Addressing Pandemic-Related Autoclave Delivery Delays
By: Priorclave North America
Categories: News Uncategorized
Our goal is to supply educators, researchers, and innovators with the most reliable autoclaves in the world, so that they can stay focused on their important work. Unfortunately, due to an interlocking set of conditions beyond our control we expect there will be substantial delays in delivering autoclaves this year.
These delays are not unique to Priorclave. Shortages and supply chain disruptions have touched every corner of the global economy. The current consensus among economists and industry experts is that we have every reason to believe these challenging conditions will persist throughout the remainder of 2021.
Covid’s Worldwide Supply Chain Disruptions
As you are no doubt aware, the ongoing COVID pandemic—coinciding with some extreme weather events and several blockages in the Suez Canal—has deeply disrupted global manufacturing:
- Factories temporarily shuttered by the pandemic have been slow to restart
- Shipping and delivery networks thrown into chaos early in the pandemic are now overburdened by rapidly shifting demands
- Shortages are rampant: raw materials and vital components are in short supply, as are the skilled workers who can use them. When products are completed, there are too few pallets to put them on, too few shipping containers to put them into, too few dock workers to load them onto ships, and too few truck drivers to get them delivered
For Priorclave, these supply chain issues run especially deep, affecting almost every single component.
This arises from the unique nature of our autoclaves: these are precision, high-pressure devices that are built and tested in accordance with a wide range of stringent American, Canadian, and EU standards. Our production system demands very specific thicknesses and qualities of steel, as well as specific electrical components made under known and verified conditions in specified facilities. While there are some opportunities to find alternative sources for some components, we have far fewer options than someone manufacturing a lower quality or less mission critical instrument.
In some cases, the supply delays we are facing are quite extreme. Historically, most materials needed to build your autoclave—from the steel used in the pressure vessel to the switches and cabling for the control system—arrived within two weeks of our placing an order.
That is no longer the case.
For example, some varieties of stainless steel have become extremely scarce, and cannot be acquired in less than four to six weeks. Manufactured components—such as switches—face even longer delays. In some cases, delivery has jumped from two weeks to three months—six times longer than previously was the case. We have one Swiss supplier who is entirely unable to source the type of plastic they need to manufacture their switches.
Thank You for Your Patience
Finally, it bears mentioning that our factory is located in London, a city especially hard hit by the more recent, more virulent variants of SARS-CoV-2. This has meant ongoing quarantines and self-isolation among our staff since July, leaving us short handed.
Our workforce has, thankfully, largely remained healthy, as has our core mission of supporting education, research, and innovation worldwide. For over 30 years, we’ve dedicated ourselves to making sure every lab gets the equipment they need to do the best work they can. As such, it pains us to discover we’ve fallen short of any customer’s expectations.
We want to take this moment to apologize for the delay and reassure you that we will all get through this together.
But it will take time and patience.
We have every expectation that supplies will begin flowing smoothly again in early 2022, at which time we can reliably forecast delivery again.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.