This is not what we wanted to write about but it is important enough to do so in order that you may be informed. Our policy is to tell it like it is, without sugar-coating the truth. Knowledge is power.
Currently there are world-wide shortages for Steel and Plastic. Stainless steel is widely used in Oil Melting and Lye Tanks as well as for Melt & Pour Molds. Steel is used for Tank Stands and other pieces of soap equipment that do not come in contact with the ingredients of soap and other body care products.
The shortages are due to multiple factors including the shut-downs and reduced labor forces during COVID-19. This resulted in less demand so inventories did not get replaced, resulting in manufacturers of steel as well as resins (plastics) to drastically reduce their production. Now, as things are attempting to return to “normal”, whatever that means now, businesses are increasing their orders in an attempt to have inventory on hand. Thus, the demand is higher than it would have been under normal circumstances.
The ports are clogged up with ships waiting weeks to dock and then to be unloaded. Even shipping containers are hard to come by and extremely expensive. Where prior to Covid you could book your container for as little as $200. Post Covid the containers are on a highest bid pricing where you are now paying thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars for that same space. Many businesses are also still contending with reduced labor forces.
Do not expect this situation to improve much, if any, between now and the end of the year.
Lead times that once were 2-6 weeks, depending upon equipment, can now be 8-14 weeks in some cases, even longer. It is so bad that in some cases, distributors of the raw materials will not even give an ETA of orders or pricing until it is loaded and ready to ship.
If you are needing equipment to increase your production volume or even to start your new business, our suggestion is to be smart and not delay ordering, hoping things will get better. The sooner your order is placed in line, the sooner you will receive your equipment. Our recommendation is to be thinking about your holiday demands now vs waiting till the end of summer.
Not every piece of equipment is affected so contact us with what you have in mind or if you need assistance.
As the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make the best lemonade you can.
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