The Supply Chain Conundrum: How Shortages Are Impacting Consumers

In case you haven’t noticed, this country has a big supply chain problem. People have been waiting to get their sofas delivered for eight-plus months. Walking out of a furniture store with that dinner table you’ve been pining for is cause for celebration. Plastic products, toilet paper, and countless other everyday consumer items are in short supply as well. And those are just a few examples.

Even the world’s biggest corporations aren’t shielded from the supply chain crisis. Costco, Amazon, and Walmart are dealing with significant disruptions and delays. And at Hearth & Patio, we’re experiencing unprecedented delays that are impacting virtually every aspect of our store. From our outdoor wicker furniture to our cast aluminum pieces, from our gas log systems to our fireplace inserts, none of our products have gone untouched.

While we are committed to doing anything within our power to get our products to customers as fast as possible, we wanted to share briefly about the perfect storm that is the American supply chain problem:

The COVID-19 Pandemic

The pandemic itself has played a major role in the disruptions and delays we are seeing. Manufacturing employees are out of work because of contracting the coronavirus. Some manufacturers have had to shut down for up to two weeks as they wait for delayed shipments of materials; otherwise, the workers are just standing around with nothing to build. If one component is missing, these manufacturers cannot run an assembly line, whether it’s a screw, a computer chip, or a thread.

The Suez Canal

In March, a loaded cargo ship blocked the Suez Canal for six days, causing delays in many other ships. Consequently, several of those ships were transporting furniture. When they finally arrived at their destination, they reached ports that were heavily congested. Unfortunately, congested ports are still a major problem and slowing down shipments even more. In fact, a lot of container ships are having to anchor offshore before they can dock and unload. That’s because there is a shortage of truck drivers too.

The Texas Freeze

Our furniture problem doesn’t end with imported products. The U.S. furniture industry is suffering as well, much due to the February deep freeze that occurred in Texas. Manufacturers are still feeling the impact of the winter weather, particularly a foam shortage that resulted when Texas chemical plants were forced to shut down for extended periods.

The Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack

One of the largest pipelines in the U.S., the Colonial Pipeline, had to cease operations to contain a breach that occurred during an advanced cyberattack in May. The pipeline is 5,500 miles long and supplies 45 percent of all the fuel on the East Coast. This attack is still impacting virtually every sector of the manufacturing industry.


We live in unprecedented times, no doubt. While these are some of the primary factors at play in the disruptions and delays our store, like so many others, is experiencing, they are certainly not the only ones.

Just know that we will stay vigilant in working on the behalf of each customer. We’ll keep checking with our manufacturers and distributors on a daily basis. We’ll keep asking our delivery workers when we can expect the next shipment. And we’ll stay hands-on through every step of the process.

Hearth & Patio has got your back. And we’ll get through this together!