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Local supply chain expert weighs in on supply chain issues

PEORIA (WEEK) — Nationwide, consumers are seeing shortages of almost everything, from food to cars and even home improvement.

Peoria home improvement contractor Randy Connor said his work is harder now because materials are often not available or too expensive.

“There’s just certain things you can’t come across anymore,” Connor said.

“Or you have to wait several months to get them,” he continued.

“A lot of flooring products and stuff like that. Last week, I went to get a can of spray paint, the shelves were almost bare, I couldn’t get the spray paint I needed.”

He said his clients have to find alternative materials.

“Decks earlier this year was almost impossible to build this year for anybody,” Connor said.

“The materials skyrocketed and people couldn’t afford it. Concrete was cheaper than putting a wood deck in for people,” he added.

Connor said he often has to delay his projects or raise his prices. He said the costs have jumped about 50%.

“If it was a 500 dollar project in materials, it’s probably going to be close to $1,500 this year,” Connor said.

Daniel Stanton is a affiliate instructor at Bradley University and a supply chain executive.

Stanton said the supply chain issues is not a shortage. He said people are buying more than what could be produced during the pandemic.

“We’re buying so much and we’re moving so much and we have those bullwhips moving through the system and now we’re really starting to see where are the capacity constraints,” Stanton said.

Stanton calls it a bullwhip effect, where consumers buy more, draining retailers’ inventory, who then order more from manufacturers.

He said those shipments have been increasingly slow due to delays at the port of Los Angeles, where 40% of the nation’s imports come through.

Stanton said the longer inventory sit in ports, the more it costs for retailers, which explains the spike in prices.

“The more it’s costing all of those companies to do their work, sooner or later, those costs have to flow through to the consumer.”

Stanton recommends consumers and business either find alternative ways to shop or be willing to wait for inventory to return to normal.

“Come January, February, March, all of those products will be making their way finally to the stores,” Stanton said.