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Nebraska businesses still struggle with the supply chain crisis, Omaha homebuilder fear for their future

Omaha, Nebraska – The supply chain crisis will not end up anytime soon despite White House’s efforts to reduce the wait time at the ports and kind a solve this major issue our country faces since the start of the pandemic.

While many businesses were forced to close their doors and stop operations due to supply chain crisis and staffing shortage, those who somehow managed to remain open are still struggling to get back on track despite all the efforts they put.

Construction industry is one of the industries that is hit the most by the supply chain crisis since the crisis itself increased the prices and by far increased the wait time for all the needed materials.

At KRT Construction, President Kent Therkelsen says things seem to be slowly leveling out, but that it is still impacting business. He says more than anything, it’s just a pain.

“It’s certainly been interesting, that’s for sure.”

Before the pandemic hit the world, Therkelsen was worry-free when he had to plan his next projects since he knew that everything will be the same price and will arrive on time. But things have changed and now he is among the many impacted by the supply chain who has to adapt and improvise when he is taking new projects since he doesn’t know if there will be windows and garage doors available at the time when he is going to need them.

“It started with lumber pricing going crazy, quadrupling at some point, so that made it a little bit tough,” Therkelsen says.

The current material prices are way down of what they were a year ago when the industry faced both very high prices and materials shortage, but they are still higher of what they used to be before the pandemic. With the supply chain issues currently, more and more products are being affected and therefore, more expensive.

“It really kinda started with appliances, most people had heard about [that], then it went to windows,” Therkelsen says. “Windows used to be two to four weeks, and now they’re 16 to 18 weeks, so that’s a little bit of a troublesome problem. Garage doors, they don’t tell me when I’m going to get them now so I don’t know when that shows up.”

The supply chain issue results with two major problems. One of them is the wait time and sometimes clients seem to be impatient asking Therkelsen’s company to finish a project when they lack materials. The other problem is pricing. The prices vary on a daily basis and Therkelsen has issues when he has to offer his services for a few months upfront.

“I say to them, you’re seeing the TV and reading the newspaper just like I am, you can see that there’s issues out there we’re trying to navigate through,” he says. “We spend a lot of our day trying to figure out where the product is coming from, how are we going to get it, what ways can we change to get a better answer, so we’re trying. I wouldn’t say it’s getting worse now, I’d say we’re getting better, understanding how to navigate it.”

The pandemic is something that no one could have predicted it and no one can plan for sure what will happen next. However, there are some positive signs for Therkelsen and his team since they are booked out for months.

“We are extremely busy so that’s the good part, I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to go to work, what am I going to do next, this is worrying about, how am I going to get my product, when am I going to get it, when can I get the project done so I can tell my clients a realistic timeline of when I’ll be out of there.”

Therkelsen says it’s been challenging, but part of being a business owner is learning to navigate and grow, and that’s what he says will continue to do.

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