This Won’t be the Off Season We Were Hoping For
Sponsored Post by Kathy Stanley, Commercial Aquatic Services
As one of the most challenging pool seasons we’ve experienced comes to an end, our initial reaction was one of relief. And before the sigh could escape, more hits have started coming.
We received notification from one of the chemical companies that prices will be increasing 15% – 30% in the coming weeks. We’re seeing equipment prices increasing by 10% – 50%. This, after watching the prices climb all year, across every product line.
These increases are due to escalating costs of raw materials, freight problems, packaging components, labor shortages, increased labor costs, and most recently – Hurricane Ida. All of these factors have created the ‘Perfect Storm’ if you will, with no end in sight. We’re still suffering the devastating effects of the Winter Storm Uri that brought severe destruction to much of the southern states. All available inventory was snatched up for repairs of the facilities, that were not prepared for the freezing temperatures they had to endure for days on end.
The resin industry initially was struggling from COVID-19, when Winter Storm Uri hit, and the latest hurdle now being Hurricane Ida. These resins are needed for plastic processors across the country. Without the necessary supply, factories are unable to manufacture injection molded parts. The already short supply, coupled with the high demand, has our industry feeling the pain in every nook and cranny.
The chemical supply chains are suffering as well. This goes beyond the chlorine production plant fire in 2020. We all thought if we could just get through 2021 summer season manufacturing would be able to catch back up again. But these supply problems are so closely intertwined. Without the molded plastics, we don’t have buckets, or jugs, or drums to hold the chemicals. With the rail damage from the hurricane, we don’t have a way to ship product out. If we can’t get the ingredients, we can’t manufacturer the products. The plants had to shut down for the hurricane, if they suffered damage in the storm, the damages have to be repaired – but where will the parts come from? This vicious circle is exhausting.
This post isn’t to cause panic for our industry, but rather an awareness. And through that awareness, maybe, just maybe, bring more preparedness. Budgets will have to be adjusted, prices will need to increase for everyone, and it’s up to us to communicate this information as early, and as frequently as necessary to make sure that everyone understands what we’re facing.