Although we have tried very hard to source more of our product in the USA, about 95% of our Nativities and Outdoor Christmas Decorations are made in various Asian and Pacific countries. We have been successful in developing US suppliers for our wood Nativity Stable and our 2D wood nativity figures. The vast majority of our Christmas figures and Nativity figures are shipped to us in that main- stay of the retail supply chain, the steel shipping container. These are steel boxes used for dry cargo and come in standard 20 foot, 40 foot 40 foot high cube(one foot higher) and 45 foot lengths.
These containers are filled with product at inland factories, trucked to container ports and loaded onto specially built container cargo ships in many countries around the world, sailed across the oceans and unloaded in the destination container ports. US manufacturers and exporters use them as do most foreign manufacturers and exporters. Over the past 10 years or so, a very predictable and efficient supply chain was developed for the import of retail items from Asian and Pacific manufacturers to fill the shelves of major US retailers, including WalMart.
As one of my earlier blogs indicated, the slowly abating major worldwide recession we are experiencing has disrupted the flow and timely delivery of goods in the retail supply chain. For our operation, this means that Nativities and Christmas Figures we expected in stock in May-June will now arrive July -August and even August September. We have a backlog of inquiries, orders and advanced payments based upon the in-stock expectations of many of our repeat and new customers. We can’t really start major sales and marketing campaigns until we are “in stock” with the majority of our Nativity sets and Outdoor Christmas decorations.
To further complicate matters, there is a shortage of containers and much of the available shipping capacity, which had been scaled back as a result of the recession, will be overloaded as everyone scrambles to meet the retail Christmas deadline. Naturally this will result in shipping cost surcharges, profit recovery allowances for the shipping companies and will add to our costs and could result in price increases or lost margin. There will be more on this in future blogs.