FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Empty shelves were a normal sight during the height of the pandemic, but when will they fill back up?
Supply chain issues that left stores with some items out of stock continue over a year later. At Do It Best Corp., they have to move 65,000 products to eight warehouses and then to thousands of stores across the U.S.
Dent Johnson, Vice President of Merchandising said the stay-at-home movement grew their customer base as people picked up hobbies and projects. However, production slowdowns across the globe and other logistics issues put them in a tough spot.
“There was a recovery in the back half of 2020, as the manufacturers adapted, and then we had a famous Texas snowstorm in 2021, they really dramatically impacted the supply chain,” said Johnson. “Everyone reads about the ships off of the west coast, there are now about 100 of those just off the coast of LA alone. But we’re seeing the same thing on the east coast. And then even when those containers get unloaded, there’s no trucks for them to go on.”
To keep business going with as few hiccups as possible, Do It Best makes about 150 calls per week to find creative solutions in their supply chain.
“We literally had a war room developed, where we’re tracking exactly what was being manufactured when it was leaving what was on the water, when was it in the port,” Johson said.
While the situation is improving, Johnson said many things likely won’t be back to normal anytime soon.
“What’s for sure is we would anticipate the current problems going on for at least the next six months, maybe nine months,” said Johnson. “Many of our vendors have recovered quite significantly. And we see that recovering through the fall. But for some of these raw material-related issues, we’re looking at first quarter, maybe second quarter next year, best case.”
Johnson said they can anticipate most supply chain issues before they actually hit, and that the real trick is finding the right opportunities to beef up stock for popular items.
“Sometimes you can get pretty fixed on a certain way to do a project but there might be other alternatives that are very small modifications that allow you to get the supply that you need to execute,” said Johnson. “That’s what we’re recommending for our members. So, instead of regular hose clamps, maybe its a slightly different hose clamp with a slightly different screw. Little things that actually can be easy modifications for consumers to make and still get their projects done.”