A faster-than-expected recovery in US production has led to supply disruptions and higher costs for materials used in products that meet increased demand.
Prices of steel, aluminum, timber and other materials are rising in response to higher volumes. Supply chains are already clogged with orders, prompting some manufacturers to add weekends and overtime for employees. Orders that took one or two weeks to complete in the summer now require six to eight weeks, according to manufacturers, which deal with extended waiting times for major deliveries.
“Lack of availability is what kills you,” said Mark Verhain, president of Church Metal Spinning Co., a Milwaukee-based manufacturer of steel parts for large industrial engines. “If you can̵
When many factories stopped for more than a month last spring to limit the spread of the coronavirus, industrial production also fell. Inventories evaporated and suppliers were wary of increasing production during the expected slow recovery of production in the US economy, which entered a recession in February. But demand for durable goods rose in late summer and picked up speed in the fall, even as Covid-19 infections jumped to record levels.