Why is it taking so long? The Perfect Storm of Issues

Kona Impact and nearly every other business we know is experiencing a “perfect storm”—several things combining to make for a highly volatile time for getting things done. This perfect storm of factors has been frustrating for everyone—business owners and customers alike. Nobody likes waiting, but, unfortunately, longer than usual waits have become common.

Here are a few stories from the trenches:

  1. Some of Kona Impact’s supplies have been on backorder for months, and our suppliers have little confidence these products will be available this year.
  2. Most of the car dealers in Kona have zero new car inventory. One of them we hear has a 400 person waitlist for new vehicles, which means that even with the rosiest predictions, they will have no new cars that you can buy off the lot until July of next year. Expect to pay retail and even retail plus “local area markup.”
  3. One of our clients has stopped scheduling repair jobs as they are booked through the end of the year.
  4.  We’re seeing dramatic entry-level wage inflation, with some jobs pushing $18/hour for non-skilled work. Pre-pandemic, we’d see most of these jobs at $12/hour. Still, nearly every company we know is hiring.
  5. We’re likely to see huge tourism numbers this coming holiday and high season (Jan-March), with many hospitality businesses grossly understaffed and unable to meet the needs of what is sure to be a hectic time ahead.

So, given the supply chain, labor, and increased demand challenges nearly every business is facing these days, what can consumers or B2B clients do to avoid disappointment?

  1. Get in line early. If you want a new car next year, now is the time to go to a dealer and reserve one. If you have a project in mind for Kona Impact, talk to us now and get on our schedule. Even if you change your mind or needs, you’ll at least have gotten a space in line.
  2. Be willing to accept substitutions. A relative of mine on the Mainland whose car was totaled by a hailstorm went to his preferred car dealers and found no new cars. Nothing. In the end, he found two new Kias, vehicles he would not usually consider, and with an hour, he took a test drive, made an offer and wrote a check. That was his only choice if he wanted a new car.
  3. Postpone. If you’re thinking about a kitchen upgrade or other labor-sensitive job, consider waiting. If something is in short supply—like building materials or vehicles—now might not be a good time to purchase. If your current vehicle is working well, you might look for a new car purchase in late 2022 or even 2023.
  4. Communicate with your supplier. At Kona Impact, we have an excellent idea of what we have scheduled for the next two to three months. There is some wiggle room for scheduling projects, and sometimes we can do similar projects simultaneously, even if one comes in later than other projects. Ask, don’t demand, and we can usually find a way to make things work.
  5. At least for Kona Impact, don’t try to bully, bribe, or make your crisis ours. For every job we move up our schedule, someone’s job has to move down our schedule. We’re happy to work with you for the occasional project you need in a pinch, but we always try to adhere to a first in, first out plan.
  6. Stock up! At Kona Impact, we’ve increased our inventory to six to nine months instead of our usual three to six months. It’s costly to have inventory sitting around, but we anticipate a bumpy road ahead for the next year or so for many products we stock, so we’ve tried to buy what we can when we can to ensure supplies for the future.  
  7. If you can’t do what you want, do what you can. There’s always a good use of time and resources available for most, so if you plan can’t go exactly according to your schedule, pivot and keep moving forward.

Patience, understanding, perspective and a willingness to be flexible are keys to getting through these challenging times. With a bit of planning and foresight, though, most of these challenges can be overcome.