Just like other industries, we are not immune to the supply issues facing all of us. It's immensely frustrating. In the past year we've had to redesign components or figure out a different way to manufacture a component, or can't get the material or supplies, or the material is way higher. Like Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg having a party high. Or, we just wait for a supplier dealing with their own supply chain issues. And it's items we never thought would be an issue from companies we've used for years to decades. Two suppliers (listing off the top of my head) we've used for over 20 years, one was able to get the product to us but with an extended lead time, the other we finally gave up on. Once we can get the components or material here, we're fine, getting it here is a challenge.
Cardboard boxes, the boxes we use to ship campfire series in. Been using the same company for well over a decade. Enter in the same order we've entered in for years. Only to get a reply that they don't have them and they don't know when they'll be receiving them in. So begins the search to find replacements. Thankfully, we did find another supplier.
Ash containers, can't get them. Suppliers expects them to come in a certain time. Email them, nope don't have them. Check back in a month. They happen to be the only domestic supplier of that size and style.
Rotisserie motors, we've had an order placed since last May from the motor manufacturer. Been using the same supplier for 16 years without ever an issue in supply. Called, emailed, trying to find a person that knows when we should be expecting them. They don't know. So begins a search to find another motor manufacturer. One challenge is finding a domestic source. Which is quite the challenge. As you may well know, we don't build stuff in this country like we used to. It's tough to find domestic sources. But, hopefully we have found a source. We've now gone through the redesign and testing phase. We started the search and redesign phase last November when we finally came to the conclusion getting motors from our former supplier isn't going to happen in the near future. Now hopefully in a couple months we can finally start shipping rotisseries again. The one plus side is the new motor will have more torque than the last one. It's double the old torque. It's heavy, but it's an impressive little motor. It went for days on the offset load test. Which is the hardest test for a gearmotor. Everything else for the rotisseries is already built and sitting on the shelfs. Just waiting on motors.
Steel has gone stupid. We normally buy enough steel at a time to build 300-600 grills. The last order we shrunk the order to build 150 grills. Just on the hopeful side thinking maybe once we build the 150 grills and need to reorder, the price would have shrunk. I think the last time I looked, it's <200% higher than before the pandemic. The last time I talked to our steel supplier they didn't know when the price would correct. Maybe this year see a little price shrink. Personally, I think the price will shrink some. But with the inflation, I'm thinking we might be in a new norm.
Wood, we use wood for the handles and for crating the 1000 and 2000 series. Well, we all know where we've been with the whole wood issue. The handles are the same but the crates had to get redesigned.
And the list just keeps going, I think I could bring up the components list and every item that goes into building a grill has been a challenge. Either receiving in the raw material or getting a completed component from a supplier, it's all been a frustrating challenge.
End of rant.
The one nice thing. At the peak of all of this. We were at one point 800 grills behind on the build list. Last year, once we were able to get material and components, we brought in more people and equipment to where now we're starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. So maybe, hopefully we can get back to normal.