Earlier this year, we made our customers aware of the global semiconductor chip crisis and noted the effect it is currently having on our ability to meet the demand for Non Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) vehicles. (https://www.sunsetvans.com/chip-shortage/).
Semiconductor chips manage the control of current in electronic devices and equipment and are used in communication devices, computers, vehicles, healthcare, and many other applications. As lockdowns ensued in the midst of COVID 19, auto manufacturers cut their orders for chips while demand increased for laptops, game consoles, and other electronics. When automakers resumed day-to-day activities, the chip makers could not meet the demand and manufacturers quickly used their remaining inventory. This has resulted in a continuation of the unprecedented chip shortage which has pitted companies like ours against huge technology companies as they fight for available chips from suppliers.
With technology companies being the largest purchasers of chips in the world, this is a battle that small businesses in need of these vans are losing. Vehicle manufacturers have chosen to sell their available inventory to huge clients like Amazon, making it practically impossible for smaller companies like ours to produce wheelchair accessible vehicles. Major van manufacturers continually boast in their accessible van offerings and claims to prioritize the service of companies like Sunset Vans, among others, but their recent actions show that they do not prioritize meeting the needs of people with disabilities who rely on the life-saving services these vehicles provide.
At this time, the major OEM manufacturers have made it next to impossible for us to obtain vans. This has resulted in a huge backlog of customers that need these vehicles to serve their clientele. Actions like this by large auto manufacturers will only continue to exacerbate the shortage of NEMT vehicles not only for our customers but also for others in need.
Unfortunately, Sunset Vans and its customers are not exempt from the harsh reality of these actions by auto manufacturers as it will further extend the shortage of NEMT vehicles available to the market. “We understand that the chip shortage has impacted the entire auto industry, but for our segment, non-emergency medical transportation, it has been especially devastating,” said President of A-Always Enterprises, Christina Bullock. “The lack of available vehicles to purchase and operate makes it incredibly difficult to meet the growing demands of getting wheelchair-bound patients to their necessary medical appointments”
Josephine Jose, the owner of Sunrise Medical Transportation, also shared how the current vehicle shortage is affecting those in need of specialized transportation. “Sunrise Medical Transportation has been receiving more and more requests to transport both wheelchair and gurney patients to dialysis and critical doctor’s appointments but we’ve had to turn down a significant number of requests recently,” said Jose. “We are simply pushed to our maximum capacity due to not being able to purchase and add additional vehicles to our fleet to transport these patients. We fear that this situation will become worse and worse until we have access to the tools needed, which are wheelchair and gurney accessible vans, to get these people where they critically need to be”;
Our country’s leaders are currently working to incentivize chip makers to bring their factories to the U.S. by offering them subsidies, but there is currently no predictable end in sight for the shortage.
At Sunset Vans, our goal has always been to provide wheelchair vans, gurney vans, and other specialized vehicles to our customers that meet their needs in a way that far exceeds the industry’s standards. This will not change as we push forward. We are currently doing everything in our power to meet the current demand and care for our customers. Our hope is that van manufacturers will choose to do what is right for their customers and those that are in need of NEMT vehicles to be made a priority.
If you are in need of a vehicle, we strongly encourage you to join our waitlist by clicking the buttons below.