The Do-It-Yourselfers are hard at work at home ("Stay-At-Home Improvement, NPR.org, 14 July 2020).
These are tough times for many. Many people have been and continue to Shelter in Place and practice Social Distancing. This has created a perfect storm for shed inventory, processing and shipping.
I am often asked questions like: "Why is there such a shortage of inventory?", "Why is the processing time so long?", or "Where is my shipment?"
There are many reasons for what we are experiencing. I will try to address the obvious reasons here.
"Why is there such a shortage of inventory?"
When the COVID-19 Pandemic got hold in the USA and people began Sheltering in Place, working from home, or the unfortunate layoffs, the USA was just entering Spring. Millions of people found themselves at home, bored and looking for DIY projects to keep themselves and their love ones occupied. This led to an early sales season that exceeded a normal peak summer season. That left manufacturers scrambling to coordinate restocking and begin mass manufacturing in an attempt to keep up. Imports into the USA were severely restricted and thus source materials were limited.
"Why is the processing time so long?"
This is difficult for some customers to grasp. Orders come in and coordination with warehouses begins. Crosschecking of inventory with current orders, backlogged orders does take some effort. When sales each day surpass the number of orders that can be processed, delays are created. This occurred for weeks into months. With each hiccup in the process, additional delays result. The lack of inventory becomes some breathing room for the warehouses to work off the backlogged inventory that is waiting to be shipped.
It is important to also realize that while the customer may be healthy at home, there are essential workers in offices, warehouses, docks and shipping facilities around the USA. With a highly contagious Corona Virus, we saw staff sick and in some cases, hospitalized, warehouses and offices closed for sanitizing. These are real problems that take a lot of effort to coordinate. Training of new staff during the Pandemic is problematic logistically and from a safety standpoint.
"Where is my shipment?"
Americans are a culture often of immediate gratification. Sometimes it is difficult for people to grasp that shipping products and maintaining adequate social distancing while fulfilling orders is very difficult.
With the early spring sales continuing into the summer season, freight/common carriers did not see a slow down in volume. In fact, many saw increases as other seasonal orders started entering the market.
Most shipping carriers are third party carriers and have no affiliation with our manufacturer's or ourselves other than in a mutual business relationship. We do not control the shipping companies schedules, means or methods.
"We will survive" and we will continue to push forward being as transparent with our customers as possible. Never do we want to maintain a negative business relationship with any of our customers or manufacturer's. You ARE what makes us successful.