Dealers are still finding it difficult to keep items in stock, including many petroleum-based products whose price points have witnessed steep increases.

Forecasting the needs of customers and managing inventory has become a whole new ballgame for parts managers and store owners as some items just simply aren’t available.

“Anything to do with a plastic, anything made of rubber, like rubber packer wheels, we can’t get any more, like – we’re done. Our suppliers have told us forget it this year. We’re just not getting them, like some discs for some of the air seeders. They just flat out told us, don’t even phone anymore, don’t order because you’re not getting it. Simple as that. So that’s pretty hard to tell a producer,” reports Frank Ryberg, parts manager with Rocky Mountain Equipment (RME) in Kindersley, Saskatchewan.

Ryberg adds that air seeder hoses have tripled in price this year and when RME’s current inventory is gone, customers will be looking at a higher price tag.

COVID is still being blamed for setbacks and delays in both Canada and the United States, along with labor shortages and transportation issues.

Diversify, adapt and rally is the name of the game, says Trent Aylward, owner of Rosetown Muffler and Bearing in Rosetown, Saskatshewan.

“We definitely have had to get creative, no question – with bearings, we used to just sell the one brand, and now we can get our hands on 3 or 4 different brands, just for that reason, if we can’t get the one brand, we’ll still get it for you. But it’s going to be in a different brand than you’re used to.”

For Aylward the price increases are being seen with petroleum products like oil and also batteries. For product scarcity, he says the shortages are being seen on items such as filters, bearings and items made of polyurethane, where the suppliers are simply saying, they can’t fulfill some orders.

“I think one piece of advice maybe would be, don’t drain the oil in that piece of equipment until you have the new filter in your hand. Because you might drain the oil and think – I’ll just rip into town and get the filter while the oil is draining – well, the filter might not be in town.”