Industry hit by longest appliance delays in 40 years
May 25, 2021
Malcolm Scott, chairman of KBSA’s company, said the majority of device manufacturers are still experiencing delays, causing the longest lead times in 40 years.
Lead times have increased for almost all device brands. In particular, many dishwashing and refrigeration products have lead times of over 14 weeks due to component deficiencies. Premium devices like stovetops and side-by-side cooling can have lead times of up to 20 weeks.
According to Scott, the excessive lead times are due to a number of factors, most notably high customer demand, lack of components, lack of free inventory in the supply chain, and difficulties in increasing production capacity.
Other widespread problems that have also contributed to the delays are freight logistics and transportation issues, lockdown restrictions in different countries, Brexit issues and component shortages in large equipment.
“Factories are still grappling with the complexities of social distancing as they grapple with significant disruptions to component supplies from China and the logistical problems of moving road goods through international zones that are at a total standstill,” says Scott. “Brexit brings with it further problems. The transportation industry has seen tremendous delays in continental and UK ports, putting a strain on even the most organized supply chains. In many cases, transportation costs have more than doubled and price increases are frequent. “
Despite the delays in delivery, well-known appliance brands such as the Whirlpool Group, the BSH Group, Miele, the Electrolux Group and Amica recorded overall sales growth last year. All brands recorded growth of between 5% and 17.5% compared to the previous year. Equipment distributors like AO and Buy It Direct also saw double-digit growth.
Scott said, “The showrooms have opened again to a perfect storm, with a large amount of pent-up consumer demand and significantly less inventory available. Independent electronics retailers with websites and repair facilities that continued to operate during the shutdowns have recognized that consumers need training to anticipate delays or replacements in device selection.
“The good news is that most consumers expect supply problems due to Brexit and Covid. Therefore, in the last few months they have been rather understanding and often accepted everything that is available. However, a long delay in getting a single replacement unit is very different from a long delay in completing a full kitchen project, especially if final payment can be delayed until the units can be assembled. “