Pandemic Impacts & Supply Chain Management Issues: A Roundup, Freestyle Solutions


If the term Supply Chain hadn’t been on consumers’ minds in the past, it
definitely is there now.

When it comes to impacts on the supply chain, pandemic-induced problems (and their aftermath) have wreaked havoc on everything we once knew. In fact, the fall out when it comes to supply chain problems proves yet again, the pandemic wasn’t just a threat to our health, but to the world’s economy.

Simply put: through a series of unexpected and completely unforeseen circumstances, the supply of essential materials and finished goods has been disrupted.

But there’s even more. Keep reading to see our Roundup of the best articles we’ve found that cover everything you need to know about supply chains in our current global economic environment.

Supply Chain Management Problems: Cargo Container Conundrums

The unforeseen: In April, we all watched the Suez Canal where Ever Given, a mammoth container ship, became stuck and blocked countless other cargo ships, effectively halting a sizable percentage of the world’s trade.

None of us could have predicted the mayhem and financial costs that ensued, as hundreds of ships could not transit the blocked canal. A timeline of the events, as seen in Timeline: How the Suez Canal Blockage Unfolded Across Supply Chains, shows the intense impact that’s still being felt today. Note the line of waiting ships, topped at a high of 367 vessels, and the shocking fact that Ever Given has only recently been released by the authorities. 

As for the predictable: We look to the shortage – or more accurately stated, the imbalance – of ocean containers. Strictly speaking, there hasn’t really been a reduction in the number of containers worldwide. The inventory is about the same – they’re just in all the wrong places. 

The pandemic caused border closures, interruptions in the manufacturing of goods and shifts in consumer spending. This resulted in congestion at the ports and allowed empty containers to pile up at import centers without being returned to export hubs. The Ever Given running aground only made things worse.  

The effects of all this? 

  • Containers costs rise
  • Shipping schedules delayed
  • Unhappy consumers 

When will it end? Some experts say things will sort themselves out by 2022, but the truth is, this largely depends on continued strong demand and clear sailing, pun intended. 

READ MORE!! For a More In-Depth Analysis, Check Out: A Shipping Container Shortage is Snarling Global Trade

READ MORE!! How Are Global Shippers Solving This? Check Out:  Levi’s Diverts Freight to East Coast Amid ‘Challenge in Long Beach’  

Supply Chain Problems: Trucking Troubles 

In case you’re thinking that all the problems were on the water, sorry, trucking has been impacted as well. And the years-long driver shortage that hasn’t gone away is greatly exasperating the problem, as we see in Supply Chain Dive’s Tight Trucking Capacity Won’t Ease Until Later in 2021.  

Wondering what the general effects on transportation are? What efforts are being made to implement and use technology to offset some of the more pressing current issues? Inbound Logistics covers all that and much more in their detailed article 11 Supply Chain Predictions for 2021.

Supply Chain Problems: More Experts Chime In

No doubt, much more will be said and written about how these challenges will play out through the remainder of the year. 

Lett Direct covers the peril the paper industry is facing. And that means intense stress for the world of catalogs and much more. As they note in their coverage on the issue, paper is in high demand but low supply. Lett Direct wisely details more on the topic (including a rather dismal projection that things won’t be getting significantly better until the end of Q1 2021) in their recent piece: Paper … What in the World is Going On?

BSI Group gives a great overview of what we can most likely expect as the world recovers from pandemic-disruptions that sent waves through every aspect of global supply chains. See more of their analysis in a recent report Regulatory Changes, Food Fraud, and the Ongoing Effects of COVID-19. Their in-depth study finds that these are the primary root causes of supply chain disruptions.

Even the U.S. Government has a viewpoint on COVID-driven supply disruptions. They’ve also got some thoughts on the outcome, as they note in last month’s Why the Pandemic Has Disrupted Supply Chains.

Finally, we saved the best (and most respected) for last. Harvard Business Review weighs in, discussing the incredible challenges supply chains are set to face, in their latest on the pandemic and supply chains. Check out The Challenge of Rebuilding U.S. Domestic Supply Chains to learn more. 

Conclusion

For eCommerce brands struggling with low inventory and an inability to source the products they want to sell, know that this is going to take time and patience to resolve. 

Now on a personal note, I have a new dishwasher on order and have been waiting for weeks, I just hope it gets delivered soon. I am tired of washing dishes, and you can only blame so many things on the Supply Chain. 

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