The paint shortage continues to impact business across the country, affecting larger projects such as highway repaints as well as smaller civic improvement plans. This article looks at some of the issues across the nation, and a West Coast paint company’s outlook for the future.
Iowa DOT Paint Shortage: Walk a Thin Line
Last year the Iowa Department of Transportation had to make do with less product than usual when their roadways were due for a spring repaint. This year a continued shortage combined with last year’s paint famine has forced the state’s six districts to use some creativity in dividing up what’s available. Last year crews focused on critical areas such as center lanes, interstates, and high traffic areas.
In an article posted by WHO 13 in Des Moines, Iowa, Donna Matulac, an assistant state maintenance engineer with the Iowa DOT, noted the importance of keeping the paint fresh so drivers could see where they were going. Matulac stated she was hoping to get past the shortage in a month or two. If the scarcity continues, she said, they might consider painting thinner lines to save product, adding that she didn’t think it would reach that point.
Salisbury: City art project at stake
Salisbury, North Carolina’s inaugural Paint the Pavement project has yet to be inaugurated because of a paint shortage. Initially scheduled for July 2021, the project’s planners still aren’t sure when they’ll be able to get started. According to an article in the Salisbury Post, the public art project was modeled after a similar project in Charlotte, North Carolina, and plans to feature several installations on crosswalks in the city’s Railwalk Arts District.
The city’s Public Art Committee has been trying to get the specialty coatings needed from Sherwin-Williams, but the local store has told them they won’t be able to get the necessary product at least until June, despite requesting it every week and monitoring availability at nearby locations. The article also quoted SW president John Morikis stating that the availability of raw materials is “choppy.”
As of yet, there is no scheduled start date. The artists plan to use a variety of bright colors to reflect the history, culture, and vibrancy of the community.
Akzo Nobel: Truckin’ to Please
Akzo Nobel has reported that a scarcity of truckers in the United States was contributing to shipping difficulties and making it hard to get its paints transported throughout the county. Company president Thierry Vanlancker told The Financial Times that due to the trucking labor shortage, the United States was the most difficult place to transport product; the article also stated that the American Trucking Association estimated a shortage of about 80,000 truckers nationwide.
Rodda Paint: Supply chain pressure
Jason Lawrence, director of marketing for Portland, Oregon-based Rodda Paint, shared the company’s thoughts and projections on coming out of the paint shortage in 2022:
The main challenges faced by Rodda Paint in 2021 were mainly a lack of raw material supply and not knowing exactly when or which raw material would show up at our factory either due to supply chain or transportation issues. 2022 is improving with the majority of our key product lines coming back to full production levels, however, the current business environment, with new COVID variants, ongoing labor shortages, transportation challenges and inflation pressures continue to stress our supply chain.
As is being faced by the rest of the coatings industry, we, at Rodda Paint are also facing some supply chain challenges within our light industrial product segment, challenges which we anticipate continuing through most of 2022. Being small and privately managed has allowed us to remain flexible and adapt our business model to the changing business environment smoothly. For 2022, our senior leadership is strategically forecasting and sourcing raw materials well in advance of our production needs as well as ensuring extra warehouse space to store all the increased finished goods inventory.
Recent supply challenges, the most acute in my 32 years as a painting contractor has led us to use alternative products and suppliers. So there are learning opportunities. We also are loading up on products we use often such as Fine Paints of Europe Universal primer and TWP wood stain.
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