Product supply chain struggles to meet demand again

If you’ve noticed that your usual staples aren’t available at your local grocer, you can’t imagine it – there’s a growing shortage of packets of chicken ketchup with bagels – and according to industry experts , it may get worse.

Random availability of certain items has become so common that some stores, such as Starbucks, posted a notice on the door apologizing for the lack of certain favorite items, saying there was a national shortage.

And it’s not just food affected by the scarcity.

The pressure of the pandemic has affected shipping, demand, supply and many other facets of the global economy.

Currently, hot items – as in, hard to find – were listed as chicken, chlorine, computer chips, gas, wood, and metals, especially steel.

In some areas, the chicken shortage has prompted major food chains to take chicken fillets off the menu due to limited supply.

As summer approaches and temperatures in the Central Valley are already reaching the 90s, a shortage of chlorine is a bad time.

According to media reports, the low supply of chlorine is due to a fire at a chemical plant in Louisiana last August that was damaged by Hurricane Laura, doubling the prices of the existing supply.

The global shortage of computer chips is affecting the markets for cars, smartphones and home appliances. Analysts predict this shortage is expected to last until 2021.

On the gas market, it is the shortage of drivers needed to transport tankers that is clogging up the work. The National Tank Truck Carriers, an industry trade group, reported that there are about 20 to 25 percent of the fleet parked due to a lack of qualified drivers.

What started as a problem before the pandemic turned into a crisis in its own right once COVID-19 hit.

The shortage of lumber negatively affects the construction market; However, there seems to be a glimmer of good news on the horizon, as industry executives ramp up production to catch up with ravenous demand. Prices are expected to drop sharply over the next 18 months, but for now, lumber prices remain excruciatingly high.

Another problem that suppliers face is the anemic workforce that is just starting to return to work. The problems of COVID-19, disease and the lockdown have made it difficult to return to business as usual, especially when new COVID-19 security protocols are required. Companies have had to change the design of their factory in order to meet social distancing guidelines, as well as keep previous safety protocols in mind.

As suppliers scramble to fill the shortfall, analysts warn the shortages could last through 2021.

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