When the COVID-19 coronavirus started, I expressed concern in my articles that there may come a point where, as many tools and industrial supplies are made in China, that interruptions to the supply chain could result in tool shortages come June to September, for production runs on a six to nine month lead time, and as the flow of shipping containers slowed or ceased, so would the supplies on the shelves of many stores. This also applies to “dollar” type stores, as they are in the same economic situation by relying on imports from China.
I came to these conclusions after much careful reading and analysis of news, economic reports, and other sources. However, I decided to go further and see if I could get a better sense of the situation by talking to people on the ground.
I spoke with people in two different businesses, both who are in competition with each other, that operate in the tool import industry. One of these were a series of employees who work for Harbor Freight Tools. Another was an independent importer of tools who operates a very successful and lucrative business.
I would like to share with you what I have been told.
The independent tool importer is an elderly man who runs his business with his wife and children. I have known him for a long time. We talked about the situation with China, and in his words (paraphrasing),
I purchase from seven suppliers. One has told me that they are not going to receive any more imports from China. A second one is unsure if they will do the same. The others have all said they have indefinitely suspended all future orders because no one knows when operations will resume. I buy in bulk, so I should be fine for now, but I purchased more because I don’t know what is going to happen. Nobody knows right now.
The next group I spoke with was a series of employees who work at two different Harbor Freight stores. I was able to ask a series of questions, but the most helpful came from two employees, who told me the following:
The first employee said that stocks were mostly normal but starting to get low in certain areas right now, one of which was air compressors, and that the store has not been receiving any more freight.
The second employee said what the first informed me of, but added that all container shipments have ceased and that their store has been running off of existing stock and there are no further plans for any more containers, and that employees have been informed to prepare for inventory shortages come summertime.
I am telling you these things not because, unfortunately, it appears another Shoebat.com prediction is coming true, but so that you can make some intelligent decisions.
It may be a good idea to consider stocking up on tools or consumable tool parts (saw blades, drill bits, sanding pads, screws, nails, etc.), because there may be shortages of them just like how there are those with food right now with no clear indication of when what is considered “normal” will return.
This is not meant to scare anybody, or to cause a “rush” or panic. Rather, it seems to be that our prediction is coming true, and instead of being caught in a situation where one is not prepared and unable to prepare, having knowledge like this can help one prepare appropriately for the future.
It has been for a long time that America has lived in abundance, but this may be ending. Even if it does not, one should always be ready for the unexpected.
As always, prepare yourselves accordingly.