JL Audio said it is air shipping in magnets to alleviate subwoofer and enclosure shortages that have plagued the company for the last few months.
The shortages, caused by better-than-expected demand for JL Audio speakers, should be resolved by the end of summer, said President Andy Oxenhorn.
The company has worked closely with its magnet suppliers to secure a stable supply for the future. Magnets are the key component causing the shortages.
For the short term, JL Audio continues to airship products, although it can cost up to $40 to air freight a magnet for a single woofer, said Oxenhorn.
“Demand out stripped our forecasts and our forecasts were fairly optimistic. We’re scrambling to react as quickly as we can…we’re working almost night and day,” Oxenhorn said.
Sales are up by double digits for the company in speakers across the board.
Shortages in key components including magnets have caused lead times in product delivery to increase industry-wide, said Oxenhorn
“The lead time for key electronic component parts, and even plastic, steel and aluminum have gotten much longer. Lead times for parts have more than doubles. Forecasting and placing orders was normally a 4-5 month exercise, and has now gone to 6 months and in some cases 8-9 months. So you have to be accurate in your forecasts,” he said.
In terms of magnets for car speakers, the last U.S. based magnet producers went out of business about a decade ago, so most of the business moved to China. However, some Chinese factories have diverted their supply to other industries, making availability more difficult, Oxenhorn said.
As for the unexpected demand for its speakers, JL Audio believes there’s been an uptick in demand for the audio segment of car audio at the specialist dealer.