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Swimming Pool Supply Chain Broken

This is a hot topic right now. I’m sure some people who work with swimming pools have been able to find everything they need this year, but I don’t know who they are. Maybe we don’t know who they are because they’re quiet. Or, maybe we don’t hear about them because, in 2021, they don’t exist. Everyone who visits a distributor to find what they need for a pool customer walks away empty-handed. Every pool owner who walks into a pool store leaves disappointed due to a broken swimming pool supply chain.

Did Swimming pool industry manufacturers drop the ball?

But it was only supposed to be a chlorine shortage. We’ve heard enough about this, the unexpected growth of the pool industry due to COVID-19, and then the single factory in Louisiana that burned in the aftermath of a hurricane. Unfortunately, that is not the only shortage people are facing. In fact, it seems to be everything to one extent or another.

Broken promises

With that, some companies seem to be more in the crosshairs of angry pool professionals than others. That seems to be directly related to promises of a steady supply despite the odds against it, assurances these manufacturers would not be able to make good on.

A couple has tried to come forth and explain the reasons that they have been unable to deliver. However, a list of excuses offers little solace to service companies or homeowners in need of products for their swimming pools. In the case of the pool tech, this lack of supply is affecting their ability to do business.

They had all winter to prepare!

The truth is that this Shit Show, as our friend Averi likes to call it, is not a swimming pool industry manufacturer f**k up, not entirely anyway. Yes, mistakes and failed guarantees have been made, not by all, but definitely by some. But, those errors have had little bearing on the current swimming pool supply chain issues we face.

photo credit: Robert Tobias

In reality, it’s not just us. I know that knowing that makes about as much difference as a pimple on the ass of a field mouse. But, every U.S. industry is dealing with supply chain problems, and in each, the catalyst is the same pandemic-driven gremlin.

The single thing all manufacturers have in common is a shortage of factory workers. Transportation issues only exacerbate the problem. Unfortunately, experts are predicting that the current labor shortage the U.S. is facing is here to stay. That will, in turn, result in inflation.

There goes the toilet paper again!

According to Business Insider, current product shortages in the U.S. include Computer chips, used cars, rental cars, gas, plastic, oil, truck drivers, Uber & Lyft drivers, houses, vacation rentals, lumber, toilet paper, diapers, tampons, furniture, chicken, bacon, hot dogs, cheese, coffee, seafood, olive oil, chlorine, corn, medical oxygen, labor, and more.

I don’t honestly expect anyone reading this to give a crap that the condiment industry is running out of ketchup. I’m only sharing this because I believe we would have had problems with the supply of chlorine this year, whether the Lake Charles factory had burned or not. It was unavoidable.

Similar article 2021 U.S. Chlorine Shortage

Help Wanted

We can blame the workforce issues all day long, but it doesn’t resolve the problem. Besides, there must have been a point months ago where factories realized they didn’t have enough staff to meet production needs – it would have been better to inform the consumers then.

To manage this cluster f**k, we don’t need the industry manufacturers to explain why there are supply problems ad nauseum. We know there’s a problem; we don’t need excuses; we need product. Right now, the only thing preventing growth in our industry and the growth of our companies is chemicals and equipment not being delivered in sufficient quantity. Without that, we are dead in the water.

Sorry, but there is a nationwide shortage on…

Asking service professionals and builders to be understanding when our customers are not is too heavy an ask. We need the supply issue rectified, and that needs to occur yesterday. Honestly, I don’t care how you plan to fix it. I expect that you already have your best people working on exactly that.

Don’t tell us what you think we want to hear; instead, we need a realistic expectation of when you will resolve this. If you don’t know when you will be up to speed, tell us that. At least we will be able to source a different means. Whatever industry manufacturers come up with, it shouldn’t involve a sudden influx in job seekers because that is unlikely to happen.

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Rudy Stankowitz is a 30-year veteran of the swimming pool industry and President/CEO of Aquatic Facility Training & Consultants

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. John Silvestri

    Great articles Rudy! Thank you for all that you do. I know a lot of your time is spent in making our industry better! Mahalo and Aloha!

    John Gecko pool service

    1. Rudy

      Thank you 🙏 and thank you for reading!

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