KOLD Investigates: Local Impact of Supply Chain Crisis

KOLD News 10-10:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 10:37 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Supply chain issues, low inventory and high demand have led to many people trying to get their holiday shopping wrapped up early.

According to a new bankrate.com report, 77% of people across the country are experiencing holiday shopping problems.

The report found 55% of people said they were seeing higher prices than usual while 47% of people said the items they wanted were out of stock or backordered. The report found 35% noted shipping delays.

Experts said the day after Thanksgiving could be more like bleak Friday.

Steve Lewis owns Arizona Glass Repair in Tucson and said as a classic car enthusiast himself, he loves when customers bring him a class car.

“Seeing a job when it is finished on the old car is very rewarding. And the people that I meet in the old car circles are just fantastic,” Lewis said.

Lewis turned his passion into his career 34 years ago.

“It’s relaxing to me to be able to get in my shop and do the work, restore all of the windows and put new pieces back on them and everything,” Lewis said.

However, Lewis said some restorations as of late have taken longer than they should due to supply chain issues.

“There’s been several cases where stuff is on backorder and it’s not available right now,” Lewis said.

Lewis said he is not just having trouble getting parts for classic cars.

“One of them is a late model Chevy truck which is one of the most popular windshields out there. I called my supplier one day and he said I don’t have any, I can’t get any right now and it will be a couple of weeks before I do have some,” Lewis said.

Backorders and low inventory have forced him to pass up on some jobs all together.

“I had a trucking company call me up. He had three trucks he needed windshields in. I called my suppliers up and they are not available. So, I called the Peterbilt dealership directly and they said there is a national backorder, and they didn’t know when they would have them in,” Lewis said.

Ken Gyure is a lecturer in operations and supply chain at the University of Arizona.

He said he is not sure of any industries that have not been impacted the the global supply chain problems.

“You name it, there’s a shortage,” Gyure said. “It’s been caused by everything from the pandemic, to environmental, You know we had a bad winter last winter in the south in Texas. The beef industry was shut down for a period of time because of ransomware.”

Gyure said he saw red flags last year when news broke of a chip shortage.

“I would have thought that would be maybe four or five months of a slowdown for automakers and the chips would start flowing again,” Gyure said.

Unfortunately, the chip shortage has continued to drag on, though just last week, chip manufacturer GlobalFoundries announced a collaboration with Ford Motor Company to “boost chip supplies for Ford and the U.S. Automotive industry.”

“The biggest problem right now is a toss-up between labor and transportation,” Gyure said.

Plus, he said people are not headed back to work.

It’s a statement backed up by the latest data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics which shows 10.4 million job openings on the last business day of September, and a record 4.4 million people quit their jobs.

While experts disagree on when this supply-chain crisis will end, Gyure offered his prediction.

“I think next year you are going to start to see things ease up a little bit; it just takes time. This didn’t start a few months ago, this started a year and a half ago and it just became where it’s at it today,” Gyure said.

A prediction that gives small business owners like Lewis, the hope they need to remain patient.

“I’m an optimist. These companies will come through this as materials become available and time goes on,” Lewis said.

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