Buy early, don’t get bogged down when what you need isn’t available, and try to shop locally – that’s the advice from Athens business owners who can cope with a tangled global supply chain.
âThis is the first of many times we’ve asked you to buy your Christmas gifts early (and be flexible in suggesting alternative options if the first book you’re looking for isn’t available at your local bookstore). â Avid Bookshop owner Janet Geddis wrote on the store’s Facebook page. “We thought last year’s supply chain hiccups were bad, but this year it’s much, much worse.”
Lori Lord, owner of Promotional Marketing Services, also advises her clients to plan a year in advance. Your company sells bespoke branded corporate marketing products – freebies like pens and magnets distributed at corporate events or large family gatherings, and the umbrella you could get at a golf tournament. Lord’s entire industry is suffering from “severe” product shortages, she said. Production times, which used to be seven to ten days, are now three to four weeks.
The breakdown in the supply chain affects not only delivery times but prices as well, she said. Shipping costs from China, where many of Lord Markets’ items are made (as well as many of the books in US bookstores), have skyrocketed, and the prices of some raw materials have also increased due to real or artificial shortages. “Plan six to twelve months in advance,” said Lord. “Be patient and flexible”
Avid and Promotional Marketing Services are nowhere near the only companies caught in the broken global retail network. Restaurants had to deal with sporadic shortages of hot sauce, cucumber and chicken wings New York Times reported last month. The cost of wood for a 2,000-square-foot home jumped from $ 7,000 before the pandemic to $ 27,000 this spring, although wood prices have fallen slightly since May, according to a June 17 report from the White House.
Thanks in part to the surge in online shopping that came with the spread of COVID-19 and the COVID lockdowns that made Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos even richer, there is a shortage of corrugated cardboard – the stuff that Liquor boxes and Amazon shipping boxes exist. This means that Frank Cortese, owner of Little Italy, can no longer count on a fast delivery if he orders more pizza boxes, which are also made of corrugated cardboard. âWhen you place your order, you don’t know when you will get it,â he said.
To compensate, Cortese places larger orders to make sure he doesn’t have to wait for the next delivery. He also pays more for boxes, plastic cups, and other supplies. “Everything has doubled in price,” he said. “It affects everyone, that’s for sure.”
A classic car enthusiast, Cortese had to wait a month and a half to get a carburetor for his 1968 Chevelle, he said. Some types of auto parts are hard to find, said Bryan Berrong, owner of Masters Garage. This is especially true if the part is a computer chip. Automakers and several other types of businesses cut their chip orders over the past year to anticipate an economic downturn as the COVID spreads.
Thanks in large part to expanded federal unemployment benefits and business aid, US consumer demand rose, rather than falling. According to a report dated Jan. whitehouse.gov Announcement of the formation of a “Supply Chain Disruption Task Force”.
But without enough chips, automakers can’t build cars. This has resulted in higher new car prices and unprecedented price tags for used cars. The price for a one year old used car has, according to information, “reached parity” with the new car prices Consumer reports: You pay just as much for a one-year vehicle as for a new one. Meanwhile, the automakers are reducing their production. Toyota announced last month it would cut production by 40% in September.
Although “significant,” the supply problems are “likely temporary,” according to the June White House report. However, three months later, no one is predicting a quick turnaround. The crisis could actually deepen. Some analysts believe the growl will last not just into next year but into 2023, Bloomberg reported last week.
Several factors have come together to create “a perfect storm,” said Marissa Chastain, sales director for the Athens Chamber of Commerce. âFor example, a truck driver shortage, built long before COVID, has filled up warehouses in Chicago, and because Chicago is a central hub for rail traffic, there is no room for the goods that are still in busy ports like this Arrive Long Beach. Los Angeles complex where there aren’t enough dock workers to handle the record number of incoming ships, âshe said.
Greed also played a role. Container shippers are well on their way to net income of $ 100 billion this year, up from about $ 15 billion in 2020, Bloomberg reported. According to one report, shipping from China has become so lucrative that shippers are actually returning from US ports with a load of empty containers instead of waiting to fill them with US goods for export – one of the factors leading to a global shortage of shipping containers.
Some economists say the disruption could lead to decreased world trade, less reliance on just-in-time manufacturing, more reliance on local or regional utility networks, and more domestic production of essentials. The Biden government has promised to boost domestic computer chip production.
Lord is one who wants to rely less on international trade. “We tried very hard to find products from the USA,” she said.
Do you like what you’ve just read? Support Flagpole with a donation today. Every dollar you give helps fund our ongoing mission to provide Athens with quality and independent journalism.