For most of us, it started with toilet paper. In early spring 2020, still unaware of what was to come, our first tangible signs of the supply chain disruption accompanying the onset of a global pandemic came in the aisles of our supermarkets and big box stores. Toilet paper was flying off what quickly became empty shelves with no additional stock to replace it.
Forget getting your paws on hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol. Even flour and yeast were in short supply. Much of this was due to a shift in where the population ate, worked, and, um, visited the facilities. Commercial sizes, packaging, and logistics didn’t translate well to the home market, creating gluts over here and shortages over there.
But supply chain disruptions quickly spread to all sorts of industries. Used car prices spiked while partially built new cars collected dust waiting for semiconductors. Lumber costs took off as mills slowed down and DIY home improvement projects sped up. Wait times for sofas and gaming systems and a seemingly random array of goods increased significantly.
Our interconnected global economy built on just-in-time inventory strategies simply couldn’t handle the turmoil of a worldwide pandemic. More than 18 months later, we’re still feeling those shockwaves.
This impact presents an ongoing and very real challenge for MSPs and their clients.
IT’s Supply Chain Troubles
Sourcing any type of product from overseas is a crapshoot these days. Manufacturers are struggling with parts, labor, and even electricity shortages in many Asian countries, each of which can add significant delays to fulfilling orders.
This is compounded by both exponentially more expensive shipping costs – per-container shipping rates from Asia have quintupled during the pandemic to more than $20,000 each – and major delays at Pacific ports, where ships often idle for days before they can unload their wares. And don’t forget that time a ship went sideways and shut down the Suez Canal for days.
Add that all up and items that used to show up reliably in a couple of weeks might now take a few months or more, while domestic inventories are depleted in the interim. It’s simply no longer a safe bet that anything manufactured overseas – or relying on parts made overseas – will be in stock now or anytime soon.
Read the complete article on Channel Futures.