Canadian Manufacturing

Delta-Q’s manufacturing expanding supply chain, exploring advanced technologies amid pandemic recovery

Brooke Hanson mentions that in some cases they are paying 400% more than the market price for critical components.

August 11, 2021  by Sadi Muktadir

Brooke Hanson, the Vice President of Operations at Delta-Q Technologies.

It’s no secret that China’s been a powerhouse in the manufacturing industry. Many white label manufacturers have contracts outsourced to China for efficient, cheaper manufacturing in its products. But with supply chain crunches due to the pandemic delaying parts and critical components, many manufacturers are forced to explore manufacturing facilities across the globe in search of places that can deliver if one of its other facilities can’t. Another reason why manufacturers are exploring other geographic regions is to mitigate their risk and optimize business continuity to ensure supply. This, coupled with US tariffs, and Biden’s ‘Buy American’ infrastructure plan meant to kickstart domestic manufacturing, Canadian manufacturers are exploring ways to nearshore, or at least, have multiple suppliers on hand in case they need it.

Delta-Q Technologies’ Brooke Hanson, VP of Operations, was clear in mentioning this.

“We ship a lot of our parts through ocean freight. Boats weren’t really coming back from the U.S., to reload due to the pandemic, leading to delays. Additionally, when 2021 first began, we had the challenge of having volumes increase significantly, our material suppliers not having the raw materials (due to a reduction in demand from the pandemic) to manufacture the product, leading to delays and a lot of fighting for parts.”

Brooke Hanson mentions that in some cases they are paying 400% more than the market price for critical components.

Advertisement

When asked if the pandemic then forced Delta-Q to consider or pivot to new products, or even strategies with regards to its business, Brooke provided insight into Industry 4.0 technologies being considered.

“You don’t just automate for the sake of automation,” she says. “There has to be a benefit. You’re improving quality, you’re decreasing costs, you’re seeing a tangible benefit.”

Delta-Q Technologies is also now looking at new software and technologies to assess the way they are taking customer orders, considering EDI software to manage the front-end of the business.

However, when it come to the back-end of the business, there are some obstacles they are overcoming with regards to manufacturing (that other manufacturers are facing as well). Though senior leadership is having daily meetings with their suppliers to monitor progress, and overseeing production planning remotely, Brooke mentions that in China, she has workers who are not able to go into the factory to work or to check on progress in-person. Delta-Q is not without its automation capabilities however. Its new facility in Mexico was built and rolled out with automated production lines according to the Brooke.

Part of Delta-Q’s expansion and growth in 2021 is due to new products and increased customer demand, but aided no doubt, by advanced technologies at their factories facilitating this growth. Brooke mentioned certain facilities now automating tasks like sealing, and sees that as volumes increase, expects that trend to grow as well. Brooke mentions that they are always looking at improvements to their manufacturing process.

With costs for material and parts expected to increase in 2022, manufacturers like Delta-Q will be required to continue to look at ways to improve their manufacturing process, through Industry 4.0 tools such as automation, AI, machine learning and data visualization software.

One of the setbacks in the current market is the inability to travel, and to be able to accurately audit and assess the factories across the globe for increased improvements.

“We’ll continue to have supply chain challenges, but we know everyone’s going through it too,” Brooke says. “You do a rolling 12 month forecast now, that’s not long enough. Lead times on components have gone up to 60 weeks. So how do you predict what’s going to happen in the next 60 weeks?”