By: John Fernandez | CRP, GMS, SSB

March 8, 2022

Pricing on these products could affect relocation

It can be more complicated than just hiring a moving company to ship their household goods when relocating an employee. Many factors need to be taken into consideration when getting a transferee to their new destination. One of the significant factors to think about is the cost of living difference between their current home and the new destination. When certain products or materials are harder to get or are experiencing pricing increases, it can place additional pressure on the employee and jeopardize the relocation. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there have been supply chain issues and shipping delays around the world. Some products are back-ordered for months at a time, ultimately increasing prices on many products, further complicated by lack of manufacturing productivity. This can affect those moving for a new job through increased prices on common cost of living items such as food and fuel, potentially increasing employees’ wage requirements. While companies can’t always raise salary expectations right away, keeping the cost of living changes in mind when sending the employee an offer letter is recommended. 

If your company relocates employees, these four product shortages might affect their lives in their new destination:

Food Costs

This one probably hits close to home for a lot of people. With grocery stores also having labor challenges and with problems in food production, grocery prices may stay higher than usual in 2022. COVID-19 and its variants upended operations in food manufacturing plants around the world. As workers called in sick or day-to-day production policies had to be changed to keep workers safe, many fell behind in their order fulfillment and still have not caught up yet. Food product shortages are also due to the trucker driver shortage that the US and Canada are experiencing right now. 

When you look at the difference in food costs from city to city, that alone creates a cost of living increase or decrease. Typically, groceries are more expensive in high-end markets such as San Fransico, CA than in Topeka, KS. The addition of product shortages and shipping problems adds to the total price for someone moving from a mid-sized or small city to a larger one.

Lumber

Lumber prices have soured as of late to the point where homebuilders are increasing prices in an attempt to offset the demand. Many lumber mills were forced to shut down during the pandemic due to safety concerns. Then when the mills reopened, they were already behind in producing enough lumber to fulfill the extreme housing market needs. The real estate trends in calls for lumber were not just new-build homes either. As many workers started working from home and mortgage rates dropped to new lows, there was a rise in home remodeling

Many people might not realize that the price of wood also impacts moving supplies such as paper and cardboard. Lumber prices for the shipping industry also impact items such as shipping crates and pallets, which are produced for moving companies. Increases in material prices are naturally passed along to the end-customers who are moving.

Furniture

Always known as the “hidden cost of moving,” buying furniture for a new home is something that most people don’t calculate when making offers on houses. The furniture industry saw a boom when work from home became the new normal for many workers. People were more likely to spend more updating their furniture in order to be comfortable while spending most of their days from home. Because many U.S. furniture parts come from China, the global shipping container shortage has delayed many shipments that have some furniture companies months behind on orders. Once again, because of all the issues with shipping containers, the furniture industry can only ship out so many sets each month.

Semiconductors

Demand for computer chips has naturally lowered supply. Many companies are shifting their workforce remotely, meaning more laptops and computer products are needed for employees working from home. Semiconductor manufacturers are trying to ramp up production, but with sky-high demand, it is hard to see them catching up to the curve before the end of 2022. 

Additionally, semiconductors are used in vast swathes of products these days, including vehicles. Near the onset of the pandemic, rental car companies sold perceived excesses in their fleets. Demand surprisingly skyrocketed, but due to shortages in semiconductors, vehicle manufacturers couldn’t keep up with rental fleet production demand which, in turn, caused shortages of rental vehicles. This has caused significant increases in rental car costs for employees who are relocating and need temporary transportation while traveling.

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At Global Mobility Solutions (GMS) we take pride in being the industry leader for providing global mobility services. Our team assists companies in relocating employees and providing benchmarking studies specific to our clients’ industries. We also keep our customers on top of industry trends in relocation, real estate, transportation, and more. Fill out the form below to receive courtesy information on your particular industry today!

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Executive Vice President John oversees global operations, marketing, business development as well as reporting and analytics. John’s 23 years of mobility experience include excellence in varied positions such as Relocation Counselor, International Assignment Manager, Manager of Latin American Operations, Director of International Operations, Global Account Executive, Vice President of Sales and Vice President of Global Services. The depth of John’s mobility experience also includes multiple assignments and domestic relocations of his own. He has lived and conducted business around the globe and speaks multiple languages.

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