Supply chain

I’m not sure where you would have to had to live to not notice the massive pricing increase on just about EVERYTHING, but it’s here. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any sign of reversal. Early on we were told that the supply chain was stressed due to manufacturing closures with slow re-ramping. That seemed logical, although we didn’t like it (and still don’t). What do you do? Well as production ramps up to more normalized levels prices continue to rise. Why might you ask? We are told some products are dependent on certain components that are still “scarce”. I can’t tell you if they are scarce due to inability to manufacture volume or if it has more to do with output control to dictate pricing but what I can tell you is that things are not getting cheaper…

I deal with numerous businesses in the course of my days and near all of them are experiencing the same labor shortage with the same complaint “we can’t find help”. One particular small manufacturing supplier that I spoke with, a true mom and pop shop summed up the stories of the many struggling to survive in the age of Amazon and Home Depot. They gave me a description of their current situation

“Before all of this we had several employees many of which were with us twenty years or more, they weren’t super high paid but they made above what the labor market has been in our area and we treat them right. Unemployment has brought our shop from ten to literally zero employees We have to do everything ourselves, orders are way behind and all of our materials have gone up. After the initial shut down’s we asked our people to come back, they ALL were too comfortable making more at home on unemployment then going to work. One lady that had been in the same spot in the corner of our shop for twenty years told me “if I come back I feel like I need a new space.” I’m not sure what that means except that free money beats the kind you have to work for and it seems like there is no shortage of that for now, at least until we are all out of business… Fortunately everything is paid for at our shop so if we don’t get taxed out of business we will make it…”

Unfortunately this story is all too common to the small businesses that we deal with. Many of the custom products we install come from the mom and pops that are in the worst shape right now. I totally understand the production delays from them. The larger companies probably are experiencing something similar. I can’t say for sure, but what I can say is that EVERY supplier that I deal with has raised prices and most are either unable to fulfill orders, having major delays or are having to limit their product selection. I hope all returns to normal soon but I fear if I hold my breath that would be the end of me.