Lead Times For Carli Suspension Products
As you already may know, many manufacturers, retailers, and industries in general are facing never before heard of delays in getting their products out the door to customers and retailers like us. As many of them are playing catch up from various state and federal shut downs or staffing restrictions, they are now struggling with raw material shortages and massive price increases. Most are still having a hard time finding enough skilled workers just get to back to pre Covid staffing levels and many need to increase staff by 10-20% just to get back on track with the backlog of orders.
Carli Suspension is one of many that has been heavily affected by all of these issues partially due to their location in California. They also produce multi component products requiring extremely high quality sub-assemblies from vendors from all over the US. Although they have invested quite a bit of time and money into increased staffing, an additional building, and much more robotic machinery, they still remain in “catch up” mode due to increased demand, component delays from outside suppliers, and the continued search for additional staffing.
8LUG Truck Gear is a small business also struggling with supply issues from pretty much every brand that we deal with and we continue to try to increase stocking levels wherever it makes sense. But keep in mind that the lead times from some brands are in the 1-3 month range at the moment and other high demand specialized brands like Carli have dealer lead times in the 6-10 month range on many of their products. We have increased our normal stocking orders by 500% or more knowing that they will not get filled for 4 months or longer. This is all while hoping that the kits and components that we are ordering will be in demand when the are ready many months down the road. Shipments that we are receiving now are from purchase orders that we placed back in December. Stocking purchase orders that we are placing now have estimated shipping times of late 2021 or even early 2022.
So I am asking any customers currently waiting on open orders to please be patient with us as these leads times are 100% out of our control. And please don’t think that we don’t understand the frustration of waiting much longer than anticipated for parts that you have ordered. We would want nothing other than to ship out products that you have ordered asap as opposed to repeatedly requesting follow up ETA’s from the crew at Carli and try to communicate those ever changing delays back to you.
At the moment, the head of Inventory Management at Carli is out of the office for family reasons but should be back on 5/24. He will surely be taking a few days at least to get back up to speed so that he can supply us with an updated open order report. These reports have ever changing ship dates on them as the multiple outside suppliers change their estimated ship dates (both earlier as well as later) from previous estimates. I know that many of you have sent emails, left voice mails, or sent Facebook messages asking when your orders might ship. Although in some cases we may have a pretty concrete idea of when we will be receiving our pallet shipments from Carli or when Carli may be shipping your order direct, in most cases it can take a few days to over week to get an estimate back from Inventory Management.
Here is an abbreviated update that I received from Carli Suspension about the current status of production when I asked about the ever changing and lead times. I have received information like this from other manufacturers as well but nothing with this much detail:
“For the lead times growing or changing, that is unfortunately going to remain to be a sore truth as we try to overcome the following issues:
- Our Material: Metal is seeing a 60% price increase and is no longer readily available. Even if we justify and OK the price increase, common material is no longer in stock and is taking 4-5 weeks to get when it used to be 1-2 days just a few months ago. This is out of our control and not normal. Mills are limiting the amount of metal that distributors can purchase and this affects us.
- Suppliers Material: same as above
- Shock suppliers: same as above with the inclusion of below.
- Labor: We are constantly hiring new people and are currently still at the highest employee level in the history of our company. The problem is I need 10 extra people this very moment to fill open spots, but I need 30 more people to help knock out the backlog. It is impossible to find people that are worth their salt that are reliable and trainable. Many people are still incentivized not to work due to Covid.
- Covid: many manufacturers still struggle to make products and materials due to Covid related issues like sick calls, social distancing, government regulations on occupancy restrictions, and shut downs. We are still reeling from a 5-month long track bar shortage due to Teflon production. Why? Because FK uses Teflon in their rod ends which is being limited on purchasing from Dupont because they are short-staffed from Covid and demand from other industries.
- Historically record breaking sales across all sectors of the manufacturing and transportation.
- Lack of truck drivers in the country to move materials and shipments
Things that we have done in the last 12 months to help mitigate these challenges have been:
- Hired as many people as we can find and retain, in all departments and locations (assembly, freight, driving, office, clerical, sales, machine, welding)
- Purchase more lathes and mills to expand machine shop
- Brought on outside several vendors to help us manufacture/machine parts
- Buy a 2nd building to house just our weld department
- Buy 3 robotic welders to improve productivity
- Unprecedented and rigorous capital asset expenditures
- MRP/ERP investments and upgrades
- Streamline production methods by redesigning parts, incorporating superior manufacturing techniques, and discontinuing items that don’t sell very well.
- Re-engineering legacy parts to improve production through-put.
- Minimizing new product to focus on the delivery of the product already on demand
With that being said, we are seeing extremely positive results that we are going the right direction because we are shipping out more product every week than we ever have, and still have capability to grow even more as we get more labor and equipment. Can’t say there’s quite light at the end of the tunnel, but we know we are on the correct tracks and picking up speed in the direction that we know there is certainly light.
If you have questions concerning lead times for products that you would like to order or to follow up on an existing order, please send us an email at email@example.com. This is going to ensure the quickest and most accurate response.
With that, I thank you for your business and patience in this current product delay situation that is affecting pretty much all industries in our nation.