Supply chain crisis reaches cities, county, law enforcement fleets

By Nick Blank nick@claytodayonline.com
Posted 5/18/22

CLAY COUNTY – The country’s supply chain woes are evident in Clay County, impacting the ability to purchase parts, tires and acquire vehicles.

The supply chain crisis was brought upon by a …

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Supply chain crisis reaches cities, county, law enforcement fleets

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – The country’s supply chain woes are evident in Clay County, impacting the ability to purchase parts, tires and acquire vehicles.

The supply chain crisis was brought upon by a complex morass of labor, demand and manufacturing issues inflamed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A baby formula shortage is the most recent development.

At the local level, every agency in Clay County depends on transportation and logistics of goods like car parts. The impacts are not devastating, according to officials from across the county, but they are overall detrimental to operations.

With the city of Green Cove Springs, Assistant Public Works Director Steve Thomas said all the vehicles in the city’s fleet are currently running, but the city has had to wait longer for deliveries of parts for the fleet due to supply chain issues.

“We have had some longer wait times but not bad yet,” Thomas said. “Granted, we have not needed any chips yet. We are having trouble replacing vehicles, though it is at least a year wait right now.”

Orange Park is a mere 13 miles away from its counterpart and the town is dealing with similar issues.

Public Works Director Kyle Croce said last week the town had one vehicle out of service due to supply chain issues with repair parts.

Town Manager Sarah Campbell added that the supply chain crisis had added a wrinkle in purchasing new vehicles and construction in general.

“I think the delays we’ve been experiencing are on new vehicles we would like to order and contractors experiencing delays and shortages in materials for our projects – pumps, pipes, aggregate,” Campbell said.

Information provided by Clay County Public Works Director Teresa Gardner and other county officials relayed that the county has been able to deal with issues related to the supply chain crisis without much impact on the fleet. There are weekly county meetings about available or needed supplies, though one of the hardest-hit areas for the county has been tires.

“The delay in receiving tires has been noticed for about 12 months and tire manufacturers are having difficulty keeping up with the demand,” county officials said in a statement. “The county has successfully identified alternative tire manufacturers and recently received a large order of tires. We also have additional tires on order, which will be shipped as soon as they are available.”

Not far away, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office has experienced supply chain limitations, according to Public Information Officer Andrew Ford. The impacts relate to newer and damaged cars. Sometimes, the agency is about a dozen vehicles down and Ford noted that vendors are also struggling.

“Specifically, the lengthy delays in having our new vehicles properly outfitted and the ability to obtain replacement parts to complete mechanical and physical damage repairs slowed our ability to keep vehicles on the road,” Ford said.

The problem is not exclusively automobile-related. It also extends to ammunition.

“The most dramatic problem is wait times on weapons, ammunition and certain weapon parts and accessories,” Ford said. “Current wait times range from three-to-15 months, depending upon the item.” 

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