Supply Chain Woes are Here for the Foreseeable Future: Here's the Rundown!
Covid-19 has brought about some serious issues to our everyday lives – health concerns, shutdowns, labor, and supply chain horrors. While some of these issues are getting better, supply chain woes continue to be an issue and will be for some time to come in the outdoor industry.
When Covid hit in 2020, the supply chain for outdoor recreational orientated products was in pretty good shape as inventory was available, prices were stable and the outlook was good. Nobody could even imagine the storm that was brewing and headed our way as the Covid pandemic began to affect every aspect of our daily lives. The outdoor industry saw increased participation as people were looking for activities that kept their minds at ease and lessened the chances of infection with Covid. As a result, inventory was getting snatched up at record paces all over the Nation.
2021 saw the boom in outdoor recreation continue and quickly depleted fragile inventory stocks and with the labor issues, getting restocked was a problem. The year was basically a mess from top to bottom and it seemed as though as one area was stabilized; other areas became a problem. There was no question that vendors were having a hard time getting caught up but we could see that these issues were improving as we approached the 4th quarter. Some areas never could get caught up and as a result, the prices of these items started to see a noticeable increase. Ammunition, premium knives, and fishing-related gear fit squarely in this latter category.
As we enter into 2022, we all know that prices are increasing at alarming rates. On top of those, we are beginning to experience an entirely new set of problems – trucking. Simply put, this year is setting up to be just as chaotic as 2021 but with much higher retail prices. Trucking companies are short-staffed and demand for their services is at an all-time high. As a result, freight rates are through the proverbial roof, and even worse, it is incredibly difficult for trucking companies to justify trips to Wyoming due to the lack of backhaul opportunities. Production problems are persisting with vendors as well, so we fully expect more of the same even though everyone is working as hard as ever to “right the ship”.
Many are probably wondering, “when will this end, and what is the end effect going to be?” To be quite frank, time will settle this out but it is going to take years. Vendors are openly telling us that their supply chain issues will not be completely solved until a minimum of 2024 and that is as long as the world deals with the Covid epidemic in a way that opens production back up and that the labor participation rates reach pre-pandemic levels. With that being said, here are the things that will continue to see chaotic activity in 2022 and beyond:
- Fly fishing patterns
- Fishing lures and terminal tackle
- Fishing rods – both conventional and fly fishing
- Knives and multi-tools
The simple takeaway of this is to not wait if you can spare the expense for something that is in stock. It is only a matter of time before your sought-after outdoor goods become even more expensive due to the slow supply and consequently high demand. Also, be prepared to go to option B or C because option A may not be readily available. Spend time in your local fly and outdoor shops to understand where their orders stand and get your name placed on the waiting list for specific products because the early bird will get the worm in this game. Finally, everyone needs to just take a step back and realize that we are all in this together and we all want Covid behind us. Nobody likes the stress and not knowing what tomorrow is going to bring, but only through a calm and collective approach will this series of unfortunate events get behind us. Tight lines!
- Ron Hansen