Overcoming Cruise Supply Chain Obstacles

Overseeing hotel operations, catering, crew and procurement for cruise industry customers, the Apollo Group was at the forefront of the industry’s start-up in 2021.

“We came in November thinking we were getting there, then in December we got Omicron. We had to stop for a bit and start over,” said Philippe Faucher, vice president of business development, who said the company had 18 ships in operation for different brands, managing hotel operations.

“Obviously the ships were not operating at full capacity and we are facing a lot of the consequences of crew boarding the ships,” he added, speaking at the meeting. Marine Hotel Association event in March. “Every few weeks there are product shortages due to shortages, but we are extremely eager and excited to get started.”

The availability of products

Product shortages, shipping prices and delivery times are among the challenges for Alia Abou-Assali, vice president of purchasing and logistics.

“What used to take two to three weeks to be ready now can take up to two months and then we have logistical issues with the shipping companies,” she said. “The industry slept for 18 months and everyone started at the same time.

“There is no more just-in-time inventory. Some manufacturers want us to stock four to six months of inventory due to delays and availability issues. »

The keys to overcoming current barriers are flexibility and communication, she said.

“If something is not available, tell us what you can offer as a substitute, and then we will see if the cruise lines will accept it or not? That’s been the name of the game since it all started.

Communication key

Faucher said communication was key.

“We need to know what will be available and what will not. There’s nothing like having bad news, but the sooner we get the bad news, the better. We like to be ready to tell the crew what to tell the guests,” he said.

With some products unavailable, crews on board have had more freedom to find substitutes and suggest modifications.

“Our management on board today has a lot more mph than it has ever had,” explained Faucher.

“If they walk into ports and know they’re running out of a product, we give them more bandwidth to walk around and see if they can fix the problem.

“Our costs are still fundamental to ensuring we stay in business. If our costs skyrocket, it won’t work for anyone.

“At the end of the day, you have a community of crew on this ship who need to make the experience enjoyable for customers and doing their best to give them the information they need and prepare them accordingly is a win-win situation- winner.”

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News quarterly magazine: Spring 2022

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