Why you can have trouble getting the fridge, paint or car you want

From manufacturers of cars to appliances to paint cans, American manufacturers are reeling from demand for goods, which American Kovid-19 is buying as an epidemic.

Factory production of consumer products has recovered to a great extent after the closure of this spring associated with crippling manufacturing of viruses across the country.

But as companies rush to rest, buyers are moving goods at an even faster pace, leading to a lack of inventory on goods that have recently grown in popularity with people spending more time at home And travel, executives, retailers and analysts panic about it.

Five months after vehicle production resumed, car dealers are still seeing their stockpiles shrink as public transit-hour buyers come to the new-car lot and more people migrate to the suburbs and rural areas.

An upsurge in home-improvement projects has not left paint makers making fewer cans and appliances on parts to produce refrigerators and kitchen mixers and washing machines.

Supply chain disruptions, worker absenteeism and other challenges related to virus-proofing at the workplace further complicate manufacturers’ efforts to catch up. Some officials say it will not happen until early next year before stock levels return to normal.

“We don’t have a new side or ex-parte demand to meet the demand,” said Mike Jackson, Chief Executive Officer for Autocation. Inc.

America’s largest publicly traded dealership chain. He said he expected the availability to improve next year.

Some manufacturers with large consumer businesses including 3M Co.

MMM -0.53%

, Harley Davidson Inc.

Hog 1.93%

And ford motor Co.

F -0.61%

It is expected to report earnings for their latest quarters in the coming week, offering more information on the state of the US supply chain.

According to data provided by the Federal Reserve, production of long-lasting consumer goods, such as equipment, trucks, and furniture, was down nearly 50% in April from January levels. But in the summer, it rebounded, and in September, production was up 1% from January, data shows.

For buyers, the shortage can be a lethargy. But for businesses, the reverse is also there. With inventory tight, auto manufacturers and dealers say they are able to charge more for vehicles, and are making strong profits. Some officials say the demand for pent-ups will help to keep sales strong next year.

“It is good that we have an exceptionally strong order book, but we are, of course, trying to minimize any customer frustration,” Mark Bitzer, chief executive of equipment manufacturer Whirlpool Corp.

, Said on a call last week with analysts.

After the large-scale plant closed this spring, manufacturers began to bring workers back under the new safety protocol in late May, with multiple scheduling overtime for lost production.

But efforts to restart were slow at first, with suppliers reopening to face higher rates of labor absenteeism.

It was not until August that many American factories were back to a normal level of production, but by then, demand had also returned sharply, with many expecting, shortages of goods and widening the supply gap, Officials and retailers say.

Auto makers, in particular, are pushing to keep up with demand for new vehicles in the form of lower interest rates, excess cash from incentive checks and a growing interest in owning a car has halted sales.

Part of the problem is that auto manufacturers continue to struggle with supply-chain shortages, particularly on Mexico goods, and are not always able to obtain the parts needed for the features and configurations that buyers want, Analysts and officials say.

The survey of new orders of long-lasting goods is one of the most commonly seen US economic indicators. The WSJ explains sustainable goods, and why investors look beyond the headline number to get a better read on business activity. Photo: Josie Norris / San Antonio Express-News

Some car companies have also leaned on inventions growing in the epidemic, particularly on trucks and SUVs. The industry typically uses it to take down plants for new models in the summer, adding to the complexities of ramping back and forth.

“We were down for seven to eight weeks, and there is still a lot of time for the pipeline to evacuate,” said Chris Reynolds, Toyota Motor Of Corp.

TM -0.10%

Head of manufacturing for North America.

Mr. Reynolds said the company’s factories have made a full recovery and are running to fill dealer orders, but that effort should be balanced with the new safety protocol.

PPG Industries Inc.

A chief paint manufacturer, has experienced an increase in orders for one-gallon paint cans as consumers look to change walls or change colors, chief executive Michael McGreery said.

Many homeowners prevent painters from visiting their homes, allowing them to do so themselves. This means that the PPG will have to change the lines to make smaller amounts.

The company and other paint manufacturers have struggled to find enough paint cans to make the shift.

“Mac demand is the strongest in US history right now.” “We’re trying to make sure there is paint on the shelves.”

Many of Whirlpool’s US factories are dependent on parts of Mexico and other countries where efforts have resumed and are slow, said Jim Peters, the company’s financial head.

In response, Whirlpool is signing contracts with new suppliers and shipping shipping-parts to factories that would otherwise have been delivered by truck, he said.

The company said it now has a two-month backlog of orders, much longer than before.

Homeowners René and Brian Bellew are among those still waiting for their new equipment. Belleviers bought a new home in Denver last summer and sold their existing refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers, eager to upgrade the kitchen, with plans to replace them immediately.

The couple’s excitement for more modern equipment quickly turned to surprise when their retailer told them they wouldn’t get new ones for months. They say they are now cooking on a hot plate and using a lender washing machine.

“It was a shock. I didn’t know anything right now,” Ms. Bellew said. “Now, we don’t have the equipment and won’t be for a while.

Write Nora Naughton at [email protected] and Austen Hufford at [email protected]

Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



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