In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought many industries across the nation to a grinding halt. Unfortunately, the HVAC industry was not an exception. As facilities shut down, so did the production of HVAC equipment. As a result, there is currently a shortage in the number of products readily available, versus the demand. And, as more people are entrusting the air they breathe to specialty products, such as advanced filtration and other indoor air quality devices, it becomes more difficult for contractors to meet customer needs in as timely a fashion as pre-pandemic.
As HVAC contractors face shortages of supplies, as well as a decreased workforce, it is important for consumers to understand some fundamentals regarding the effect COVID-19 has had on the HVAC industry, and what it means for them. In this article, we will discuss the disruption in the supply chain, how this has impacted our company, and ultimately, how it may affect you as a valued customer.
What’s causing a disruption in the supply chain?
First and foremost, it’s important to note that the production of HVAC equipment was halted for a significant period of time when the pandemic caused shut-downs at most of the manufacturing facilities that build HVAC equipment, including furnaces, air conditioners, and ductless products. By the time the manufacturing facilities could reopen, there was an unequal balance between supply and demand for HVAC equipment.
Another problem is that there are components (such as computer chips) that are used in the production of HVAC equipment, that are also in short supply. The chip shortage is on a global scale and affects many different industries aside from HVAC, including the automobile and electronics industry. As a result, the price of these products has had to increase, of course placing the burden on the contractor and the end consumer.
Finally, while most manufacturing facilities have reopened, like many other industries they are facing a shortage of workers, which has slowed the production of HVAC equipment down. Additionally, the trucking industry is also dealing with a lack of workers, causing backlogged shipping ports, and an increase in shipping times. It is, however, important to note that many HVAC distributors are doing all that they can to keep up with the demand. An article in ACHR News indicated that most distributors are “carrying well over normal levels [of product], just to make sure that they’ll have products as demand continues to rise.”
How is T.F. O’Brien handling the lack of supply?
Obviously, T.F. O’Brien has not been immune to the lack of equipment, or the reality of a decreased workforce. However, we have worked diligently to maintain great relationships with our suppliers. Because of the mutual trust and consideration we hold with them, we have been able to keep inventory on equipment and materials and minimize price increases for our customers. While there is no possible way to avoid some of the associated costs incurred, we are doing all that we can to keep these increases manageable.
Additionally, we have been working diligently to maintain, and increase, the team at T.F. O’Brien. As we mentioned above, in addition to a shortage in products across the board, there has also been a shortage in manpower. It’s been a priority for us to hire and maintain a qualified workforce so that there will be minimal downtime for our customers, and their needs will be met as promptly as possible.
Can I still rely on T.F. O’Brien to meet my needs?
At T.F. O’Brien, we are truly committed to providing our customers with the products and services they need, in as timely a fashion as possible. While the increased cost of HVAC equipment is, unfortunately, an unavoidable truth, we will, as always, continue to work to ensure that our customers are offered any rebate and incentive opportunities available. And, we will continue to employ highly skilled HVAC technicians in order to provide you with the best possible experience.
We are here to serve you and provide you with the excellent products and services you deserve, and we appreciate your patience and support as we navigate this shortage. If you have any questions regarding the equipment shortage, and how this might impact you, please feel free to contact T.F. O’Brien at (516) 488-1800. We will be happy to discuss this with you.