JT electric wrestles with supply chain challenges: “We bought a lot of steel from the factory in Mariupol”


JT electric’s CEO, Suni Justinussen, has warned of the challenges facing the company amid global supply chain struggles, caused by the ongoing impact of the Covid pandemic, Brexit and the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine.

Speaking to SalmonBusiness at the Aquaculture UK event in Aviemore, Justinussen highlighted how the marine equipment company’s activities in Poland had been hit twice by the outbreak of the Ukrainian conflict. A lot of workers in the region were from Ukraine and the company purchased a lot of steel from the factory in Mariupol, one of the cities at the centre of the conflict.

“That’s been a nightmare because it’s a tragedy for them, because they have had to got to war, and then there is the supply of steel because there’s so much steel from Ukraine,” Justinussen stated, calling the situation “challenging” for the company and people embroiled in the conflict.

Ongoing effects of Covid
With JT electrics saws electronic from the Asian market, the ongoing effects of the Covid pandemic and the delays it caused to the supply of electronics has been an issue the company has been forced to confront.

“We need to have bigger storage” and think “months, maybe years” ahead, Justinussen said, to avoid projects being hampered by future disruptions and the “very unstable market” companies across the board have experienced in recent months.

“Delivery times, that’s something we are struggling with,” Justinussen explained, claiming that customers are more concerned with the timeline of a project than the price. “It’s almost more like: Can you get this part or when can you deliver it? It’s not like they don’t care about the price but it is a challenging world right now, especially in the electronic side.”

Friendly relationships are key
When asked whether he fears that rising costs and delays in the supply chain could hit the company’s bottom line, Justinussen accepted that it’s unfortunately a concern everyone is facing right now.

However, despite the temptation to just raise the price of goods and services to cover their finances, the JT electrics boss was keen to take a different approach, seeking fairness and bolstering relationships over short term financial gain.

“If you have a good open relationship with the customers or suppliers, I think then you work some way out…the long-term customer relationship is something we need to think about,” Justinussen argued.

“You can cheat the customer now and then have no business in one year or just let’s keep the business intact and have a good relationship, an open, honest with the customer and partnership…We think that is very important.”

Planning for the future
With the ongoing conflict in Europe and ongoing challenges posed by Covid, JT electrics is looking towards the future, as the company seeks to adapt to prevent potential problems in the coming years from affecting their ability to deliver for customers.

“We need to look in the future with optimism,” Justinussen said smiling, hoping that the current issues disrupting the supply chain will be swiftly resolved, not just for business but for the people in Ukraine and the Russians affected by the outbreak of war. “Our problems are just materials problems. They have bigger problems than us.”

“We have had Covid, we have had Brexit, we have had war. It will always be something, so we just need to adapt all the time to that situation.”