Causes of Window Supply Chain Issues!

Window Supply Chain

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Supply chain issues have impacted almost all areas of the economy and windows are no exception. New houses all over the world are just waiting for their windows to arrive so their construction crews can finish them.

A recent study found that 65% of remodelers are facing window and door shortages, which can affect timelines for every stakeholder involved.

The experts at Window Cleaning People explain what is behind these windows supply chain shortages.

The Pandemic

Most supply shortages these days have their roots in the pandemic of 2020. Yes, the pandemic is mostly over now, although there are still hot spots popping up here and there. But the trickle down effect of factory closings, labor issues, and down-line production delays can extend for years after the actual cause occurred. In this case, the pandemic triggered numerous supply chain disruptions that led to further issues that only became apparent with time.

Even a short closure of a factory or the brief inability to fulfill orders will cause a major backlog of work. It takes time to work through those backlogs, which then lead to backlogs at every part of the supply chain. This means that the very end user, the construction companies and window installers, will experience the longest delays and that’s where we’re at right now.

Increased Demand

The pandemic shutdowns also caused another unforeseen problem with supply and demand, the very concept that makes the economy work. The demand for windows and other building supplies increased sharply because many homeowners took their unexpected time home as an opportunity to complete long-neglected improvement projects. Prefab windows flew off the shelves and special orders quickly depleted any supply of window construction materials.

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Homeowners weren’t the only ones upgrading their windows, either. Businesses took advantage of the lack of work to improve their buildings, which often included replacing windows. Certainly, it was a productive use of downtime for both businesses and homeowners, but it created the perfect storm in which building material supplies were greatly depleted.

Increased Costs

Any increase in demand usually also corresponds with an increase in cost. While costs are not a major factor in supply chain issues, they do contribute. For instance, if a contractor quoted a homeowner a specific price for new windows, but because of the delays of getting them, their suppliers’ prices increased, contractors may not be able to purchase the windows at the higher price without going back to the homeowner.

This back and forth adds to the delay in getting the windows to the end user and might even cause further backups if the homeowner can’t or won’t pay the additional costs. 

In some cases, contractors are absorbing these extra costs, but at some point, it becomes impossible to absorb them all. As a result, the supply chain is disrupted until the costs even out and become stable enough to count on them remaining the same throughout the entire chain.


The end result of these window supply chain issues is that homeowners and business owners have to be patient and understand that contractors, construction companies, and window installers are doing everything possible to fill their orders.

Window Supply Chain article and permission to publish here provided by Patrick Otto. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on April 26, 2023.
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