Spring has sprung at last, and here at UniControl Inc. we are glad to say goodbye to a tough Midwest winter. We hope all our customers and suppliers enjoy the return of long, warm days as much as we do.
Unfortunately, there is no reason for us to think that pandemic-related issues will melt away with the snow. Restrictions are disappearing, but new CoVid strains continue to emerge, and no one can say in advance which ones will become causes for concern.
Globally, every aspect of conducting our business continues to evolve, as the pandemic itself evolves. At UniControl, we monitor any and all changes that impact our activities, always prioritizing the health and well-being of our employees, customers, and community, while striving to stay current with all Federal, CDC, state, and local guidelines. As an essential business, all our efforts are directed toward keeping our doors open and products flowing out to our customers who rely on us.
Unfortunately, at present, Coronavirus is not the only thing working against us. The disruption of the global supply chain continues to affect our manufacturing capabilities, and now inflation has become a pressing issue. As we are sure you know, fuel and material costs are through the roof. Both raw material and finished component prices are rising at a staggering rate. Recently, we have been receiving material cost increases that are substantial and immediately effective, leaving us no choice but to pass the increase on to our customers. We try to avoid this, but we are at the point where it must be addressed. We continuously work with our suppliers to monitor and improve their ability to meet our requirements, and we have extended our lead times so that customers have realistic information to plan around. Even so, our ability to maintain our materials inventory is limited, and more disruptions are most likely inevitable.
Another challenge we are experiencing is the shortage of qualified labor. Attracting and keeping qualified personnel is challenging enough on its own, but now it is further complicated by the measures we must take to avoid the spread of the virus in our workplace: fewer workstations, reduced attendance, quarantines, and limits to production hours to allow for enhanced sanitation. All of this applies pressure to our labor costs.
At UniControl, we take our role as an essential business very seriously. We work vigorously with both customers and suppliers to maintain effective production levels. We greatly appreciate your patient support of our efforts. We applaud your efforts to work with us during these challenging times. We are all trying to cope with the same extreme, unprecedented difficulties, and excellent communication plays a key role in managing these circumstances. As always, we offer you our pledge to provide timely, honest, and realistic information. We encourage our customers and suppliers to reach out to us with their scheduling needs so that we can work together toward a satisfactory solution.
Whatever the post-pandemic business world looks like, we are sure that it will be different from the past. With new difficulties to overcome, we will also find new opportunities. At UniControl Inc. we believe that working together, within our business as well as with our customers and suppliers, is the only way to achieve a stronger, brighter future for everyone.