So, we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the effects of the Pandemic, and the hopes to returning to a “normal” life. Folks are getting vaccinated, businesses are starting to fully open up, and there is a sense of optimism trickling down into the commercial pool world.
Facilities are starting to implement projects that were held in limbo during the height of the Pandemic, and engineers and contractors are really busy, so the future is bright.
Then….BAM, you start seeing signs that are not very promising, and are downright scary. No, we don’t mean a resurgence of COVID-19, we’re talking about further disruption to our pool world.
Not one, but many manufacturers, even some large, well organized, and well-financed ones are starting to have some significant supply chain issues.
- Items ordered from overseas, including simple things like ORP & pH sensors are being delayed, not by days or weeks, but by months.
- Simple pumps and filters, typically available immediately at various places, have lead times of 8-12 weeks or more, yikes.
- Full containers of equipment, including pumps, filters, impellers, drains are sitting off the coast as ports aren’t open to receive them.
- We’re told that some containers are being rerouted, through the Panama Canal, to the east coast where they can unload.
- Due to the above, there is now a global shortage of containers in which to ship equipment, which is further delaying shipments.
- We’re seeing scarcity of raw materials such as resins, pvc, and some metals, fueling product and shipping cost increases, sometimes dramatically.
- Even sending materials via air freight, a more expensive but reliable solution, has issues as there are fewer international flights to carry freight.
- Manufacturers have raised prices, and are in some cases limiting purchases to geographic location or by rationing.
Depressed enough? As scary as this is, there are some ways that we can HELP protect ourselves against these debilitating time delays.
- Buy American: Besides helping employ your neighbor, these shortages provide another great reason to support our factories in the US. While many are struggling with chemical controller parts and accessories, CES has bountiful supplies of all Precision Control and BECS controllers and ALL the parts and accessories needed. This allows our customers to continue to enjoy perfect pool water 24/7/365, while some Florida sites are putting their patrons at risk with poor water quality control.
- Give Thanks: We thank our major US-based manufacturers: BECS, ChlorKing, Sentry UV, Fluidra USA, Poltank, Arch Chemicals, Lochinvar, Lamotte, SR Smith, Stenner, Fluidtrol, ETS, EPD-USA, ClearWater Tech, AquaWorx, VakPak, Yaskawa USA, Xylem – Marlow, Sentry Industries, Daldorado, to name a few, for not only being the leading brands in the industry, but by also making the investments to help keep our customers and their patrons as well stocked and safe as possible.
- Think Ahead: The days of making snap decisions to swap pumps and filters are temporarily behind us. We need to better strategize and plan changes to equipment by engineering projects ahead to time, and allowing ample lead time for products and projects. Contractors who wait until the last minute to order are disappointing lots of owners and patrons.
- Take Care of What You Have: A typical heater swap may not be as simple as it used to be, so keeping existing equipment properly maintained has become more important than ever. Preventive Maintenance Service on major components is a key strategy to keeping your facility’s long term costs low, and CES will assist by providing affordable PM services and reminding your staff when they are due.
- Be Patient: As difficult as it may be, we all need to stay patient with manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and shipping lines. We’re all doing our best to keep up with this ridiculous situation.
- Increase Stocking Levels: CES has implemented min-max levels, and has increased its stock of key parts and accessories well beyond historical levels, as traditional purchasing timelines are out the window. Still, we expect extended lead times, and significant shipping delays, and even some scarcity due to the the above.
Thanks to our customers for their patience during these trying times and let’s all work together to minimize the effects of this global supply chain issue.
Please contact your CES Rep to discuss any short or long-term needs and issues, and we can get ahead of the project to avoid delays.
Stay Safe, Normalcy is on its way.