7 products that have been disrupted locally by the global supply chain chaos

·4 min read
There is a shortage in everything from toys to cars to couches. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit)
There is a shortage in everything from toys to cars to couches. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit)

There's been shortages of pretty near everything, everywhere this year. It's no different on P.E.I.

COVID-19 has triggered a series of circumstances which have wreaked havoc all across global supply chains, causing everything from transportation bottlenecks, to labour disruptions and scarcity of materials.

The effects are far-reaching — and you might have noticed some during your last visit to the local store.

Here's a list of some products whose supply has been disrupted on the Island by what's been happening elsewhere in the world.

Furniture and appliances

Patty Chan/Shutterstock
Patty Chan/Shutterstock

Islanders still waiting for their furniture to ship won't be able to do much but sit on their hands for a while longer.

Franklin MacDonald, one of the owners of M&M Furniture, says that there are long waitlists for a lot of his products.

"Most of the upholstery comes from overseas and there's shipping issues," he said, adding that some textile manufacturing plants in other parts of the world have had to shut down amid COVID-19.

He said that for La-Z-Boy products, wait times could be longer than a year. For most Canadian furniture, the wait ranges from three to six months.

Appliances, in the meantime, continue to be in short supply, as are a lot of products which use microchips to function due to the global shortage that's impacted the semiconductor industry from the beginning of the pandemic.

MacDonald said people could be waiting from two to eight months to get their appliances.

Two other stores on the Island said they have longer than usual backlogs for some of their furniture and appliances, though wait times vary from product to product.

Cars

Getty Images
Getty Images

The demand for both new and used cars has been red hot on the Island this year, exacerbating the inventory problems caused by the supply chain bottlenecks.

For new cars, the microchip shortage has caused severe delays at assembly lines across the world.

"We've been pretty lucky up until three or four weeks ago," Tammy Roach, general manager at Charlottetown Mitsubishi said recently.

Roach said people could be waiting a couple of months before their new car arrives.

Toys and video game consoles

Nicola MacLeod/CBC
Nicola MacLeod/CBC

Getting the perfect gift for your child may be a bit more difficult this December.

Nicole Balderston at the Owl's Hollow toy store in Charlottetown said that she's been having to order products earlier than she'd usually have to ahead of the holiday season.

She said that most of the inventory problems are due to the transportation bottlenecks in the U.S.

Balderston said one of her main suppliers, which is based in Europe, has been dealing with disruptions since the pandemic began.

"Ever since COVID started, they've been in short supply. We did get one order in for the rest of the year, but we won't get any more until 2022," she said.

Meanwhile, the shortage for the latest generation of video game consoles, which has plagued the industry throughout the pandemic, continues.

EB Games in Charlottetown stopped maintaining waitlists for the PlayStation 5 a while ago due to the supply issues. And while Toys R' Us did have the Nintendo Switch in stock, they were out of PS5s.

Though both stores still get the consoles on occasion, they don't know when they'll get the shipments. The same restock delays have occured for the Xbox Series X as well.

Flowers

Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press
Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press

A flower shortage, which has been reported elsewhere during recent months, seems to have affected Island florists somewhat.

Carina Phillips of the Country Garden Florist shop in Montague said she's heard one of her main suppliers has been having some issues.

"My wholesaler says he'd order 20 cages of something and only get five," she said.

Phillips said poor weather in South and Central America, major flower-exporting regions, have led to poor growing conditions for flower farms.

She said she tries to source most of her flowers locally, so she's been mostly unaffected by the shortages overseas.

Three other P.E.I. florists said their suppliers have also dealt with some problems, though the impact on their business varies. At Flower Buds Florists, for example, they've only noticed a very slight increase in pricing recently.

Construction materials

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

The Construction Association of P.E.I. said a lot of its members are still having trouble finding materials in stock anywhere.

"There's probably more challenges than what we really realized," said Sam Sanderson, the association's general manager.

"You're looking at various types of insulation, pipes, you know, electronics, controls, doors, windows, storm doors."

Sanderson said some of his members are facing wait times of up to 16 weeks for some materials, which is certainly causing delays for a lot of projects.

"Unfortunately it's a spiral effect," he said. "Any kind of delay, you know, based on materials or labour shortages, it all creates long-term [setbacks]."

Still, the material supply crunch hasn't put a damper on what's been a year of skyrocketing growth for the construction sector on P.E.I. — and Sanderson said demand is only increasing.

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