Well, I didn’t expect this…

It appears there is also a ‘significant’ issue with lube oil…

Donegal, PA.  It’s where they store salt, plows, and vehicles for maintenance of the PA Turnpike.
Last week they got a delivery of P.O.L. for their trucks.  Delivery man said “Make it last.  Don’t know when we’ll have more.”
Seems an “ingredient” of the lubricating oil is in short supply and when it becomes available again “it’s gonna cost an arm and a leg.”
As it turns out, apparently the ‘issues’ is additives…
Initially, COVID-19 shut down non-essential manufacturing and travel, greatly reducing finished lubricants demand and, consequently, additive demand. This was softened by lubricants marketers continuing to blend finished product and fill their warehouses in the event that their plants were also shut down. helped ease some of the impacts of shutdowns and restrictions faced by additive manufacturers, but it also threw off their forecasting.
Full article, HERE, from Kline. Also a pretty damning article on JIT, HERE, from the Union of the European Lubricants Industry.
Just In Time (JIT) shipping works well when everything is flowing smoothly. When it’s not… well, there are ‘few’ issues… When you stack 50+ ships off LA harbor, or things like the Evergiven shuts down the Suez Canal, or plants closing due to the WuFlu…
That kinda puts paid to JIT. The simple fact is, be lessening their on hand inventory, companies make money by not having to rent warehouse space, storage, etc. Walmart is famous for using JIT for its stores, famously have computer systems that automatically place orders with regional warehouses on a daily basis, based on sales in the stores. That is why you see so many Walmart trucks on the road. And their regional warehouses are HUGE!
But their stores only have enough storage for basically product on hand plus something like 10% of consumable product. Everything else comes from the warehouses.
As long as the warehouses have it…
Like building products, ammunition, and now gasoline, apparently lube oil is also going to be an issue going forward. Better hope your vehicles/tractors/mowers, etc. don’t have problems for a while.


Well, I didn’t expect this… — 14 Comments

  1. And people say I am foolish for having at least two oil changes worth of supplies as well as 5 fuel fill-ups for each vehicle….
    Since “they” won’t stock, I do.

  2. Would the supply shortage have anything to do with the massive fire at a Lubrizol plant in northern Illinois?

  3. None of this is surprising. Even when things are running smoothly JIT can easily become a “sorry, were going to be late.” Phone call to the customer.
    Some excess supply/redundancy is a must.

  4. Oh yeah. I was a trucker, and I’m going back to it in a couple of weeks. JIT is terrible. The only reason we didn’t lose everything last year is that there are a whole bunch of redundancies in our supply chain that took up the slack, but that’s basically tapped out at this point.
    It’s bad practice, and basically everyone doing the actual deliveries knows it, but not much we can do about it.

  5. Even worse than JIT for consumer goods is when an industry with huge lead times, like the electric transmission industry, goes JIT. Those pole-mounted transformers? About a half to a year to make, once the order goes in.

    Our local utility went all ‘minimal stock, maximum JIT’ right before the 2004 hurricane season, where we got hit by 2 hurricanes and 1 tropical storm in a two month period. The linemen were going into swamps to recover lines blown down as they couldn’t get enough new line to replace the old ones, and had to pay big time for other people’s used and surplus and new inventory of transformers.


    Also a problem of JIT is idiot manufacturing decisions. Worked at a battery manufacturer and we had the Makita cordless battery pack contract. The mold that made the battery pack was an 8 unit mold. Then it was a 7 unit as one section died, then 6, then 5 and so on. They kept using it when it got down to 3 units, without ordering a new one because it would take too long and cost too much. And, yes, Makita found out and went elsewhere. Dumbasses.

  6. B- Yep!

    Jim Bob- I believe so…

    Jet/WSF- Oh yeah… Witness the car dealers right now…

    HD- Stay safe out there!

    Beans- Exactly on point. And yes, stupid for NOT ordering a new unit!!!

  7. But what was the cause of switching to JIT inventory and asset management?

    Inventory Taxes, Property Taxes and Franchise Taxes.

    The stupidest taxes imposed by a greedy and stupid government.
    If you don’t have it on hand, you aren’t taxed on it every year. If there are screw ups in the economy, it is invariably caused by government.
    Put the blame where it belongs.

    • VERY well put, Stuart! JIT is OK in good times, but when something, anything, disrupts some link in the supply chain, everybody suffers.

      Could be a truckers strike, a longshoreman’s strike, a hurricane, road closure, whatever. If there’s no input to the factories, there’s no output.

      Glad I have a solid “ready supply” of oil, filters, and lubes.

  8. NOBODY EXPECTS the (insert evil group here).
    For your selection, 1) The Spanish Inquisition, courtesy of Monty Python, Ltd. 2)The Ravening Horde. 3) The Russian Army. 4) The Ruritanian Army. 5) Enemy of their Choice.(I’m leaving now.)
    I’m leaving now. And no, I hjaven’t been drining…

  9. All part of the plan.

    You’ll OWN NOTHING and like it.
    You’ll GO NOWHERE and like it.
    You’ll STARVE and like it.

  10. Fritz- Agreed.

    Dan- Possibly, or it got totally out of hand and they have NO idea what to do now…