Consumers feeling the pain of supply-chain bottlenecks

Photo (c) Lawrence Glass - Getty Images

Businesses say they can’t get all the materials they need to make products

Pandemic-related supply-chain issues continue to plague businesses large and small. From restaurants to boat dealers, companies are complaining they can’t get needed products and parts.

Consumers are also noticing. A scan of recent reviews posted to ConsumerAffairs shows frustration with shortages and extended delivery times for a wide range of products.

William, of Aliquippa, Pa., bought a Husqvarna lawn tractor he didn’t really want because of limited options.

“I was unhappy with it from the start,” William wrote in his review. “First off it rattles like an old tin can. No doubt some loose part that I will be able to fix, but not a good impression when I just spent north of $3,000 on it.”

Many people building houses are also running into frustrating delays. Christopher, of Durham, N.C., posted on ConsumerAffairs that his town home was supposed to be completed in June.

“I cannot get a clear estimate on completion (current estimate is October; completion has been moved back 3 times now) partially due to the sewer system hook-up issues which I am told requires specific parts (of which there is a "shortage" of) to be compliant to town regulations,” Christopher wrote in his review.

Even Amazon has been affected by a narrowed supply chain, reporting an uncharacteristic slowdown in second-quarter sales.

Shortages may last for a while

Reuters reports shortages of metals, plastics, and even liquor bottles are now commonplace, and these shortages have far-flung consequences. In one case, a tent manufacturer has had no problem making tent panels, but it can’t finish its products because of a shortage of aluminum tent poles and zippers for the flaps.

Scott Price, president of UPS International, says business leaders were caught off guard by the bottlenecks in the supply chain. In an interview with Business Insider, Price said businesses may respond by “regionalizing” their supply chains, using factories closer to main production facilities.

Businesses and the consumers that support them could face months or even years of supply chain issues, according to experts. That’s because the COVID-19 pandemic may not end any time soon.

John Rutledge, an economic adviser to the Reagan administration, told CNBC that even a small number of infections can close a major port. He notes what happened last month at China’s Ningbo-Zhoushan port, the third busiest in the world, as an example.

Take a Home Warranty Quiz. Get matched with an Authorized Partner.