Manufacturer, including

Whirlpool Corp.

RHM – 4.89%.


Polaris Inc.

IIP -0.83%.

stated that their ability to meet the growing demand for their products continues to be hampered by shortages in supplies and safety measures to protect workers in the event of a coronavirus pandemic.

People are buying durable goods such as fitness equipment, boats and camping gear at record prices. Manufacturers are generally increasing production to meet this demand. But doing business during a pandemic remains difficult, companies said in recent quarterly reports.

Many manufacturers are still experiencing inventory shortages as a result of last spring’s plant closures. In addition, measures to combat the spread of Covid-19, such as increasing space between workers, are weighing on production. As a result, production backlogs reached a record two and a half years last December, according to the Supply Management Institute.

Along the entire supply chain, from ports to warehouses to factories, delays are occurring, resulting in higher costs. “You see logistics costs going up, freight costs going up, air freight costs going up,” said the CEO of 3M Co.

Mike Roman

Said in the interview.

Whirlpool said Wednesday that adding space between employees has delayed the release of units. executive director

Mark Bitzer

said that Whirlpool’s suppliers are going through the same thing. The company said there will be a shortage of certain equipment at least until mid-2021.

“As long as Covid is there, we have to take care of it,” Bitzer said in an interview.

Absenteeism of workers exposed to the virus or caring for family members also slows production. Painters

PPG Industries Inc.

said earlier this month that some customers are assembling fewer cars due to labor problems and a shortage of semiconductors.

Director General

Michael McGarry

told analysts that an automaker had temporarily closed a paint shop because of a pandemic-related staff shortage. PPG sent its own staff to support the operation, he said.

Some companies that primarily sell products to other companies also face supply chain and production issues.

Boeing Co.

which reported a record annual loss Wednesday, received $275 million in the last quarter for production problems with its military tanker aircraft that it said were related to the pandemic.

Caterpillar Inc.

said Friday that it is keeping spare parts in surplus to prevent breakdowns and prepare for increased demand.

Arbeiter im Corning Sullivan Park Science and Technology Center à Corning, N.Y.


Victor J. Bloomberg News

Production problems in some companies have created opportunities for others.

Corning Inc.

explained that the supply of display glass was already tight when the Japanese competitor suffered a power outage in December. “It turned everything upside down,” the executive said.

Wendell’s Weeks

analysts said on Wednesday. Corning said it raised prices and booked additional sales.

Loudon, Tenn.

Malibu Boats Inc.

added about 200 workers to boost sales of boats, which hit a 13-year high last year for the industry as a whole, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association trade group. But a shortage of parts for outboard motors and windshields has made it difficult to build more boats, the director general said.

Jack Springer.


“The supply chain is in trouble,” he said.

Polaris, the manufacturer of boats, motorcycles and snowmobiles, said it added 700,000 new customers last year, including younger and more diverse customers that the company has been pursuing for years.

But production is behind schedule. Polaris is considering introducing a third shift in some plants and has also recruited staff from suppliers to help them solve their production problems.

“We could have added other options,” the interim CEO said.

Michael Spitzen.

“Given what’s going on in our supply and logistics, I don’t know if we can produce more and more efficiently.”

Even when supplies are available, it has become more expensive for some to buy them. Glissen Chemical Co. ordered a three-year supply of lids for its 1-gallon jugs of liquid detergent after suppliers said orders could take six months or longer.

“The ceiling could bankrupt me,” said Richard Knoop, executive vice president of Glissen.

The additional cap came in last fall, securing capital and space at the company’s Brooklyn plant. Mr. Knoop said it was better than running out.

“Capsules have no expiration date,” he said.

Email Austin Hufford at [email protected].

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