Garage Door Supply Disruptions and Inflation Continue into Summer
The never-ending building supply chain disruptions and record inflation continue as logistic and labor issues persist along with raw material and product shortages. Over the last year or so, these obstacles have significantly impacted garage door supply and availability. There were hopes that during the summer there would be an easing of the pressures in the garage door supply chain, but there are more indications that improvement will be fleeting, and this supply chain could become more disrupted.
The Russian-Ukraine War has impacted an area of the world that supplies a sizeable percent of the world’s metal, which is the primary component in garage doors and openers. There is little indication that the war is waning, and the Russian attempts to blockade the Black Sea and trade routes in and out of Ukraine will continue to negatively affect the steel markets.
The COVID-19 crisis in China has all but shut down most ports, and many of the components used in the manufacturing of openers and remotes come via China. These disruptions are putting heavy pressure on repair and manufacturing parts, and North American manufacturers are working diligently to bring production back to the Americas. This will take time. Additionally, the chemical used in the production of insulated backing for garage doors is being restrained by issues in both China and Ukraine.
Garage Doors are delivered cross-country via enclosed semi-trucks, and frankly, these are very difficult to load, unload, and deliver due to their size. Because of the nature of the loads, there are a limited number of lines that will haul products such as these, and with the pressure on trucking and increased fuel costs, the logistics problem has been exacerbated. Trucks that would normally get delivered in a couple weeks are now taking two and three times longer.
Finally, many manufacturing plants are struggling to ramp up hiring of production workers. This current cycle of the Great Resignation is pressuring all manufacturers to increase production even if the raw materials are not available.
What does this mean for builders and homeowners?
First, many manufacturers are restricting production lines to more base line products and specialty items like décor garage doors, special sized doors, and doors for special circumstances, like high-lift needs, are harder to secure. Builders and homeowners will have to purchase more cookie-cutter products, and in some cases, buildings and designs of structures will have to be modified if high-lift applications are required. Longer-lead times on specialty garage doors and products will require much quicker decisions and garage door buyers may have to settle for what is available.
The service portion of the garage door equation is where it will get real problematic. Homeowners who have older doors and openers that need a specific repair part may be out of luck as supply shelves grow bare. There is a real possibility that garage doors and openers which could have been repaired a couple of years ago, will have to be replaced. Unfortunately, unscrupulous garage door service providers may use that excuse to con unsuspecting homeowners into buying higher-priced products. Homeowners should beware and only hire reputable providers who will search diligently for service parts.
All these issues mean one other thing- much higher prices. Desperate builders and homeowners will pay more to go to the front of the line and in some cases, builders will pre-buy production. At this point, nobody is expecting drops in pricing for raw materials, labor, or logistics.
Currently, the best advice for homeowners with garage doors is to make sure your doors are maintained properly. A properly lubricated, adjusted, and balanced garage door will be less likely to have a part break or panel damaged. Surge protection on garage door motors will prevent opener panel boards from being damaged during Florida’s summer thunderstorm season. Most importantly, you should drive slowly in and out of your garage because crushed panels from a car might be very difficult to replace. Homeowners who take extreme care can avoid most service calls.
Later this summer, you could see a lot of new homes missing garage doors and don’t be surprised if your garage door repairs could take weeks to complete as there are no signs these current supply chain disruptions are about to ease.
Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.