Your behavior appears to be a little unusual. Please verify that you are not a bot.


Supply chain issues causing waiting game for producers, dealers

By |  October 4, 2021
Several factors have cause drastic delays in the supply chain, in turn causing those throughout the aggregates industry to revisit their buying habits. Photo: wolv/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Several factors have cause drastic delays in the supply chain, in turn causing those throughout the aggregates industry to revisit their buying habits. Photo: wolv/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Clay Albright typically waits until the end of the year to take stock of Caldwell Stone Co.’s needs and make equipment purchases.

However, facing a substantial price increase on tires, Albright was forced to adjust his buying game plan this summer.

“We ordered quite a [lot] of tires [in July] because there was going to be a pretty drastic [price] increase in August,” says Albright, assistant quarry manager at Caldwell Stone, a Kentucky-based crushed stone producer. “I spent a bit more this summer to beat that because I knew we’ll buy some spares and I knew we will ultimately need them. They’re never going to get cheaper, so you go ahead and buy them when you can.”

Caldwell Stone is just one of countless companies throughout the aggregate industry making similar adjustments to buying plans. Since the pandemic began, a number of factors have led to sharp spikes in materials pricing, significantly longer lead times and price increases for just about everything else.

In Albright’s case, he’s seen lead times increase on almost every single part the company has. Thankfully, he says these delays have not severely affected business.

“The good thing is we haven’t had a lot of issues as far as not having something already in stock,” Albright says. “[We had orders where] we weren’t concerned it was going to take six months instead of two.”

According to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), one key cause of these delays is the inability to ship products from Asia and Europe. In those places, AGC says shippers can’t get enough containers or berths on container ships to send products to the U.S. Ports are backed up, forcing ships to wait offshore for days before unloading.

Similarly, a shortage of truck drivers and railcars or train crews leaves containers sitting on quays for days longer than usual, AGC says.

Lamenting labor loss

Stone Products, a Canton, Ohio-based equipment dealer, is one example of a supplier feeling the pain the labor shortage is inflicting on the supply chain.

“It’s changed how we do our inventory on some things,” says Tom Kovesci, general manager at Stone Products. “We have to keep more in stock, but then it takes a longer time to get there. It’s really been a challenge. It’s getting worse.

“[The outlook is] not good,” Kovesci adds. “Places are not open because they can’t get people to work. Every place [is] looking for people to work. Everybody’s hiring, nobody wants to work. I don’t understand it. I don’t see it ending anytime soon.”

Kovesci says conveyor belting, head and tail pulleys, steel, bearings, gearboxes and motors are among the equipment most affected. He says lead times tripled on many of the items Stone Products sells.

“We’re not even talking about when somebody needs a part for a crusher or screen,” says Dan Fugate, equipment sales associate at Stone Products. “We’re just talking about inventory stuff. There are parts we’re waiting 24 weeks on for a crusher or a screen.”

Adds Kovesci: “I ordered something in March, and I still don’t know when I’m going to get it.”

Jack Kopanski

About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor for Pit & Quarry and Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or jkopanski@northcoastmedia.net.

Comments are closed