Tti 5f35c9e6ba782

Executive Perspectives

Aug. 17, 2020
Don Akery, President, Americas, TTI chats with Source Today about the challenges posed by COVID-19 and tariffs.

1. Do you see the Coronavirus impacting your business?
Covid-19 has impacted the demand from our customers and forced our people to adjust how they perform their jobs.  We were already adjusting our model to interface with customers through virtual means and using new tools.  TTI was implementing Microsoft Teams before the pandemic hit.  Coronavirus just expedited the rollout.  We had already moved to using LinkedIn and Twitter to communicate with our customers and suppliers which has greatly helped us stay connected in this different operating environment.  The virus did temporarily disrupt the supply chain for some of our suppliers but TTI’s extensive inventory helped insulate our customers from most disruptions.  Most of the suppliers are again operating at or near full manufacturing capability. 

2. How do you see the Coronavirus impacting the industry?
I believe that the way that we interface with our customers will be altered for the future.  Face-to-face meetings are very valuable but virtual meetings have worked and are here to stay.  Customers, Suppliers and Distributors have all discovered that virtual meetings can work with the right preparation and discipline.  The industry had also been slow to “trust” that our people can be productive when working outside the offices.  The future will probably allow more flexibility in when and where our people perform their jobs. 

3. How are you handling Supply Chain Risk?
TTI’s value proposition is based upon having inventory when the customer needs it, and this mitigates much of the supply chain risk during pandemics or constrained supply.  We have not changed our inventory strategy to have the broadest and deepest “available to sell” inventory for the suppliers on our line card.  Key phrase in this statement is “available to sell”.  This means that it is not committed to an existing customer demand and is available for customer upside or for the requirements of any new customer.

4. How is the labor crisis impacting your company?
We have not been impacted by the labor crisis.  Our workforce is loyal, and our turnover is lower than industry averages.  The culture at TTI and the favorable working conditions help in retaining a strong workforce 

5. How has your company been impacted by the tariffs? 
Being a distributor, TTI has been impacted by the additional cost associated with managing the ever-changing China tariff situation.  WE pass along the tariffs that the suppliers charge to us.  Our deep inventory levels allowed TTI to delay the tariffs for more than 3 months in the beginning.  This allowed our customers time to prepare for the increased cost to their business.  

6. What measures are you taking to counter the tariff issues?
Many years before the current China tariff situation, TTI went through the certification process for our US distribution centers to be considered Foreign Trade Zones.  This certification saves millions to those customers taking possession of the products outside of the USA.  There is no tariff due and the customer totally avoids all tariffs. 

TTI also has worked with many of our suppliers to move production of specific parts out of China and into countries without tariff charges.

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