Home remodeling companies have recently been faced with an unprecedented issue: widespread delays or backorders of raw materials for home projects. Across the industry, contractors big and small have experienced instances of extended lead times from suppliers.
Window manufacturers have notably been one of the most prominently affected. This is due to the delay in glass and vinyl extrusions. Industrywide, contractors typically rely on many of the same materials providers. For windows, PPG is the main glass manufacturer that is shared among the vast majority of window suppliers. Furthermore, vinyl window manufacturers compile their products using materials from 2-3 different suppliers which expands the supply chain and, in turn, compounds the delay in lead times for contractors. Additionally, window suppliers are experiencing record-level customer demand due to the backlog created by the COVID-19 shutdowns. Interruptions in supplier operations coupled with this heightened demand is putting a big strain on our manufacturers for the assembly and production of windows.
As of early Fall 2020, home remodelers across the industry are finding that lead times for retrieving window products is about 16 weeks. Director of Installations at Nu Look, Michael Catalano shares, “It’s been extremely challenging to predict lead times. Production is doing everything possible to navigate these challenges and the team is dedicated to keeping in constant communication to provide our customers with updates.” On the supplier side, Nu Look’s ABC Supply Co. representative Mitchell Cook states, “I think manufacturers are trying to figure out how long this demand will last before they try to expand capacity and bring on more people. I think we have a lot to learn this winter in terms of how things will trend towards normal.”
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the home remodeling industry has been tasked with changing the way we operate to ensure the safety and health of employees and customers. While many companies like Nu Look Home Design are taking proactive measures to strengthen our supply chain and operational backup systems to minimize any impact, the widespread labor shortage and interruptions in production will likely take time to fully unfold. In the meantime, we are grateful to our customers for their patience and understanding.
Planning Ahead is Key
Taking all of this into consideration, customers should plan ahead and continuously evaluate the impact that potential delays in starting their home project could have. Instead of waiting until a home project could possibly become a necessity rather than a pre-emptive home maintenance task, homeowners should determine a strategic timeline to ensure the comfort and safety of household members as we approach winter.