Stay-At-Home Improvements Mean Appliance Shortages

December 16, 2020
Stay-At-Home Improvements Mean Appliance Shortages

A surge in home improvement projects and new home construction has created a strong demand for appliances from refrigerators to washing machines. As a result, manufacturers, retailers, shippers, and raw materials suppliers are struggling to keep up with the strong demand.

Amid item shortages, retailers like Lowe’s are shifting from in-store showrooms to direct-to-customer deliveries.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Business Insider article, Kitchen appliances and washing machines are in short supply as families stuck inside turn to home-improvement projects, by Graham Rapier, October 23, 2020; the Consumer Reports article, How to Get a Deal During the Appliance Shortage, by Tobie Stanger, December 10, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Corbis/Superstock

Discussion Questions:

1. How does the surge in demand of appliances affect inventory management for manufacturers such as Whirlpool?

Guidance: Appliance manufacturers maintain a low level of inventory to begin with. The level of inventory has remained low despite high production, resulting in order backlog and item shortages.

2.  How does the surge in demand of appliances affect its supply chain?

Guidance: The entire supply chain from raw-material suppliers, manufacturers, shippers, and retailers are struggling to keep up with the strong demand.  Retailers like Lowe’s are shifting from in-store showrooms to direct-to-customer deliveries, essentially shortening the supply chain.

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