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How We’re Combating Supply Chain Issues at Cates

supply chain issues

For almost 50 years, Cates Heating and Cooling has been in the business of providing excellent service to people in and around the Kansas City area. We appreciate the opportunity to serve our customers, both to the best of our ability and in a timely manner. The needs of every client are always a priority for us at Cates, which is why we’re still working to assist as many people as possible even amidst global supply chain issues.

The supply chain issues that began in 2021 have drastically impacted nearly every business and industry globally. The repercussions of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic have stretched far and wide since those initial shutdowns in early 2020, and while recent times have given hope that there may be an end in sight, problems in the supply chain are still rampant.

Interviewer Joel Goldberg sat down with Dan Heydon, Senior Vice President of Cates Heating and Cooling, to discuss recent supply chain problems and what Cates is doing to combat this issue.

What Is Causing Supply Chain Issues?

Businesses around the world are going through a lot of changes as they navigate global supply chain problems. Cates is no different; with prices continuing to rise at an alarming rate due to inflation, our company is learning to navigate the challenges that come along with that.

“It’s almost like the perfect storm right now of things that could go wrong,” says Dan Heydon. He further explains that the shipping side has become increasingly complicated, with manufacturers fighting for the same dock space as they come into the harbors.

Supplies are left in shipping containers, and while businesses like Cates wait for these supplies to ship, their prices continue to increase. In the meantime, products must be re-manufactured to retain the highest quality possible for the consumer.

Additionally, global supply chain shortages have been further exacerbated by rising prices of natural resources like gas. Fuel prices are at an all-time high, especially in the United States. Consumers are seeing higher energy costs as they heat their homes this winter, and many others are unable to purchase everyday necessities due to high costs and low supply.

How Is Cates Dealing with Supply Chain Problems?

Cates has always prided itself on being different than everyone else because of our level of service, communication, and honesty with our customers. In this way, we try to differentiate ourselves from other companies by doing our best to plan for what’s to come.

Heydon says that he began worrying about supply chain issues back in August of 2021 when he observed that Cates wasn’t fulfilling orders like they thought they would. As they started purchasing supplies, they realized they had to buy products ahead of time to help themselves later on. “As we started purchasing,” Heydon says, “I thought usually I don’t worry about spring until February, but we started worrying about spring probably in October.”

Because of this, they started placing preseason orders as soon as possible. “We, like everybody, have to pay attention to what it costs for us to stock a product that’s just going to sit there and wait for summer to come,” Heydon says. “So, we did the best we could with the space we’ve got, but honestly, we tried to order almost half a million dollars of stock, which we’ve never even come close to having to order.”

Heydon and his team also soon discovered that even with ordering so much ahead of time, the manufacturers could only fulfill and ship about half of the order. “That paints the picture of what’s to come,” says Heydon. “It’s rare the manufacturer doesn’t want to give you that product unless they just can’t get it, and that’s where they are.”

Even amidst global supply chain problems and so much uncertainty, Heydon is confident about what’s to come. “We’re getting ready to enter into our 50th year, so we’re prepared to help our customers, and we’re excited to do so,” he says.

Cates’ work in the HVAC, energy, air quality, and plumbing industries has allowed us to become a leading home service provider in and surrounding the Kansas City area. To learn more information, or to schedule your next service visit, contact us today at 913-888-4470 for Kansas residents and 816-944-1844 for Missouri residents.

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