Tactile’s 2021 a remarkable effort in tough conditions

Despite the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tactile Technologies has achieved stellar revenues. Managing Director Alison Johnston explains that profitability was strong, demonstrating what a remarkable effort was made by the Tactile team in what was otherwise an extremely challenging year.

“As this was our 20th anniversary year, we have been able to draw on a wealth of experience from our organised and competent people, and being such a well-oiled operation, we were well positioned to handle any surprises that came up during the course of the year,” she says.

One of the key challenges the company faced was the ongoing shortage of components, notably chipsets. This, she explains, led to longer lead times, market instability and delivery timelines being thrown into disarray, as it was difficult to streamline imports and supply chains.

“To help overcome these issues, we increased the number of manufacturers we were working with as a means to obtain additional sources for product and ensure we could continue to service our customers,” adds Johnston.

Another big challenge she identifies is that of logistics, noting that costs have doubled and, in some instances, even tripled. While she puts this down in part to a question of supply and demand, Johnston hints that some of the larger players have taken advantage of a lack of supply to significantly increase pricing.

“This has, in turn, caused the cost of logistics to skyrocket, and such increases inevitably end up at the customer’s door. While we have done our best to absorb the additional costs, this is not always possible. Fortunately, however, we were at least able to draw on our extensive experience to manage some of the import challenges related to the supply chain.

“We have also broadened our product base, as we assisted customers during the course of last year with finding certain commodities that they could not get from their usual suppliers. Thus, we began importing products that we had never done before, in order to provide this kind of additional assistance to our customers. You could say this approach was an addition to our normal customer experience that helped both our bottom line and our credibility.”

Johnston points out that Tactile also did its best to assist customers who had suffered during the July riots. She explains that the company applied discounts on products that required replacement or repair, due to being damaged during the riots. “While this was a costly approach for our business, it went long way towards building customer loyalty and demonstrated to our customer base that we genuinely care,” she says.

“Looking ahead, we anticipate another very good year in 2022. We are, in fact, already seeking to hire more people to manage the growth we are already experiencing. We are particularly keen on employees with procurement, product management, sales and data analysis skills.”

She indicates that the business has also learned lessons from last year’s challenges, and aims to be even more on top of things than it was in 2021. She points to the market situation with the component shortage being one that is unlikely to stabilise soon, adding that although Tactile has managed this well so far, the aim is to be even better at it in 2022.

“To this end, we have invested in our Taiwan team in order to help us manage the supply chain difficulties better and the anticipated logistical volatility. Then we are also investing in data analysis to help us identify gaps in the business and to drive efficiency improvements.

“Lastly, we would like our customers to know that we are working on something very exciting, which we expect will have a significant and positive impact on our clients when it is announced, so watch this space. This is proof that we are not resting on our laurels, and that we continue to innovate and make our product offering stronger and stronger,” concludes Johnston.

Tactile Technologies is a well-known, experienced and successful distributor of touch screen, auto-ID and payment technology products. For more info, go to www.tactiletechnologies.com.

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