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Companies and Contractors Getting Creative Amid Supply Crunch

Ford’s Unfinished Vehicles

The auto industry has been among those most affected by supply-chain issues, including last year’s protracted chip shortage. In response, some companies have started delivering partially finished cars in order to get customers behind the wheel sooner. One example is Ford (F), which is sending out Explorer SUVs that are missing some chips.

These partially finished Explorers are missing rear-seat temperature controls, which can be installed later when components are available. Ford has also offered a $50 credit for buyers of its bestselling F-150 pickup if they give up the start-stop feature that saves fuel. The feature can’t be installed after the fact, and buyers can wait on it if they choose.

Hold the Garage Door

Homebuilders are also struggling to get the materials they need amid supply disruptions. This has manifested itself in a very specific way, with garage doors being hard to come by. Industry experts say it takes around 20 weeks to build a house, and just as long for a new delivery of garage doors to arrive.

These days it’s not entirely uncommon to see brand new homes with plywood where garage doors otherwise would be. Sometimes temporary doors are installed. In 2020, 90% of newly built single-family homes included garages, and more people are pushing out into the suburbs where owning a car is more common.

White House Response

A new initiative from the Biden administration aims to directly address supply-chain problems. It’s called “Freight Logistics Optimization Works,” or FLOW, and will gather data in a bid to boost efficiency. Companies will be able to access information at different points in the delivery process.

Analysts note this type of data is commonly collected and used by larger companies, but many small businesses lack such capability. The hope is this pilot program will be a boost to smaller firms that are being affected by delivery disruptions. It’s common to hear the term “unfinished business” in various walks of life, and for now, with so many things in short supply, it seems to be a viable workaround.

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ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

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