Article By Patrick Dunning, Associate Editor, Power Equipment Trade
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Dealers React: State Of The Supply Chain
“The way things appear right now, it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” says Alex Drzewiecki, general manager, Southside Mower, regarding ongoing supply chain constraints and showroom availability at their store’s Tallahassee, Fla. location.
Power equipment dealers across the country have struggled to fill customer orders the past two years, and distributors are forecasting 2022 will be another tough year of physical shortages and backlogs for OEM equipment and parts.
“I can’t tell you a manufacturer with a full parts inventory right now to fill our orders. We’ve faced a severe lack of equipment but the end of 2021, beginning of 2022 is definitely as bad as it has been,” Drzewiecki notes. “We’re anticipating a lack of product overall. Don’t think we’ll be able to meet consumer demand based on what seems like available inventory and comparing that with notes from our brands and letters from corporate anticipating delays and sourcing issues.”
Southside Mower has maintained a limited variety but decent inventory of Stihl, Gravely, Husqvarna and Exmark products and in most cases able to provide for its customers. Fill-rates for wholegoods and repairs have remained near 85%.
“There’s open back orders from every distributor we buy from. We had mowers eight to ten months out waiting on a single part. Kawasaki doesn’t have oil filters right now; we finally received nineteen belts for our Exmark 60 in. Lazer zero-turns that we’d been out of for months,” Drzewiecki adds. “It may not be exactly what the customer is looking for but we’ve been able to provide in most cases.”
Stark Streak Home and Garden has five locations in the Portland-metro area and one four hours south in Bend, Ore. Kenny Sherman, sales associate, says the company’s size has helped with keeping equipment inventory but that some brands are worse than others and commercial products have gone MIA compared to residential.
“We have a fair amount of residential mowers right now but how that changes as we start getting into the selling season is yet to be seen. Some brands are tough because if the products aren’t paid for they won’t ship it,” Sherman says. “Honda’s generators and commercial 21 in. mowers have been limited but wholegoods are doing an okay job. Definitely not desirable because our customers are having to pick and choose certain models instead of honing in on one model and having to call for availability at that point. Definitely not a world where its whatever the customer wants.”
Stark Streak is filling 50% of orders right now and its vendors expect supply constraints to continue into 2023.
“I think now we are feeling the full brunt of supply constraints right now. When it started it wasn’t bad because there was still a fair amount of equipment out there but all of that was gobbled up in 2021,” Sherman laments. “2021 was a good year for us personally, it definitely had its challenges but 2022 feels like it will be the toughest year equipment availability wise.”
Southeast Mower in Waycross, Ga. seems a bit more optimistic in its view of 2022’s approaching busy season. Aren Lloyd is a new part owner at his grandfather’s dealership as of four months ago and says despite some minor delays they’ve been able to get parts and haven’t had many issues.
“I jumped in four months ago because I saw an opportunity to work alongside my grandpa. It’s a good industry to get into and my grandpa has done really well,” the 24-year-old says. “Dixie Chopper mowers and our Husqvarna line orders have been delayed some. Scag mowers have been shipping pretty quick, though. Sometimes it takes longer than expected to get parts but we’ve been able to obtain a lot of the things we’re looking for. We try to stay stocked up and order a few things at a time. No huge orders.”
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