As if a worker shortage was not enough of an issue for companies to deal with, now supply chain has risen to the top.
Electronics (chips) used in everything from phones to vehicles to computers have seen demand far exceed capacity.
Lumber has seen a huge increase in demand for new commercial and residential construction and renovation.
For PlastiCert, many resins and composites have become scarce and seen price increases. (We foresaw this happening and took steps to mitigate exposure.)
Other commodities that are experiencing shortages include, chlorine, gasoline, aluminum, oxygen.
Many end products are experiencing widespread shortage or scarcity including, (as stated above) cars/trucks & specifically rental cars, chicken wings, bacon & hotdogs, bicycles, and dog food.
Shipping containers are scarce because of all the overseas products we are buying (or trying to buy). Shipping containers themselves are of course made overseas so adding more of them into the chain will take some time (as all things coming from offshore)
Many shortages are a result of the pandemic. Either directly, oxygen (due to hospitalizations) and bacon & hotdogs (more cooking at home, outside). Many shortages are indirect results of the pandemic, e.g., gasoline due to a lack of semi-truck drivers; dog food due to stay-at-home people adopting dogs in record numbers.
The result of all this highlights the lack of attention to supply chain management or paying heed to requests to qualify multiple sources when developing and releasing new products.
As a former Supply Chain Quality Engineer, (LONG ago), it was routine to specify multiple sources. A staple of all product design projects. Now, perhaps with some product lifecycles being so short, it is rarely exercised or addressed. Volatility in the supply chain system can be attributed to a lack of; weather hardening, capital investment, resource planning (material and manpower) as well as allowing finite geographical footprint or sole sourcing exclusivity, to come into play. All issues a Supply Chain Management effort will recognize and highlight.
We here at PlastiCert have been asking customers to approve multiple resins for quite some time. Sometimes it is done. Most of the time, the project timeline, testing cost, and other reasons get in the way of specifying alternate resins. PlastiCert has seen a 50+% increase YOY in business and internally we have handled it quite well. Our headaches have come from materials shortages due to allocation and a lack of an approved second source to turn to in times like this.
Perhaps the current state of disarray for numerous commodity supply chains will generate action on, geographic sourcing issues, capital improvement issues, weatherization, and risk management issues. More importantly, OEMs paying attention to and managing potential supply chain issues.
As well as approving multiple component sources when you develop your product.