Posted August 5, 2021
A shortage of foam cushion material is affecting construction projects.
Most anyone involved in hotel and resort renovations is painfully aware of COVID-19-related supply chain impacts that have resulted in higher costs and extended lead times for many construction materials. The extreme spike in the price of plywood has been the most often-mentioned example, but other materials ranging from insulation to integrated circuit chips are also in short supply. Notably, that comfortably padded office desk chair may be worth some extra “TLC” because there is also a current nationwide shortage of foam cushion material.
Market depletion of foam cushion began last fall when consumer spending accelerated for household goods, along with other home improvement products, in response to a large portion of the U.S. workforce working from home for at least part of the work week. Retail manufacturers were not prepared for this sharp increase in demand and basic material inventories soon ran scarce. This shortage affected not only home goods, but also hospitality soft goods and mattresses. The nationwide supply of cushion material could have bounced back quickly if not for the devastating winter freeze that hit Texas earlier this year. One of the key chemical ingredients used to manufacture foam material is produced in Texas and production facilities there were shut down for an extended period due to the winter storm. Expectations that foam supply would return to normal levels by now have not been realized.
Manpower has also been in short supply of late. The transportation industry, which affects the lodging sector both directly and indirectly, has been plagued with the same manpower shortages as the hospitality industry, and raw materials are still not getting to the foam manufacturers in sufficient quantities to satisfy the vast demand.
The bottom line is that ordering chairs, couches and mattresses for a soft goods renovation must be planned well in advance. One of The Plasencia Group’s clients’ supplier for soft goods renovation projects is reporting delays in excess of a month for foam supplies. This lag is translating into soft goods delivery of one to two months relative to their normal pre-COVID-19 schedule. The vendor’s outlook is for renovation supply levels to normalize late in the fourth quarter of this year at the very earliest.
If you have a hospitality renovation or new construction project on the horizon and need assistance in planning and executing the work, please contact us. We offer a wide range of resources that can put some cushion back into your next hotel or resort project.