You probably have experienced the shipping issues that were COVID-related. We all felt that pain! But you likely thought that the worst was over by now. That is unfortunately not the case. And what is this going to mean for you? Most likely longer lead times and higher prices on many things you buy – on everything from cars to containers to paints, and you guessed it - sealers.
2021 started off with several major issues impacting the manufacturing supply chain. Even US-based manufacturers like Black Diamond Coatings have experienced the ripple effect of the global supply chain.
February weather in Texas caused massive issues in the raw materials that are used to make plastic. So, while we are all still reeling from the 2020 impact on shortages in spray triggers and plastic bottles, shortages driven by COVID-related plant closures and increases in demand for disinfectant spray bottles and hand sanitizers, now we have other plastic shortages. The Wall Street Journal reported expected shortages with vehicle production at Honda and Toyota, PPG (paint) supply issues, and even the Container Store expects an impact on profits. Chemical suppliers have had shortages and/or price increases on a majority of products.
COVID-vaccines finally started moving throughout the United States in large numbers in the early part of 2021. The supply chain impact? NPR reported that any of the vaccines must be shipped in climate-controlled transportation so that they don’t spoil. Many of the climate controlled or refrigerated trucks were taken from normal transportation lanes to be used for this important goal, thus further impacting supply chain issues.
The ship that blocked the Suez Canal has caused a big back up in ships moving between Asia and Europe, and to a small degree to the United States. According to a Forbes article, less than half of the U.S.’ imports come into our country via ship. The big issue is that many products are assembled in the United States with parts, chemicals or containers that come from a global partner. Any hiccup in the supply chain impacts the rest.
As supply tightens and demand increases, the biggest companies buying raw materials are in line ahead of the smaller companies due to their larger buying power. Even with a solid forecast model for 2021 and advanced planning, it’s very difficult to stay ahead of the curve. We have heard so many stories of chemical companies that have spent years formulating products to find out that the raw materials that are tested and approved are no longer available for purchase. Labor costs are up for many manufacturers as they run overtime trying to keep up with demand.
Building your new home is going to be more expensive, including lumber costs going up by 180% according to the National Association of Home Builders, and as reported by the Boston CBS affiliate. More people are building or doing home renovations, exacerbated by COVID-shutdowns, creating an imbalance of supply and demand.
Transportation continues to be slower than in the past. We have seen improvements in our carrier partner performance, but we still see more issues with our nationwide shipments than we experienced pre-COVID. We know it’s frustrating, but the carriers are still working through labor shortages and increased eCommerce traffic that is pushing their infrastructure past its capabilities. One-day shipping lanes are no longer promised, nor are claims on missed delivery dates. What we hear from the carriers is "plan ahead" and allow time for delays or missed pick-ups.
If you’re buying supplies for your business, then buy ahead. Don’t wait until the project or the business need is upon you. Not only are there potential issues in supply availability, but transportation can also be delayed, or pricing may change. Black Diamond Coatings is trying hard to keep all of our products available, but we have already had products out of stock in 2021 due to raw materials being unavailable. Please make sure you are ordering what you need well in advance of larger projects. Use our product calculators to estimate jobs early. Until supply chain constraints ease up, consider focusing on fewer customer options so that you can stock one or two sealers or sand colors in your business storage facility instead of offering our full line of products.
Plan ahead on the projects you want to complete. If you’re sealing your surfaces, do a Porosity Test to understand if your surface is more porous or more dense to appropriately calculate how much sealer you’ll need. This can be the difference between one (1) five-gallon and three (3) five-gallon sealers! Use our product calculators to ensure you order sufficient products to complete your project.
Please have patience with any manufacturers, local stores or eCommerce sellers. Whether it’s a Peloton, an Amazon order, or your favorite Black Diamond Coatings’ product – please know that most sellers want you to love their products and their service. We can assure you that we truly care about both.
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