supplier sign-up process was digitised earlier this year, streamlining the way we onboard new factories. It reduces the admin overhead on Atlas in the initial stages, and reduces any time-wasting with factories that aren’t a good fit for what we need to meet our customer requirements”
Manager Steven Zou had visited 7 new factories by mid-November, commenting on the opportunities at hand, saying “we visited a mix of factories that previously weren’t a good fit for us, but – years later – as both our companies have grown, we find we are now able to cooperate, as well as received some excellent recommendations for new manufacturing partners from people we have worked within the industry for many years.”
“Although the onboarding, sampling, approval and migration to full production can take many weeks, our upgraded supply chain puts us in a very strong position for Chinese New Year 2021 and beyond”
At this stage, we invite all of our customers to program the first half of 2021 to ensure smooth supply
With so many factors against us, we understand the need for flexibility, however, it is the stability of a confident order program that acts as the first step in moving the entire supply chain along, driving staffing, shipping management, materials and purchasing that makes all the difference.
Act now and join us in what is sure to be our strongest year yet!