As you will have noticed we have a shortage of Penny Farthings on our website. This is primarily due to production issues with our rim.
This supply issue problem is compounded by many factors effecting the supply chain at the same time, it is not down to a single thing.
The Covid out-break can be said to be one main factors in the supply chain problems. Demand has increased as people have more disposable income due to being unable to travel. They have also been encouraged to exercise from home... so they have bought bicycles.
The factories have tried increased their production but are also hampered. The factories are having to increase social distancing, so there are less workers per meter on the production lines. The Covid restrictions has also closed many borders preventing migrant workers from returning from their Chinese New Year break in 2019. There is also a none Covid problem in Taiwan; they have “working time directive” legislation (similar to Europe) that prevents them from increasing the amount of hours worked by their available workers to cover the shortfall. This has all contributed to the reduction of workers available on the production line.
The closed borders have also caused a reduction of the available raw materials for production. A lot of the aluminium available for production comes from China and although the closed borders has not totally shut off the supply, it has restricted it.
To add to all these problems of demand and supply, covid restrictions has caused the shipping industry to have a meltdown. There are ships that can not dock due to Covid cases on board or have resticted access to port. This has put ships and containers in the wrong place, so causing an incredible increase in shipping costs, This has contributed to the urgent supply of materials.
All this together means that general lead times have moved from 30 days from “order to production” to over 400 days. It has also meant that items that are labour intensive and relatively low profit like our Penny Farthing rims are excluded from production until the current situation is cleared. The predicted date for our next production run wont be until April, 2024.