As many SnapPadders and RVers are already aware, we have struggled with producing SnapPads since the COVID pandemic crashed upon us in the spring of 2020.
Over the last 12 months or so, we have faced a lot of challenges in expanding our SnapPad making capacity. With summer fast approaching and sales turned back on at our store, we wanted to share where we’ve been over the past year, and (hopefully) where we are headed.
Back in March 2020 we were already looking at adding two more manufacturers in order to meet the growing demand for our products. Unfortunately, the rapid spread of COVID-19 at the time did two things:
- It hampered the operations of our existing manufacturer, who initially had to shut down completely. Once they re-opened, however, they saw their capacity drop by as much as 30% due to staffing issues (pandemic related)
- RVing became extremely popular in the summer of 2020 given the lack of other travel options. This spiked demand for SnapPads at the very same time as our production was hobbled
In response, the SnapPad team (remotely) interviewed 10+ other manufacturers across North America. Eventually, after months of searching, we were able to settle on three more US locations.
Of course, that was only the beginning - because SnapPads are a completely unique product, we then had to spend time with these new facilities teaching them how to make SnapPads to our specifications and expected quality level. Adding new manufacturing also meant ordering new tooling and machinery, all of which takes months to source, ship, and build. These things are complex enough in normal times, but trying to accomplish them during a pandemic was “interesting”.
With more locations and more pads being made, it meant we also had to move to a centralized distribution center, which also took months of preparation and execution. Oh! And we decided to completely redesign our packaging too. Sheesh!
Now that it’s 2021, we continue to try to scale production with all of our new facilities (while planning to open some other ones soon). We’ve seen new challenges emerge this year as COVID subsides - raw material and labor shortages chief amongst them. In addition, RVing continues to set new records in terms of monthly sales, so the demand for SnapPads has never let up.
For now, we continue to do everything we can to clear up the backlog of orders that the complications of 2020 caused. Despite some of the new issues we face this year, we are confident that SnapPad will (finally) have ample supply for all of our product lines this year.