Denver toy maker faces supply chain crisis firsthand

DENVER – The holidays mean a big deal for the toy industry, but this year there is uncertainty despite President Joe Biden’s announcement of 24-hour operations at the Port of Los Angeles in the goal help unblock the blockage in the supply chain.

Over the past six to seven months, Ed O’Brien, the founder of B4Adventure, estimates that he has lost around $ 1 million in profits due to the supply chain bottleneck. The loss of revenue was a combination of soaring container prices, product delay and lost sales, which resulted in layoffs.

“Before, containers used to cost us $ 6,500 to get a container from China to Denver. Now it’s costing us $ 30,000, ”said O’Brien. “Before, it took 30 days to ship a product from China to Denver. Now it takes three to five months.

B4Adventure developers create toys and order their products from China. The company sells to big companies like Target, Costco, and Dicks Sporting Goods, which means orders and prices are set months in advance.

“Some retailers understand the delay and still need the inventory. Some of them were seasonal so you can’t really fit in that window so we lost some orders, ”said O’Brien.

Several shelves were empty in one of the three warehouses located in Denver. O’Brien said at this time of year every shelf is stocked for the holidays. The company has a shortage of selected products and an overstock of other toys.

On Wednesday, Biden announced 24-hour operations at the Port of LA, one of the busiest ports in the country. This move aims to alleviate supply chain issues. Target, Walmart, and other major retailers will expand their overnight operations to help meet delivery needs.

As the effort creates hope for some business owners, Jack Buffington, an assistant professor at the University of Denver in the department of supply chain management, called the move a “band-aid solution.”

“Any sort of short-term cure is just gradual,” Buffington said. “This is going to fix some issues at the port of origin, but you still have the same problem in the US port being congested, and you still need truck drivers to get to the store.”

He said port officials are doing their best and must continue to honor labor contracts.

O’Brien said he wished the President had acted on the issue sooner, but said he was grateful something was done.

“I hope this will speed up the inventory that we thought maybe was here”

The toy company plans to hold a warehouse sale on October 22 and 23 to make up for lost profits.

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