inventory and shipping disruptionsThis year has brought us countless issues and changes.  Now it’s time to add two more to the list: blank apparel inventory and shipping disruptions.

Inventory Issues

Since March, apparel factories across the globe have made changes.  For example, some shut down completely, some switched to mask production, and some cut staffing levels due to social distancing guidelines.  The result has been low and out-of-stock inventory levels worldwide.  Most brands have these inventory issues.  Stock comes and goes quickly.  Some items are backordered into the second quarter of 2021.  We have seen this problem since the pandemic started, but it has gotten significantly gotten worse over the last few weeks.

High demand for these hard-to-find garments means finding the exact garments you want may require some sacrifice.  For example, you may need to switch brands, styles, or colors to fulfill your order.  Furthermore, you may need to mix and match different styles to meet your needs.

Our suppliers list estimated restocking dates.  These are ESTIMATES ONLY.  Additionally, we can’t see how many pieces are coming in.  For example, take a garment that is out of stock now, but lists an in-stock date of 12/23.  They may get one case of that item, which could sell out in a few minutes, or 5,000+ of them.  Therefore, speed is necessary to grab these items before they are gone.

If you order a hard-to-find item, paying for that item immediately will raise your chances of getting it.  We don’t order in blank goods until your order is paid for.  Don’t miss out on the chance to get what you want because you delayed payment for hours or days.

Shipping Delays

As if the inventory issues weren’t bad enough, shipping is now an issue too.  Back in March, UPS suspended their guaranteed delivery times.  That means there is nothing that we can do if a package doesn’t arrive on time.  Calling to complain to UPS won’t help.

Recently, you may have read about UPS limiting pickups to major retailers like Nike or Gap.  Our vendors are also being limited in what they can ship.  This means that even if we order before the shipping cutoff time (which supplies have been making earlier each day) and the item is in stock, it still may not ship on time.  Combine this issue with UPS’ shipping delays, and you see how quickly the issues worsen.

Our production capabilities haven’t changed.  However, the issues described above have caused production issues on our end.  Previously, if we ordered shirts on Monday they would normally show up on Tuesday.  Now, they are taking 2-4 days on average, and in some cases, even longer.  Not knowing when items will show up causes obvious problems to our schedule.

How to Proceed

Inventory and shipping disruptions will affect our operations.  Our advice…PLAN AHEAD and be prepared to make some changes to your order.  The shipping issues will likely resolve themselves by the end of the year.  Inventory issues will continue well into 2021.  Keep up-to-date on all thing A+ by following our blog!