A Note from Todd Milner - AAA National
Due to COVID-19 impacts, AAA National — in partnership with our battery distributors and approved battery manufacturers — forecasted earlier this year, a significant near-term increase in demand for AAA branded batteries. This prediction proved to be remarkably accurate as we witnessed a surge in Battery Service calls, which resulted in product demand that soared as high as 50% more than 2019 (April – June). In conjunction with increasing demand, all approved battery manufacturers experienced production impacts due to plant closures earlier this year. As of today, they continue to operate under COVID-19-related adjustments, which has limited manufacturing output. This situation has forced East Penn Manufacturing and Clarios to look globally for additional supply from other manufacturers to meet customer orders.
The AAA National Office took the following steps earlier this year in order to minimize shortages of AAA branded product to the service provider network:
- Conducted, and continues to oversee, product quality testing of batteries from alternate battery manufacturers necessary to approve branding and distribution of supplemental supply to the AAA network.
- Approved a temporary exemption to the rotation requirement until March 31, 2021, allowing battery rotations up to 270 days (nine months) from the date of formation. Based on current demand trends, it is unlikely the product will remain unused past the 150-day rotation requirement. However, the extension allows AAA battery suppliers the flexibility to increase purchasing and work toward rebuilding depleted inventories.
With demand trends outpacing supply, AAA approved battery manufacturers continue to experience backorders and they are forecasting these will persist late into the first quarter of 2021.
AAA National, our battery manufacturers and distributors are deeply committed to addressing shortages to Providers, and ensuring Clubs continue to meet the needs of Members.
As we close out this challenging year, I would like to recognize and commend our Preferred Supplier, Club Assist, for the extraordinary efforts taken this year to continue to supply product and minimize shortages to the AAA network.
- Todd Milner, AAA National