Disposable Glove Shipping Delays and Backorders: What You Should Know

Disposable glove backorders are an unfortunate reality.

In talking with AMMEX customers over the last few weeks, a common pain point has emerged: their struggle with backorders.

An inconvenience even in the best of economic times, backorders of just about any consumer product you can name have become a major problem for wholesalers and retailers alike.

While AMMEX has an excellent supply of some inventory in its warehouses, other products are difficult to come by. Nitrile gloves, scarce for over a year since the emergence of COVID-19, remain so—although we do expect nitrile inventory to improve, especially on our Gloveworks raised diamond texture suite.

Worldwide, however, companies continue to struggle. Many expect supply-chain constraints to continue throughout the year.

Supply chain woes are universal

Thanks to the pandemic, spending on such products as gadgets, cars, and comfortable clothes is robust—but meeting that demand is a challenge. The impacts of the Suez Canal blockage, container shortages, port backups in the U.S., and other supply chain disruptions are wreaking havoc on trade.

Blue-chip companies from Tesla to Apple have experienced major delays in delivering products to consumers. At Apple, supply constraints could have a revenue impact of $3 billion to $4 billion in the June quarter, Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said.

It’s not just big-name manufacturers feeling exasperated. Electricians can’t source the little plastic boxes they need to rewire light fixtures. Contractors are reporting a 200 percent surge in the price of lumber. The supply of Taiwanese tapioca is drying up. Even England’s mantra of “Keep Calm and Carry On” is being tested by an acute shortage of garden gnomes.

The struggle is real for glove distributors

In terms of disposable glove supply, some months have been better than others. One AMMEX customer, a dairy supply distributor, said he had put in an order for a few cases, but discovered that the gloves were backordered and had to cancel the order because his client needed immediate delivery. Another customer, who works with government agencies, waited an uncomfortable few weeks before her order finally shipped last week.

The challenges with disposable gloves, of course, begin with where they are manufactured. With 90% of the world’s supply coming from Southeast Asia, the factories are literally a world away from the U.S. It is almost impossible to expect a container ship to get from factory to warehouse in fewer than 40 days.

Even with all of AMMEX’s best intentions and efforts to anticipate delays, the compromised state of supply chains has made backorders a fact of doing business for the time being. We cannot say how long these issues will continue, but planning for the long haul is prudent and patience is essential.

Move fast, but don’t lose your patience

Our best advice is to place your orders on the AMMEX online portal as soon as you get your monthly allocation email. Remember that gloves are currently available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Follow up with your sales representative early and often—don’t wait to be contacted. Communicating  your needs is crucial to us being able to help you.

As always, if you have feedback about our online portal or your experiences selling gloves during these challenging times, please drop me a line at ttravin@ammex.com.

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