A Supply Chain is a network or system between a company and its suppliers to produce and distribute a specific product or service. The functions in a Supply Chain include: product development, marketing operations, distribution, finance and customer service.
The network works efficiently when each step in the supply chain operates at an optimal level. When one or more functions operate inefficiently, delays in the time it takes for a consumer to have access to a product or service develop.
While the world has begun to recover from the economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, the delayed reaction has been felt in the supply chain. Industrial shutdowns around the world slowed production to a relative crawl, leaving many businesses struggling to meet consumer demands, both during lockdowns and since.1
Challenges continue, even as manufacturing picks up, with worker shortages and a fight to locate the materials needed for production complicating the struggle. President Biden worked an agreement with the port of Los Angeles in recent weeks to operate 24 hours a day, which has helped reduce the number of container ships offshore to 58 from a peak of 73.2
What does this mean for American consumers? For one, some items that are normally manufactured overseas may be harder to find in stock for the next few months. While that means some household necessities, that extends to items like consumer electronics, toys, and other items that make up a large portion of our holiday purchases.
Yes, we all complain about how the holidays seem to come earlier every year, but in this case, it’s a good thing to bear in mind. If you can, it’s a good idea to prepare for the holidays early. It may take some time before the supply chain is back to normal, as we have grown accustomed to.
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1. CNBC.com, October 18, 2021
Gridlock in the Supply Chain
October 26, 2021