This is a question that every golf car part supplier has been answering on a daily basis since April of this year. When we think about the impact of COVID-19, we don’t immediately consider the impact to the logistics industry. The pandemic has had a chain reaction that has affected nearly every global industry, including golf cars and their parts. If you are one of the people who responds to supplier delays by saying, “That’s just an excuse. My state has been back to normal for months” then keep reading because this is for you.
How Has COVID-19 Impacted the Golf Car Industry?
The simple answer is that the supply chain has experienced months long slow downs. Many golf car parts originate from China. When we first learned of COVID-19, in late 2019, the most severe effects were being felt in China. Chinese factories shut down. Workers got sick. Many responsible manufacturers shifted from producing their core products to producing PPE and ventilators. They focused on new dies so that they could help frontline workers with the protective equipment they required.
Ports shut down. Shipments that were already out to sea were forced to wait in quarantine for several weeks before entering the US. In many cases, ports turned away shipments from China until well after the first of this year. Shipping services also temporarily suspended service for periods of time. The US Customs and Border Protection developed new processes for screening international packages, which slowed down delivery times. Everything.slowed.down. Shipping containers with lift kits, carbs, tops, windshields, wheels and tires, and bag racks sat for months.
What About American Suppliers?
US based manufacturers have not been immune to the effects of COVID-19. Many times, even when manufacturing occurs in the US, raw materials come from China. When the raw materials stopped arriving, manufacturing stopped. Beginning in April, many US factory workers got sick. Factories in the US shut down also- some for more than a month. A few golf car parts supplies began producing PPE, which slowed down the production of golf car parts. Behind every seat cushion or lift kit is a team of people who are trying to avoid becoming sick from COVID-19. Fulfillment centers have also been shut down for periods of time. And shipping companies are all experiencing unprecedented delays. Additionally, when Chinese golf car parts ceased to be available, US parts suppliers were suddenly inundated.
And all of this happened right at the peak of demand for the golf car industry. The industry’s peak season is typically March-August. It truly has been the perfect storm.
Trust me when I tell you that I want to fulfill your golf car lift kit order as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we, as a golf car community, must all be patient and understanding to get through this. Prioritizing human life and exercising compassion is imperative.
You will get your lift kit. It just may be a while. And that has to be OK.