Global Supply Chain
Though we are small we are indeed a global manufacturer. Our raw material comes from New Zealand; we make our products in the US and we sell them across N. America and increasingly further afield. Our machines rely on parts from both domestic and foreign suppliers and we ship our products via multiple trucks each day.
In short, we see serious stress in each step of the process. New Zealand is challenged with having enough ships turning up to take goods; ports in the US are either not taking new bookings or are so backed up clearance times can be 6 weeks, instead of 3 days; parts suppliers used to max out at 2 week delivery times and are now somewhere between 2 months and not available. And trucking? Frankly, that could be a whole separate discussion. The full truckload (FTL) and less than truckload (LTL) space is a total mess and Fedex is simply not any better.
Frankly, we’ve not fared much better. Our backlog touched 8 weeks and we agitated a fan base we are incredibly proud to have cultivated. We are trying to add new production at our facility as well as outsourced capacity. The former is a year out in a best case scenario and we may have found some help on the latter after a year of begging!
What do we see….in no particular order?
- Constraint at the ports leading to month long delays
- No new bookings at various ports on the W. Coast of the US
- Little to no help in manufacturing – outsourced or timely organic growth
- Labor challenges
- Egregious overcharging by Fedex and other freight providers
- No end in sight – generally and particularly when delving into the geopolitical frey – which we do not do!
So what do these very real issues mean for us?
We are in a challenging environment whereby consumer demand is begging for supply and we can just barely eak out a little extra production in our facility. And new machinery is 9-18 months out. Irrespectively, we like a challenge and we shall persevere. Outsourced production and a new product launch are delayed but finally forthcoming and travel is booked to see new machinery so we too can make an informed decision.
Meanwhile it is fair to offer a few facts: wool prices are up 36%, shipping is near double for our lane, and packaging prices are up 40%. We raised our prices 11% so no it really shouldn’t be any wonder that the CPI was up over 5% in June and July.
So what are we going to do?
First, we’re going to remain a proud employer whose prospects for growth are good. Then we are going to do everything we can to address increased demand. Undoubtedly, there will be twists in the road but we’ll happily show up everyday and do the best we can. It is easy when you have a group of people who care as much as we do about what we are providing to a growing fan base. Wool is an AMAZING fiber, unlike any other. We try to carry ourselves with an integrity that matches its inherent capabilities. Do we get bummed out when people complain about our backlog? Yes. Does it push us harder to find a solution? Also yes.
Here’s to it!
Thank you for all that you are doing to make the world a better place. I’m sure that this is an incredible challenge and can seem impossible at times. I hope that things align in the near future.
Love your wool! Thanks so much!
I’m grateful that you are still in the game. We have to keep remembering that this pandemic affected every part of our lives and to be as understanding and patient as we want the next person to be. Thank you for having a good spirit.
Using mine in recording studio in Maine USA!
Thank you for your insights. I ordered one small bag the same day I bought my new Ford Transit Connect. I was ready for for that wool when it was delivered 8 weeks later. That one bag did my whole small van except the floor. It was amazingly easy to work with. If all your product claims are as true as the ease of installation, it is well worth the wait because you have an unusual and wonderful product. I wish it had more the test of time, a track record to show up any potential problems. I will let you know down the road if anything emerges. Best wishes in working your small business
An instant gratification world finds it hard to understand that some things just take time. Considering your product is likely an input to someone else’s product one would think they would understand that things aren’t manufactured at the rate someone can click a button on the internet.
2 questions: why don’t you use American grown wool? How do insects not attack the product
We’d love to add US wool to the mix. The challenges, which start with consistency and cost are not insurmountable. We are looking at ways to make this work as well. It’ll take a bit but we are hopeful for its inclusion down the track a bit. As for insects, we apply a slight amount of boric acid which deters them. Thanks.
I appreciate your honesty and ethics.
Why don’t you try sourcing wool in North America? If you were to buy a lot of farmers in my area would return to raising sheep. Thanks
We’d love to add US wool to the mix. The challenges, which start with consistency and cost are not insurmountable. We are looking at ways to make this work as well. It’ll take a bit but we are hopeful for its inclusion down the track a bit.
Thank you for the honest communication. We are happy to have our wool, and send up our prayers for you, your customers, and everyone out there impacted by the challenges we have faced over the last two years! You product is worth the wait, worth the cost, and certainly worth the results of a superior product! 🙏 for your company! 🤙
Hang in there. Your product is SO important. I would order it again in a heartbeat.
Thanks for the great articles. I’ve been following some by Western Metal Roofing as well, and between both of you guys, you are explaining a great deal of the behind-the-scenes supply complications going on. This is the sort of hidden industry that most people never run into directly, let alone gain understanding of. Thanks for sharing, it encourages patience from our end.
I waited six weeks and it was COMPLETELY WORTH THE WAIT. There is no going back for me. Your wool was a pleasure to work with and I can’t wait to finish my van and enjoy the comfort and function it will surely provide. Keep your heads up wool people. This too shall pass.