It truly has been a perfect storm….
If you have ordered a product, which is made to order during the past 12-18 months, then you most likely have experienced much longer lead times than normal, as well as multiple delays. What used to take 5-7 weeks, has been taking 8-12 weeks or more. Here are the reasons why.
With the onset of COVID, many manufacturing facilities had either closed down temporarily, or were working at 50% or less capacity. This had lasted for as much as 1 year and to a degree has continued on and off with some of our manufacturers. Many of our manufacturers are very small with only 15-30 employees and located in California. As you can imagine, they have had their challenges in continuing to operate. Some of the manufacturers have had COVID cases within their employee ranks and have had to either shut down or quarantine their work force. This is continuing today.
There has also been a massive disruption of imported product components. As an example, even though our lighting may be made in USA, many product components such as light sockets, pull chains, rivets are imported. Some overseas manufacturers had not weathered the storm and have gone under, creating a scramble to find alternative sources of components. Remember…COVID has not affected the US only!
Small manufacturing relies on other small businesses for components and secondary operations from laser cut overlays, filigrees to powder coat finishing, and glass cutting. Those small businesses have experienced the same challenges.
Imported products have also been greatly affected. Many of the US shipping ports have been backed up with incoming containers. Some ports have had cargo ships parked miles out, for many months.
Here are some interesting articles on this subject:
And in addition, and importantly, orders for made to order products continued to come in, even while manufacturing was halted or disrupted. During COVID, many consumers were working from home, and instead of spending on entertainment, had taken up home renovation projects. Needless to say, all of this has created a massive backup of fulfilling product orders. As an example, IT’S NOT THAT YOUR LIGHT FIXTURE TAKES 12 WEEKS TO MAKE. It just means that it is in a cue to be produced with many other orders in front of it. You might think that all the manufacturer needs to do is hire more people and ramp up production. But this is not always possible because of the facility capacity and the fact that the product is hand assembled and requires years of experience and knowledge with the product.
Most recently, the robust economy comeback has generated even many more orders compounding the situation.
All we can say is please plan in advance and exercise patience. This isn’t a situation of negligence. Everybody is trying to do his or her best.