How Local Sourcing Helps Us Avoid Supply Chain Issues

Exterior of Morgan Engineering headquarters.

/ Blog

Supply chain issues have been a hot topic since 2020, but in the steel industry, it has always been a challenge we’ve had to face. Electrical supplies have been especially difficult to acquire in recent times. The ability to adapt to these supply shortages has been vital to moving any business forward. There are a few ways Morgan has found to decrease the negative side effects of this obstacle.

The number one action that I recommend taking to combat supply chain issues is using locally sourced materials when possible. In fact, sourcing items locally is where Morgan starts when looking for vendors. The majority of our vendors are within a three-hour drive of our facilities.

Unloading steel supply at Morgan.
Morgan employees unload steel for manufacturing the girders of our overhead cranes.

Benefits of Locally Sourced Vendors

Local steel suppliers and other vendors provide a couple of advantages. The inherent lessened distance lends itself to faster delivery times and reduced freight costs. Rather than waiting on pieces to travel across state lines, they’re coming from the same county. This also means repairs can be done more efficiently. For example, having a relationship with a local motor repair company means we can get a motor fixed in a few days instead of waiting 6 or 8 weeks for a replacement part.

While the location is a vital part of sourcing materials, the relationship you can build with your contact in that business, ideally the owner, is the most important aspect. We can support local businesses who provide services or parts for us in return, but it goes a bit deeper because they become people you could see outside of work too. The communication is strong because of the level of understanding. Owners of these businesses are often involved in multiple steps of the creation process. This also means that when mistakes are made it is easy to get them corrected because the relationship has already been established and strengthened.

This relationship is vital for any business owner to build with others. Both parties can get to know what the other needs. We can tell businesses that we will need a large amount of wire over the next two years. They can get it ordered now, so there’s no wait time once we need it soon. That rapport we have built up lets them know they can count on us to follow through on the promise to use the entirety of the material and we have already promised them our business.

Overhead crane gliders on a truck.
At lengths upwards of 90 feet at times, our team relies on trusted shipping companies to transport the girders for our overhead cranes.

In 2020, Toyota’s process of ordering materials just in time for production caught up with them when manufacturing plants shut down. Even though this process is what helped them rise to fame and gave them an edge over other carmakers, unprecedented issues, like the pandemic, got close to disaster. Toyota’s sourcing was nearly solely global.[i] It lacked the balance that is needed now that we know what a world with halted production looks like.

Locally sourcing materials is an investment like any other. The more you give, the more you can receive from it. It is rewarding to help others just as much as they can help your business. Next time you’re looking for materials for your business, consider what benefits could surface from the relationship you’re able to build alongside it.

I would encourage every business to review where they’re getting their supplies from each year. Sourcing materials is a game of being proactive that requires a careful balance between local and global suppliers. Each choice could save your company time and money depending on the circumstances. Explore every option available to you to see which is best for your supplies.

Material Handling Solutions from Locally Sourced Materials

Morgan gives you access to a full team of experts. Our engineers collaborate across disciplines to develop customized material handling solutions.

You don’t need to worry about juggling contractors or ensuring that your components are integrated optimally. We design, manufacture, and install our comprehensive solutions. We offer support even after the installation is complete so you don’t have to worry. Contact us today to get your custom material handling solution—from start to finish.


[i] Ferguson, Roger W., Jr. “How to Fix Global Supply Chains for Good.” Council on Foreign Relations, 23 Nov. 2021,

Mike Lyons, V.P. Procurement

Mike Lyons, V.P. Procurement

Mike Lyons | V.P. Procurement, has been with Morgan for 12 years

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