I'm not allowed to use our washing machine, since my wife (correctly) doesn't trust me to handle clothes with the proper water temperature and dryer settings.
But ever since our fairly new Maytag decided that it would be a fun joke to start a washing cycle, then turn off when it got to the rinse mode, Laurel hasn't been able to use the washing machine either.
She searched our files and found that, as she remembered, we did indeed buy an extended warranty from Kelly's. Sweet, we thought. It wasn't hard to find the "Parts and Service" page on the Kelly's web site.
Which had some optimistic language.
Appliance Hospital is family owned and operated since 1947, Appliance & Refrigeration Hospital is dedicated to providing HONEST, REASONABLE, RELIABLE and REPUTABLE service to our customers in the Seattle, Spokane, Portland, Vancouver, Salem, and Bend areas.
...Our service vehicles stock a large array of factory recommended parts and equipment to quickly return your product to top operating performance.
Please give our knowledgeable, courteous service professionals an opportunity to restore your product to its proper operation. You can count on us!
Likely Appliance Hospital usually does live up to its claim that they can quickly handle a repair. It did take five days for a repairman to show up, but that was fine.
Laurel had gone to a laundromat in the meantime. Not fun, but tolerable given that we expected our washing machine to be fixed promptly.
However, the repair guy said it needed a circuit board. They didn't have one in stock. He said to wait three days, then see if the circuit board was available. Unfortunately, when Laurel phoned she was told that the part had been ordered. No word on when it would come in.
So now we're stuck with an American-made Maytag washer that's unusable for an indefinite future. There's no way to tell whether the laundromat will be Laurel's not-so-favorite hangout for another few days, few weeks, or few months.
Almost certainly we're a victim of the Supply Chain Hell that has been causing so much disruption.
I'm sure circuit boards are complex. Probably even though Maytag washing machines are made in this country, many or most of the parts for them come from China or somewhere other than the United States.
A neighbor Laurel encountered on a walk said that he's been waiting quite a while for a dishwasher part. He's been washing dishes by hand, something that's a lot tougher to do with clothes. His HVAC upgrade also is on hold due to a lack of materials.
President Biden is working to get our supply chains functioning like they used to. But there's only so much he can do, since mostly this is in the hands of private businesses.
It's just aggravating for so many people to be impacted by shortages when the economy otherwise is doing well.
I'll copy in a message I got recently from the person in charge of a Kickstarter project I helped fund, being attracted to the lightweight shoes promised by the project. This guy tells a fascinating story of what it's like for a small business owner in these days of supply chain problems.
The following is a summary of what are the supply issues affecting the market and in particular the footwear market. The following information was collected from different sources but mainly from the Footwear News Corporation (https://footwearnews.com/) but all of the information is available online.
Last year around March when the Great Plague was upon us, nearly every industry, in nearly every country in the world, practically shut down.
And many businesses went bust, never to return.
Eighteen months later the businesses that survived have largely reopened but the reboot process has been riddled with critical errors and system failures.
For example, right now there are countless businesses in industries from retail to manufacturing that are experiencing severe labor shortages. Supply chains around the world are breaking down, resulting in product shortages and major transportation bottlenecks.
The end result of this dumpster fire is that prices are soaring. And I wanted to take this opportunity to connect some of the dots to help explain some of these important trends with regards to the delivery of the Sockwa X10 product.
So let’s revisit March 2020 again when everything shut down. You probably recall that dozens of large companies declared bankruptcy, like Nieman Marcus, GNC, JC Penny, etc.
But there were other companies that went bust which most people have probably never heard of. They were in more mundane, less sexy industries… like manufacturing...the closure of these unsexy industries created supplier shortages. Though their demise was hardly noticed, it turns out they would have a significant impact on the global economy.
Supply has fallen. Last March when a large number of manufacturers went out of business, no one noticed and no one cared. And this production capacity cannot be simply turned on again with a flip of a switch. It takes a lot of effort to resurrect a bankrupt factory, to re-hire and re-train workers.
This trend is worldwide -- even foreign factories (Chinese) have closed, and those that remain open are struggling to retain workers and operate under strict COVID protocols. Manufacturing efficiency is way down as a result, so they’re not producing enough supply to keep up with demand and the big companies like Nike and Adidas are gobbling up whatever capacity any footwear manufacturer that is still in business can offer. Not much production room for the little guys!
