When you’re on vacation in Hawaii, a little uncertainty doesn’t kink things up too much. When you’re still trying to navigate a pandemic, though, sufficient predictability translates to survival.
That’s true right now for both customers and business owners alike, with both groups looking at the supply chain and wondering what will be affordable and available.
Although nobody has a perfectly clear crystal ball for the future, there are clues about what we might see over the next few months. Here’s a look at what to expect.
To understand where we’re going with the supply chain, we first have to grasp where we started. Much of the issue ties to the production of microchips, which you’ll find in everything from computers to your washing machine. Even before the pandemic, a soup of factors (political embargos, the rise of 5G and differences in costs for different sizes of silicon wafers) had chip manufacturers struggling.
Then, the pandemic hit. Suddenly, people were home and bored, and they needed to work remotely, too. That drove up the consumer demand not just for microchip-dependent technology products like laptops but also for other goods people wanted, like desks and fitness gear.
Companies simply couldn’t get the chips they needed as easily, whether those chips went into the companies’ manufacturing tools or products. Prices started skyrocketing.
This situation would have been chaotic enough, but then psychology and labor shortages created even worse kinks. Company leaders saw there was a shortage of items across the board. Scared they’d come up short with inventory, upset customers and lose money, they started overbuying to guarantee production could go on.
The only trouble was that everybody overbought. Demand soared even higher, all while workers caught the COVID-19 virus and had to duck out of shifts. Businesses began to…
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