Dawn Rye | Writer
Back in the spring, it appeared a shortage of computer chips had sent auto prices soaring. The global parts shortage involves not just computer chips. Automakers are starting to see the need for wiring harnesses, plastics and glass. Beyond autos, vital components for goods ranging from farm equipment and industrial machinery are bottled up at ports worldwide as demand outpaces supply.
NAPA Auto – Parker Farm & Auto Supply owner Bob Sneller said the shortage doesn’t just include auto parts, but also John Deere, International and other tractor parts. Suppliers are doing direct ship for orders only, dealers will not be stocked with products, and as parts become available, orders will be filled. He explained NAPA is still making it work and have received phone calls from competitors looking for parts.
“Which is interesting, but I would have to say that’s probably a little bit of the strength of an organization that is 100 years old almost,” commented Sneller.
For example, in addition to what Parker Farm & Auto has in inventory, they also have access to 54 warehouses plus the manufacturers. While there are zero semi batteries available in the U.S., Sneller has managed to keep a pallet load of semi batteries on hand.
He explained the first wave was the shortage of employees to deliver the product. Now, on the second wave during the COVID pandemic, the employees are shipping the products, however, the manufacturer is unable to replenish the inventory.
“This wave is worse, and are nowhere near the end of the tunnel. I would say we are still six months out,” said Sneller.
NAPA is a 40 percent agricultural parts store and Sneller believes he will see an uptick because customers can’t get parts they are looking for through a dealer.
He explained when it comes to OEM, original tractor equipment manufacture parts will not be available. Now, farmers are looking for a second older combine when the new one decides to stop working.
“My gut feeling goes along with what we have been told by a lot of our suppliers. Like the rest of the U.S., we are 54-60 percent dependent on China for parts,” stated Sneller.
Many of their supplies come from Mexico, Canada and the west coast, with parts sitting in the ports with no one to unload the shipments due to their lockdown mandates.
Sneller noted he saw this coming a year and a half ago, so NAPA is building inventory steadily and sourcing the right supplies to fill customers’ orders.