Then there are the actual shipping problems:
Shipping Container Pricing -- shipping container prices have exploded. From March 2020 up to March 2021 a 40ft container could be purchased for +/- $2,500-$3,000. Today's opening price is $25,000 - $30,000 per container and there is still no guarantee that you will win the price auction on those containers available. This increase in price means that shipping your product is now 6-10x more expensive than estimated depending on the size of the product. We estimated $5 which was realistic when we launched, now we are over $30 to ship the same product.
Shipping Delays -- then there are the crazy delays evident in almost every port in the world, that prevent container ships from delivering their cargo.
A range of factors, including COVID rules and union regulations, means there’s a shortage of maritime crew to operate the vessels. There’s also a shortage of dockworkers, truck drivers, forklift operators, etc. at the ports.
The supply chain chaos has been brewing since the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic and has been building momentum ever since. Industry insiders who have first-hand exposure to its ever-changing variables and reach admit they’ve never seen anything like it before. And these experts remain unclear about when the eye of the current Supply Chain storm may finally pass by the footwear, apparel, and textile industries.
The supply chain, shipping and logistics storm, which has battered many industries since the pandemic commenced, increased in velocity during the Summer of 2021 with container shortages, port logjams, surging shipping costs that have forced some brands to resort to air freight, and finally a shutdown of key Asian sourcing factories due to virus spread among workers in Asia.
These factors will result in shipping delays for holiday 2021 and Spring/Summer 2022, late and/or limited deliveries to retailers, possible product shortages on key items and higher costs for consumers looking to snare the season’s hottest products.
Athletic giants Nike and Adidas are not going unscathed by the situation. Like the Sockwa X10, Nike & Adidas are facing problems beyond securing higher-priced container space on shipping vessels.
Crocs’ McNelly sums up the harsh realities of today’s logistics and supply chain climate. “[Vendors] are paying more for less — for less predictability, less space and less movement,” she says, predicting “it’s going to take a long time to get back to the new normal.”
I appreciate that there are some individual pledgers that are not at all happy with me for not communicating more, not producing a survey that collects your size and your address and yes I am late in delivering the product that you pledged for. I honestly did not foresee the gravity of the above global production and shipping issues when I launched the Sockwa X10 campaign.
I believe that everyone who pledged for the Sockwa X10 understands or has access to information about what has happened since March 2020 and what is happening in the world right now.
So where does the above leave us now regarding the Sockwa X10 crowdfunding campaign?
Production: 75% of the order is ready to ship, we are just waiting for the insoles to come out of production which should now be within the next two weeks (we have had production delays for this factory too).
Shipping: As the price of shipping has increased x10 since we launched the campaign, there are two choices. One is to add an additional $25 to each pair shipped or to wait for the shipping container prices to get back to the levels or similar on which the campaign was launched. For those that ordered more than one pair, the shipping price of extra $25/pair would reduce for the 2nd, 3rd pair etc.
I have been holding off on sending the survey in the past couple of weeks as I tried to work out how to present this extra shipping scenario in the pledge management software and also crossing my fingers that there might be some sign that shipping container prices stop increasing - I am still working on the survey presentation presently.
Nobody is or was prepared for what is happening regarding these shipping costs and shipping problems, never mind the production issues.
I still need to know sizes, delivery addresses etc because I need to know how much textile to produce for the remaining 25% of the orders.
I will try my best to either complete the pledge management survey in the next few days or find a way of getting people to enter their details onto our Shopify website. Worst case scenario, I can get you to email me the details.
I am very sorry guys, I'm 54 years old and I have been managing my own businesses for the past 21 years and before that I ran other peoples' businesses for 10 years and I have never experienced anything vaguely close to what has happened since February/March 2021.
I appreciate that there are companies that have $millions more revenue than mine that have gone bust in the past 18 months but that doesn't help me sleep every night. My company has not gone bust and I still intend to supply everyone who pledged with their product order.
Thank you for your understanding. I know the above is not what anyone wants to read but it is a reality. I will update again before the end of this month. Hopefully, I will have some better news to provide.