Foam Shortages Back in the News
Foam Shortages Backlog Appliances. Furniture, RVs, Cars And More
By Dawn Geske
07/19/21 AT 11:54 AM
Another product shortage is proving to be a literal pain in the backside for consumers, and this one is affecting multiple industries.
Foam is in short supply nationwide, causing delayed deliveries for a myriad of products that are made with the padding, including furniture, mattresses, vehicles, boats, recreational vehicles, and appliances, USA Today reported. It has also backlogged the building construction and steelmaking industries, the news outlet said.
Foam, which is used in everything from seats and upholstery to insulation and molds for casting steel, began running short in February. This is when five plants in the U.S. shut down due to the harsh winter storms that swept the South. These plants -– four in Texas and one in Louisiana — produce propylene oxide, the main chemical used to make foam.
According to USA Today, the plants were only temporarily closed for a few days, but it took weeks to get back up to full production as flooding and power outages damaged equipment, which were operating at 120% capacity to meet consumer demand.
Chemical plants have yet to catch up as consumer demand remains strong for furniture, RVs, boats, and cars. Consumers are waiting months for new products in these categories and shipment delays stretched from 30 days to as long as a year,
“This has put everything in disarray,” Zachary Moore, editor and analyst for Independence Commodity Intelligence Services, a petrochemical research firm, told the news outlet.
The furniture industry was the hardest hit because it uses a large amount of foam in its products, and shipment delays stretched from 30 days to as long a year, Jerry Epperson, managing director of Mann, Armistead & Epperson and EverChem Specialty Chemicals, told USA Today.
Boats have decreased to the point where dealers have nearly none in stock, taking a year to arrive compared to the previous average of two to three weeks. Sales jumped 60% after a double-digit surge in 2020, Ray Lewis, manager at Oquossoc Marine, a boat dealer in Oquossoc, Maine, told the news outlet. The dealer is no longer taking orders for new boats for delivery this year.
Recreational vehicles aren’t faring any better as some orders are taking up to a year, compared to the normal two to three months. Lead times on appliances have increased to six months, up from two to three months, according to USA Today.
Cars are being affected by foam shortages as well as a semiconductor chip supply disruption, but they are better positioned to weather the bottlenecks. The chip shortage that is hurting the auto industry was caused by the high demand for the part in tech products during the pandemic as consumers scooped up these devices as they stayed home during lockdown orders.Related StoriesVehicle Production Dips Again As Automakers Challenged By Chip ShortagesMore Automakers Feel Impact Of Chip Shortages
But according to Cox Automotive there were 1.13 million unsold vehicles at dealerships in the U.S. as June closed. This was down from 1.78 million at the close of May and down from 2.24 million at the close of April.« Previous Post Next Post »