Hi everyone, and thank you for reading!
These are crazy times we live in. If you would have bet me that there would be lines in July to get into a grocery store or Target in June, well... you'd now be $100 richer. What we're not seeing or are being told otherwise (ahem... "hoarding") at these grocery stores is that empty shelves are the result of numerous challenges in the supply chain.
Let's say you're shopping for an InstantPot, only you want the countless accessories, too. InstantPot may or may not be in stock at your local store. Its accessories are likely not. Why? For 1, most raw materials and/or items are produced in China. Who had the 1st shut-down due to
COVID-19? That's right, China! Who's factories are now backed up with orders from daily Cyber-Monday-like levels of demand? Correct again, China!
Cost of importing raw materials -
So how does this relate to www.pumpcases.com? I'm happy to say that we assemble our cases in Visalia, CA, and Ventura, CA. However, the raw materials that we depend on, oftentimes, come from China. Neoprene, for example, is simply not available from a domestic producer in the US: Quicksilver and countless other manufacturers of wetsuits will support me in this claim. While orders are in place with manufacturers, the FedEx's, UPS's, and DHL's of the world are taking advantage of their shipping fees much like those Amazon sellers who accumulated then up-charged by 500+% for hand sanitizer. Do you have $700 to "book" a plane (Who "books" a FedEx plane?) for FedEx? Neither do I! $700 3 months ago was only $350. Is this inflation in the works? 5% price increase, sure! 100% price increase, absolutely not! Perhaps we should all be investing in FDX, as their revenues are going to skyrocket.
Importing raw materials -
Long-story-short, we're turning to vessel/boat shipping, which is experiencing its own unique set of COVID-19 delays. Did the VAT or Customs agent develop COVID-19? How many packages did he/she handle, and how long ago? Needless to say, at any step in transportation, domestic included, a COVID-19 outbreak results in a regional office/hub closure, and unfortunately, zero notice is given.
Production delays -
We are presently ordering and cutting half as much neoprene for twice the price from a domestic importer of neoprene rather than receiving our perfect, pre-cut patterns from overseas. This adds delays to production. Then, we drop the packages off at our local USPS, who is so understaffed that they can't scan packages, making it appear as though we don't ship for 3-5 days after order receipt. This simply is NOT true. Order today. Ship tomorrow. That is a pumpcases.com standard.
Delivery delays -
The last 2 pieces to this puzzle I cannot control are 1) inbound and 2) outbound transportation. Once the order leaves my hands, I rely on USPS for outbound delivery, who is as sneaky as FedEx or any overseas inbound transportation agent. They simply do not disclose regional closures of particular hubs due to COVID-19 on their websites. If you live outside of the US, expect an 8-10 week delivery window even for Canada. If you live in the states, orders are presently taking up to 4 days for California to Califonia delivery and 5-10 days for California to the East Coast delivery.