Manufacturers are in great demand – the challenge is to meet them amid supply chain problems and higher costs



For Carhartt customers, the shortage of supply means some products, including the classic beanie, will be hard to come by this Christmas season. Hence, the company offers different styles, emphasizing gift cards so that customers can get what they want later when the demand is less insane.

Customers browsing the toy shelves at Walmart, Meijer, and other major retailers should still find American Plastic Toys trucks, but they can pay more along with the other products.

“From my point of view, I do not see inflation as temporary,” said Gessert. “I see it as something that will last at least a while, because between the cost of materials, labor and transportation, items that we used to sell for $ 20 or $ 25 are now $ 30 or $ 35 or even $ 40, depending.”

Inflation has been the talk of the town economists and financial experts in the United States for the past few months. It’s a core concern for Michigan consumers and businesses amid the pre-Christmas supply chain nightmare.

Some have acted better than others. Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool turned the challenges into a tidy profit, with third-quarter revenue of $ 5.5 billion, up 4 percent from last year when demand for home appliances skyrocketed. Gross margin was on a par with last year – $ 1.1 billion, despite the cost of products sold increasing by $ 237 million, the company reported.

The negative impact of raw material price increases, particularly steel and resins, were “fully offset by our combined price mix and net cost measures,” said Whirlpool CFO James Peters on the Whirlpool conference call.

“Today we operate in an environment of supply constraints and inflation that is adversely affecting most industries worldwide,” said Marc Bitzer, Chairman and CEO of Whirlpool. “Still, we are on the right track (for a) record year.”

At La-Z-Boy, based in Monroe, executives are asking customers to weather the supply chain storm hand in hand with the furniture maker.

“Given the unprecedented nature of rising material costs, we ask our business partners to participate in the financial repercussions at a time when we are all experiencing record demand,” said President and CEO Melinda Whittington during an investor meeting in August.

The waiting times for La-Z-Boy armchairs and other products have been extended to seven months, according to the company, which responded by stocking up on “key components” in order to maintain the flow of furniture and minimize disruptions. Product prices were also increased several times in the past year.

Passing on costs has not harmed the business. La-Z-Boy reported record profits and sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, which ended April 24, with gross profits of $ 222 million on sales of $ 519.4 million compared to 171 , $ 1 million in gross income on sales of $ 367.3 million for the same period last year.

Zeeland-based furniture maker MillerKnoll, which changed its name from Herman Miller after taking over Knoll Inc. in the spring, was hit hard by the pandemic – especially its office furniture segment. Although the company saw a $ 30 million decline in sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2022 due to supply chain issues, it was for some despite rising orders due to the return to the office. It also raised prices.

“It is no secret. We are feeling the effects of inflationary pressures in business. We expect the commodity pressure to appear sequentially from the 4th to the 1st telephone call with investors in June. “We feel that in the area of ​​direct labor costs, like so many companies.”

Masco, based in Livonia, which supplies Behr paints to Home Depot and other wholesale customers, is another company in the Detroit metropolitan area that has successfully passed on price increases. While the result was affected by the shortage of supply, it showed late last month that strong demand more than made up for it.

Toy maker Gessert said he wondered how long the demand will last – and if he can hire enough people to capitalize on it before it’s gone.

“We could have had a really phenomenal year,” he said.



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