Whirlpool is rolling up its sleeves while Ashley is suspending SKUs.
By Alan Wolf, YSN
The global pandemic has forced dealers and vendors to respond to supply chain disruptions and COVID outbreaks in creative and often dramatic ways.
The latter is particularly true for Whirlpool and Ashley Furniture, which are taking what some might consider extreme measures to contend with the current situation.
On the appliance side, Whirlpool is offering to pay its workers $1,000 a piece to get vaccinated against the virus. The move, as reported by CNN, is designed to prevent the factory shutdowns that plagued the manufacturer at the outset of the pandemic and contributed to its buildup of backorders.
In a statement to the news site, Whirlpool spokesman Chad Parks said, “Our employees’ health and safety remains our top priority. Throughout this pandemic they have been working tirelessly to serve our consumers, who are depending on our products more than ever to clean, cook and provide proper food and medicine storage in their homes, and we are working to ensure we can deliver.”
Whirlpool’s incentive was raised from a smaller dollar amount in advance of an emergency rule by the Biden administration requiring company workforces of 100 employees or more to be vaccinated or tested weekly. Businesses would face stiff penalties for non-compliance under the president’s plan.
Meanwhile, Ashley has decided to temporarily trim the number of SKUs it produces in response to factory shutdowns in Malaysia and Vietnam. According to Home News Now, the effort to streamline production was relayed to retailers in a letter from CEO Todd Wanek that listed an estimated 1,000-plus pieces being sidelined, including bedroom, dining, entertainment, home office, occasional, accessories and stationary product lines.
Related: Ashley Shares Your Inventory Pain
Wanek said inventory is still available for the targeted SKUs, which will be used to fill open orders as soon as possible. However, the company will soon move the request dates on all new orders for the affected products until at least May 1, 2022. Ashley plans to reintroduce the SKUs incrementally “as we see capacity improve,” and is using the May 1 date as a placeholder “until we have more clarity on when we are able to bring these products into active status.”
In the meantime, the manufacturer will focus on producing its bestselling groups in order to provide a consistent flow of goods, Wanek said.
“We believe this will help to shorten and reduce the impact of the current disruptions,” he wrote.