布莱克FONTENAY | 每日孟斐斯的
在COVID-19大流行初期, people flocked to grocery stores to stock up on toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other household items they suspected might soon be in scarce supply.
The Great Charmin Famine of 2020 never fully materialized. 然而, for months the pandemic and other factors have disrupted the supply chains businesses use to get their products into market.
This problem is affecting consumers in a number of different ways: People buying refrigerators or other large household appliances might have to wait months instead of weeks for delivery orders. Those shopping for new cars might have not be able to find their preferred models on showroom floors. Buyers of new homes might experience sticker shock over the high cost of lumber and other building materials.
“It is the most out-of-balance situation I’ve seen in 30 years of being in this business,萨蒂什·金德尔说, SJ咨询集团总裁., a Pennsylvania-based company that provides information services for the shipping industry.
简单地说, what is out of balance is the relationship between supply and demand, one of the most basic concepts taught in introductory economics classes.
Demand for products is high, particularly as the economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic. And supply, for a variety of reasons, is struggling to keep pace.
Doug会话, 孟菲斯梅赛德斯-奔驰的总经理, said his dealership is selling cars on pre-order because of a lack of available inventory to show customers.
对于汽车经销商, one of the factors disrupting the supply chain was a fire in 3月 at a Japanese manufacturing plant that produces about 30% of the microcontroller units used in vehicles worldwide. 那 fire is expected to disrupt production for much of the summer, if not longer.
Other industries are experiencing problems for different reasons.
When the pandemic forced communities into lockdowns, the market for new home construction dried up. 锁定限制结束时, 对新住房有被压抑的需求, 是什么推动了建筑热潮.
那, 反过来, 是否使木材更难获得, a problem felt by everyone from professional contractors to do-it-yourselfers who want to repair their decks or build summer treehouses for their kids.
Jim Whittington, owner of Jimmy Whittington Lumber Co., said his business has been able to manage its inventory through long-term contracts for lumber and plywood. 该公司还拥有自己的拖拉机拖车, which it can use to pick up wood from sawmills in the region.
“The biggest issue our industry has been having is with trucking,” Whittington said. “It’s a backlog of not just lumber, but all building materials.”
伍德森Dunavant要, senior vice president of enterprise business development and marketing for Dunavant Logistics, said many truck drivers have chosen to take better-paying jobs. 那 means there are fewer trucks available to offload goods arriving at ports like those in Los Angeles and Long Beach, 加州.
Those delays create a domino effect throughout supply chains.
“这是一个真正的瓶颈，”Dunavant说. “Companies are having a lot of trouble moving products around.”
还有其他一些问题导致了经济放缓, such as lack of availability of large shipping containers in Asia and shortages of wheeled chassis used to transport those containers over land once they reach America.
“It feels like this is a new normal we’re in,” Dunavant said. “We haven’t seen a reduction in freight rates in six months.”
Inventory management has also been tougher for manufacturers and retailers due to uncertainty created by the pandemic. 消费者仍然想要购买产品, 但在某些情况下, their buying habits have shifted from visiting bricks-and-mortar stores to ordering online.
格雷格·科斯塔，达美物资处理公司总裁., said some manufacturers shut down or severely scaled back their operations when the pandemic hit. Now those manufacturers are trying to ramp production back up to meet demand, 但这是一个需要时间的过程.
“Nobody knew what was going to happen” when the pandemic hit, Costa said. “We rebounded more quickly than many people anticipated.”
Costa said the worker shortage isn’t limited to truck drivers. His company rents forklifts and other warehouse equipment, but some companies are having trouble finding employees willing and able to operate that type of equipment.
“The demand for employees is extremely strong,” Costa said.
Jindel, 航运业顾问, said action taken by Congress to ease the effects of the pandemic have contributed to the supply chain problems in two ways.
For one, by issuing stimulus checks, Jindel said Congress encouraged more consumer spending. 同时, 然而, Congress agreed to continue enhanced unemployment benefits through 9月, which Jindel said has created a disincentive for people to return to work.
这不仅适用于卡车或叉车司机, but package handlers and other workers needed to keep supply chains strong.
“如果人们坐在家里每小时能赚15美元, 为什么他们愿意为了12美元去工作, 每小时13或14美元?”Jindel说.
Until that imbalance between supply and demand is corrected, Jindel said consumers can expect higher shipping costs and delivery delays for the foreseeable future.
“There is no relief from it, in my view, until next year or 2023,”Jindel说.