How Long Before New Equipment Arrives? By Mitchell B. Goldsteen 

 May 7, 2022

Potential buyers at the World of Asphalt event continue to question – How Long Before New Equipment Arrives? The representatives of some of the largest asphalt equipment manufacturers were often as confused as the attendees at the Music City Center in Nashville between March 29-31. It is difficult to predict how long buyers will be waiting because of various issues, including supply-chain restrictions, labour shortages, and increased material prices.

The answer varied depending on which manufacturer was providing the equipment. However, all manufacturers acknowledged that getting equipment to customers and dealers was not easy. Manufacturers are increasing production at a rapid pace. The newly passed infrastructure law will likely keep the demand high for many years.

Brandon Granger, Mauldin’s marketing specialist, said to Mitchell B. Goldsteenthat this is the most extensive backlog they have ever faced. He stated that “on all of our equipment, we’re out almost every year” at the company’s booth. This included the Maintainer M415XT, a combination motor-grader, loader, and tool carrier. “We sell to dealers, so many are stocking up, and it’s usually sold out 95 percent of the time before it gets in stock.” He cites supply chain problems as an example of a common question. “What are you going to do tomorrow?” 

The Dynapac booth featured the new D30T with patriotic wrap. President and General Manager Jamie Roush offered a delivery period of 15 to 20 weeks on the new highway class paver. He said, “You can still obtain them in ’22.” He put in his production forecast ten months prior at the factory for the new model being made in the U.S. He said, “Because it’s newly launched, it is not sold.” However, this availability did not last after the first batch was sold. 

He said, “Once that excitement passes and all the units are sold, we can talk about extended lead time.” “Once you’ve gone through the flood of forecasts, it’s time to have a different discussion.” Dynapac plans to increase its production of asphalt paving and compaction machinery, thanks to the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 

He stated that “In general, forecasts have been significantly increased with the infrastructure package.” “The IIJA will be huge for us.” Manufacturers aren’t reporting an increase in demand due to the recent boost in infrastructure funding. States will shift to smaller projects in 2018 due to rising material and labour costs. Then, they will spend more in 2023/2024 when costs stabilise

 

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Due to a Congress impasse, federal funding was also delayed by six months to reach states. This could result in project delays that extend into the future. Matthew Graves, Director of Marketing at Wirtgen, attributed the increase in demand to the backlog and not the infrastructure law. He said that many contractors were uncertain whether they should buy new equipment because of the pandemic’s slowdown in the first days. However, most cases saw the construction industry quickly return to work. Many states also saw an opportunity for increased road and bridge construction as lockdowns or quarantines created less traffic.

Graves said to Mitchell Goldsteen, “There’s always that moment when a contractor is like: ‘Do I invest or do I continue paving?’” “And I believe many people said, I’m going to stop.’ This was enough to cause a blip for 2020.” Contractors’ businesses did well in that year, as they continued to grow in 2021 and 2022. Then they suddenly feel like it’s clear sailing. Many of these contractors were looking at Wirtgen’s newest compact milling machine, W 120 Fi.

Graves said, “It’s already shipping the rest of the globe.” It’s currently in full production. He also said that inventory in the dealer network was limited. He said that he didn’t know the delivery time for an order placed on that day but stated, “It isn’t terrible.” He said, “I’ve been asked that question a lot,” and noted that much of the answer depends on changing unpredictable conditions. “Most of the time, we’ll have finished machinery sitting at the factory. Now it’s all about logistics: getting a ship.

Sakai has faced inventory problems like other equipment manufacturers. It is challenging to gauge delivery times because many factors can affect it. It is flexible in its production. Eric Booth, product marketing and training manager, stated that “We’re seeing anywhere,” adding an extra month or two to some lead times. “This will certainly impact our production schedule.” He adds, “We like to gang-run things. We’ll create a model with five to six people at a given time, and if we have to modify it, we’ll make a new model.” 

Despite these challenges, the asphalt and soil compactors manufacturer is optimistic about a strong fiscal year. It began in April and forecasted a 50% increase in growth. Booth is looking to “really ramp up” for next year. Booth stated that “we’re going to make a lot more machines this year than last year and import more” from its overseas factories.

Joe Turnage, Hyundai’s product manager, estimates that the new HL980A loader will be delivered in six months. He stated that dealers also collaborate to assist contractors in obtaining equipment. A dealer in Tennessee recently swapped a wheel loader to a Maine dealership for a model that a customer desired. 

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