Enough is enough. Two years is a very long time to deal with having our neatly organized supply chain world turned upside down. SOME factories are still raising prices, while others have things under control. Some well established companies are going through major upheaval, trying to sort things out. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Chlorine goes up again: Why? Raw elemental chlorine is used to make chlorine (liquid, tablets, pucks, etc). But more importantly, most plastic products from toys and plastic bottles to PVC pipe and smart phones are made from the same stuff. So when consumer demand for these products is at an all time high, and supply is short, it is going to drive the price upward. Suppliers report that elemental chlorine has gone up 200% in the past months, doubling twice, and affecting ALL types of chlorinated products. It’s a shame as we had been able to hold chlorine pricing relatively flat for decades, but no longer. We see a light at the end of the tunnel, but it appears as late 2023 might be the true turning point. We’re holding on.
Possible solutions: Now is a great time to assure you have tight control over your treatment programs. Pinpoint chemistry control and alert notification of any out of range parameters have become a basic requirement. Maintaining a reasonable stabilizer level that is friendly toward the new CDC guidelines, but still saves money is a must. And now is a great time to investigate “making your own chlorine” on site. There are several great alternatives from a ChlorKing saline unit to NEXGEN skid mounted systems, both conversions which are normally self-funding from the savings they generate.
Items in short supply: Imagine companies that have made heaters for 100 years that suddenly are almost one year behind production schedules. Well, it’s sad but true. Lack of circuit boards and components – yes parts of China are still under mandatory lock downs – have put some heater companies (as well as major auto manufacturers) in a severe bind. Some companies had better contingency plans than others, presenting some ways to navigate this mess. You can add fiberglass filters (resin and labor shortages), and digital test kits (plastic shortages) to the danger list.
Possible solutions: CES researched and vetted another great heater alternative, secured national wholesale distribution rights, trained and certified our technical staff on set up and care, and ordered a large stock to carry us through this problem time. We are proud to say that we have heaters, lots of them, so let us know if we can assist you in any way. Also, our primary heater supplier estimates that they will be back in full production by March-April 2023, and will be able to catch up shortly thereafter. The filter companies have long lead times, but are slowly climbing back, and the test kit companies added another completely separate assembly line, and are looking to catch up fully by March 2023.
Smooth sailing for some: We are proud to announce that some suppliers have apparently made it through the pandemic mess and are back to (nearly) business as normal. BECS chemistry controllers, ChlorKing saline and NEXGEN systems, Enduro robotic vacuums, and Stenner chemical feeders are examples of folks that have held it together better than most in the industry. The companies have done an awesome job investing in inventory (well in advance), navigating re-engineering as components were obsoleted, and have worked diligently to maintain an adequate work force to keep things going. Upward pricing pressure from component price increases, general inflation and work force & insurance cost increases have driven pricing upwards, and delivery times are still elevated, but compared to others, they’re doing great.
Possible solutions: Now is a great time to lock in your 2023 equipment and program needs as several of these manufacturers have announced additional price increases for next year. Piping, fittings, materials and general labor costs are also increasing and in short supply, so planning ahead and staying flexible are the keys to not being disappointed.
Sorry to be the bearer of good, bad, and ugly news, but many appreciate being kept in the loop so that they can adjust from their side. The moral of the story is still the same: plan ahead, make sure that you commit as early as possible, give yourselves ample deadlines, maintain your existing equipment so that you don’t need to prematurely replace, and try to stay as patient as possible. Everyone is trying 110% to get back to normal, and we’ll get there. Hopefully sooner than later.
Contact your CES rep with any questions or challenges, and we’ll work together to help navigate this mess.