As supply lines strain, some corporations rewrite production playbook
The pandemic caught Stanley Black & Decker midway through an overhaul of its 18-country supply chain.
Executives at the toolmaker’s New Britain, Conn., headquarters already had shifted most production of heavy-duty industrial products closer to customers in the United States and Europe. But efforts to do the same with Stanley’s popular hand tools were unfinished when the coronavirus pandemic began disrupting global commerce.
This year, as ports grew clogged, Stanley saw its freight bills jump by a factor of seven, endured months-long shipping delays and scrambled to obtain computer chips for its power drills, saws and sanders. Earlier this month, the company had shipping containers stranded on 50 ships anchored off the Southern California coast.