Officials with Saudi Basic Industries Corp. say that the firm is meeting material orders at the same rate that it was before it began to install a new computer system in October.
But supply problems still are causing chaos for many North American plastics processors.
“We have made significant progress in returning to normal operations over the past few months, and are operating at pre-implementation fulfillment levels,” spokesperson Susan LeBourdais said in a Feb. 22 email to Plastics News.
In 2015, Sabic began working with customers, suppliers and business partners to prepare for a new global enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The new system is designed to further automate and simplify Sabic's business processes.
The installment has led to widespread supply disruptions for Sabic materials over the last several months. Market sources have told Plastics News they were seeing delays for shipments of polycarbonate, PC/ABS, polybutylene terephthalate and related compounds.
“While not every individual customer may be experiencing the same levels of improvement in all areas, depending on their particular situation, we are moving product at higher-than-average shipping rates, confirming orders at pre-ERP implementation levels and fulfilling our backlog of orders,” LeBourdais said. “We are making every effort to improve our service levels and return to normal operations as quickly as possible.”
Sabic — which is based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with North American headquarters in Houston — and other suppliers now have announced price increases, which have complicated the situation.
Although some processors have seen improvements in recent weeks, others — especially those in the automotive and medical end markets — continue to struggle to find Sabic materials or replacement materials made by other suppliers.
“I understand Sabic had to chip away at customers,” one medical device manufacturer told Plastics News at the recent UBM Advanced Manufacturing Expo trade show in Anaheim, Calif. “The automotive guys got [material] first. If they shut a Prius line down, they have to pay a penalty. You have to wait your turn almost, but we definitely have had issues with getting supply.”