Supply chain issues have recently become a familiar roadblock to receiving any number of products or services in a timely manner. Appliances and supplies within the HVAC industry are no exception.
“It starts with all the little items that go into creating a system — both raw materials including metals like aluminum, and components like computer chips — getting backed up on a ship on their way from manufacturers overseas to here,” explains Michael Stein, Millian Aire’s Director of Marketing & Analytics. “Even the cardboard to pack the equipment and ship it to us has been in short supply.”
“And each manufacturer is different,” adds Alan Wilson, Millian Aire’s Vice President of Technology and Training. “Some HVAC manufacturers have said they just have no items to supply. In some cases, the products are in short supply — in other cases, they’re ready, but are stuck in ports.”
Millian Aire’s Proactive Approach
Given these market conditions, Millian Aire has taken a preemptive approach and ordered large amounts of various HVAC components, storing them in the firm’s warehouse, says Wilson. Supplies they have on hand include:
- Duct materials including duct board and flex, which is the flexible tubing that conveys air through the HVAC system
- HVAC return air cans and boots, and other metal items in short supply currently, including copper and various fasteners
- Lumber items (also in short supply) including planks and decking material
There’s little predictability on what items might be in short supply from month to month or even week to week, notes Wilson.
“One month, there may be enough copper to serve the needs of HVAC manufacturers or parts suppliers — then, there’s a shortage,” he says. “Or you’ll have an easy time getting steel, but then the supply dries up.”
Using their knowledge of the industry and client needs, Millian Aire’s approach has been to predict future supply needs as best as possible, says Stein.
“We’ve been looking at the units most likely to sell during this time period, in terms of size and SEER rating, that we believe will be best to have on hand,” Stein explains. “We’ve been stocking up on these items to put us in the best position to serve our clients.”
Plan Now for Future Needs
Given the challenges in the supply chain — even with a reservoir of certain materials maintained by Millian Aire — Wilson recommends not waiting if you detect problems with your HVAC system, expect to need repairs or a new HVAC system, or may need components based on the system’s age.
“You need to plan ahead,” says Wilson. “If your system has performance issues, we recommend you give us a call to start planning now because you may not get the appliance you need for many months in some cases.
“It’s similar to the need to be proactive with everything else in short supply right now, including a wide range of items, from washing machines to cars. If you wait to the very end, your options are reduced. Reach out to us so we can work with you in advance to keep your options as wide as possible during this time of challenging supplies.”