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In the News: How We Got Here—Lengthy Lead Times & Prolonged Production

Aug 26, 2021 11:22:30 AM

Vaccinations are up and many travel restrictions have been lifted. So where’s that widget you ordered months ago? 

Factory closures. Sick workers. Port delays. Heavy tariffs. Raw material deficits. Back orders. There's no one reason for the global supply chain disruption, it’s a domino-effect crisis. 

Products made up of parts sourced from multiple countries are especially impacted as they are bound by the restrictions in place in the countries they rely on. For example, if a fleece jacket is missing a zipper made in a closed down or severely backed-up factory elsewhere, the fleece material must be set aside until the missing zippers arrive—no matter how many consumers clamor to buy them.

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Causes

Covid-19. When factory workers fall ill, whole sections of plants shut down. In addition to shutdowns occurring from exposure-related incidents, companies are working to implement a host of new safety policies—further delaying a return to full capacity.

Today, many major manufacturers still aren’t staffed at full pre-pandemic levels or are rotating workers through their facilities to reduce the number of occupants in each area. This makes catching up on a growing backlog of orders even more challenging.

Freight costs are also soaring amid sky-high consumer demand for product. BBC News recently reported that containers which had a relative rate of $1,200 pre-pandemic are now are averaging between $7,000 and $10,000. Limited global flights from Asia and Europe and overwhelmed ports—we'd be remiss to forget the Suez Canal debacle—have also had an impact on costs and delivery times.  In addition, shipping containers are in reduced supply, due to a 30% rise in demand for import cargo.

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Making The Most of It

Whether you’re planning for the holidays or an event that's scheduled for early next year, place orders as soon as possible. Delivery timelines are still fluctuating, however, we're doing our best keep you aware and to source alternatives where possible. Your understanding and patience is appreciated!

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Light At The End of The Tunnel

Although factories currently operating at 30-40% capacity can’t suddenly return to full-speed overnight and shippers can’t rehire and retrain employees at the drop of the hat, conditions can only improve from here.

Multiple factors point to delays continuing to plague the economy into next year—back orders simply need time to clear. By setting clear expectations as early as possible, we’re certain we can navigate these choppy waters.

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If you have a question concerning product availability, order status, or lead times, give us a call or submit a ‘contact us’ form.

Topics: In the News
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