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Old 07-24-2021, 12:03 PM   #1
ThB
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Foam Shortage and Delivery Dates

Has anyone else encountered delivery delays because of the foam shortage?

We ordered our Basecamp 20X September 13, 2020. Were told probably March, then probably middle of June, and then June 30. Last week our dealer told us that it had come off the line on June 30, but that it wasn't finished because Airstream was waiting on cushions. It seems we're caught in the nationwide shortage of foam. There's no projected delivery date at this time.

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Old 07-24-2021, 01:21 PM   #2
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Hi

There are multiple threads here on the forum from people in exactly the same situation. If you do a search for "foam shortage", I suspect you will get a bunch of hits. They go back to the start of the problem when the Texas power grid went down and took a foam factory with it.

Bob
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Old 07-24-2021, 10:38 PM   #3
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I had that issue back a couple of months ago went they sent my new International to the dealer without the foam bed mattresses. Fortunately the mattress arrived about 2 weeks later.
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Old 07-25-2021, 08:19 AM   #4
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I’ve been waiting 6 months for a chair from Ethan Allen. The holdup it the foam.
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Old 07-26-2021, 12:10 AM   #5
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The stories are endless. Sure hope America returns to manufacturing in the future. The chip shortage and its impact on the automotive industry is huge and scary!
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Old 07-26-2021, 05:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

There are multiple threads here on the forum from people in exactly the same situation. If you do a search for "foam shortage", I suspect you will get a bunch of hits. They go back to the start of the problem when the Texas power grid went down and took a foam factory with it.

Bob
How can a situation exist in the US where we have one single factory producing all the foam for every industry, and then one bad winter can have repercussions in the industry 6 months later.

I don't understand two things...

1) What's keeping them from getting caught up?

2) Why is there only one factory making the stuff?
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Old 07-27-2021, 06:55 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
How can a situation exist in the US where we have one single factory producing all the foam for every industry, and then one bad winter can have repercussions in the industry 6 months later.

I don't understand two things...

1) What's keeping them from getting caught up?

2) Why is there only one factory making the stuff?
Hi

1) It may well have destroyed the factory. Some of this process stuff can be pretty fragile. Building a factory from the ground up has been a year+ sort of thing each time I've done it.

2) Probably one factory makes this sort of form and gets *really* good at it. Their costs are likely 1/3 what anybody else's costs are. Their factory may be big enough that it can meet all the demand in North and most of South America. To compete somebody else would have to build a *bigger* factory.

There are a *lot* of industries world wide that work this way. It's a function of automation and the insane amounts of money that go into it. At the same time the products sell for next to nothing. Recovering that investment is a long haul sort of thing ....

Even if the factory is only down for 2 months, that pushes everybody back by at least that amount of time. On top of that a *lot* of companies canceled orders a year ago. Inventory levels all over the place went to zero. Now everybody wants to get their inventory back up .... instead of 2 months you are out to 8 months.

Bob
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Old 07-27-2021, 08:38 AM   #8
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I feel a lot of these shortages are poor management descisions being masked under COVID, labor shortages, etc.

Last rumor I heard was that the extreme cold that hit Texas knocked the foam manufacturers on their behinds, which I am still having a hard time understanding given that freeze event, if this is what really caused this new shortage, happened in February, which is now 5 months behind us and we're just now having a shortage?!
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Old 07-28-2021, 06:53 AM   #9
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I think the issue is not necessarily the "freeze or Covid" but more like poor management decisions. Our dependency on other countries for goods is not healthy for our nation. This "chip" situation is absurd. As far as the freeze, not sure why manufacturing plants don't take this sort of thing in consideration when building a plant.
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Old 07-28-2021, 07:27 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by TexasVine View Post
I think the issue is not necessarily the "freeze or Covid" but more like poor management decisions. Our dependency on other countries for goods is not healthy for our nation. This "chip" situation is absurd. As far as the freeze, not sure why manufacturing plants don't take this sort of thing in consideration when building a plant.
Hi

The chip shortage is (in one respect) pretty simple:

Back a bit over a year ago all of the major auto manufacturers canceled all their orders for chips. Ford moved first. The rest followed. Somebody got a nice big bonus for "excellent inventory management". That bonus came in quarter by quarter over the next 12 months. Somebody went out and bought a half dozen new houses .... (yes, it's *that* kind of bonus).

Oddly enough things like computers and tablets went insane demand wise over the same period. Autos make up something like 3% of the chip demand so when the computer guys double their orders .... hmmm .... all the factories are running at capacity.

Along comes last March and the auto guys decide they need some chips. Like anything else (you or me ordering an AS right now) new orders go to the back of the line. Normal lead time on most chips is 16 to 24 weeks. ( start to finish ). You can double or triple that when shortages hit.

Yes, at the same time some of the custom outfits had issues. Not enough folks on site, maintenance gets sloppy, fire burns down the north half of the plant.

Root cause is still canceling all those orders ....

Could you build some more state of the art semiconductor fabs? Sure you could. Pass the hat and come up with >10 billion dollars (yes that's a b). Order up the right gear. Build it and get it running. Probably takes 2 years to do. (TSMC paid $9.3 B for a fab not that long ago. Costs go up generation to generation)

Now run all that gear really really hard. It will not be state of the art after 2 years. It will be outdated in 4 years and obsolete in 8. If you scrimped or saved on this or that, it may be outdated on the day you open the doors. The only way to pay off the investment is to run 24/7/365. (and make very few mistakes) Run out of orders and there's no way to pay off the loan....

Keep in mind that all you have at this point is a factory. You still need to set up a company and hire a whole bunch of *very* smart folks. Stupid is not a good way to go in semiconductors.....that has been proven a whole bunch of times over the last few decades.

Ok, so you have a company. It's only got one fab? Nonsense. That's like Ford only having one plant that makes everything. You need *several* fabs ...

And on and on it goes .....

The net result is that semiconductors are and always have been a very cyclical industry. It's boom for a couple years and then you have a bust for a while. Folks get into the business and later go broke. One thing that has changed over the years: a lot of outfits now have somebody else fab the chips for them rather than doing it themselves. They simply can't come up with the capital to stay in that race ....

Bob
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Old 07-28-2021, 08:06 AM   #11
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With regard to chips, there is also the issue of the ban on dealing with Chinese companies on certain product types. I read an article this morning on Reuters detailing how the ban on dealing with Chinese companies for things like semiconductors has forced all US manufacturing sectors to rely on the smaller manufacturing in Taiwan and other countries.

Foam? Can't explain that one. Not a particularly high-tech item, doesn't require any state secrets or have anything to do with IT bans, and it appears all the problems stem from one factory having problems last winter.
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Old 07-28-2021, 09:36 AM   #12
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Hi

Top three chip makers:

Intel (US and other places)
Samsung (South Korea )
TSMC (Taiwan )

TSMC is the biggest "fab only" outfit in the world and has been for quite a while.

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4210538

Bob
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