‘It’s going to be a bumpy road,’ supply chain issues impact local manufacturers

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 5:40 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Global supply chain issues are impacting businesses in Eastern Iowa. Bimm Ridder in Cedar Rapids makes apparel items like screen printed shirts for pro baseball and minor league hockey teams. Company President Gary Ficken told us the demand for products is high, but the supply is a whole other story.

Ficken said Bimm Ridder can’t find product for around a quarter of the orders coming in.

”We now are probably ordering from 12 to 14 different suppliers everyday trying to find product,” Ficken explained.

Even common items, like black t-shirts, are hard to come by. Ficken told us he hasn’t seen that happen in the company’s more than 30 year history.

”If the suppliers are out, chances are they’re going to be out for quite awhile and we have to communicate with customers and try to get them to choose something else,” he explained.

It’s not just apparel that’s backed up.

Ron Corbett, the Vice President of Economic Development at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance told us all kinds of local businesses are feeling the impact of the supply chain.

”If you wanted to build a new building for example, do an expansion, it’d probably take up to a year just to get the steel for the building,” Corbett said.

He’s encouraging companies to get creative by making new items, or sourcing product locally, if they can. That’s because it could be some time before the supply chain stabilizes.

”If you look at the pictures of all the ships that are floating out in Los Angeles with thousands and thousands of containers it’s just not possible you know to get them all unloaded overnight,” Corbett explained.

Ficken told us labor issues make matters worse.

”The problem right now is you can’t make the product in the U.S. because you can’t find employees to make the product,” he said.

”It’s going to be a bumpy road,” Ficken added.

He told us baseball teams Bimm Ridder provides apparel for are already worried about having the product they need for opening day next spring. Ficken said suppliers are telling him it could be 2023 before inventory is back on track.

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