Most notable supply chain bottlenecks of 2021
Supply chain problems seemed inevitable in 2021. From the Ever Given ship that blocked the Suez Canal and cost billions, to the surging traffic jams in ports around the world, supply chain bottlenecks have made headlines throughout the year.
Many factors have contributed to the tensions in the global supply chain, including production cuts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, increased demand for goods and labor shortages which have exacerbated slowdowns in ports and in the transport sector. Almost every retailer and large business in the world has had to deal with supply issues in one form or another this year.
Here are some examples of shortages that we have seen emerge until 2021.
Costco, one of North America’s largest retailers, was not immune to supply chain issues in 2021. Following COVID-19 disruptions, port congestion and From a shortage of truck drivers, Costco has placed purchase limits on several items, including toilet paper, paper towels, high-demand cleaning supplies, and water bottles – some of the items that people were buying en masse from the first days of the pandemic.
The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) warned in December that transportation problems and changing consumer demand were causing shortages of some products. Nick Nanos, supply chain manager for the provincial crown corporation, told The Canadian Press that imported products are more likely to be affected, including certain champagnes, wines from New Zealand, Australia and from South America, as well as tequila and scotch.
Wooden pallets are a small, but essential, part of the supply chain, allowing shippers to stack, store and move large amounts of goods at a time. But soaring lumber prices, increased demand for logistics and a continued labor shortage have resulted in a decrease in the supply of wooden pallets and a surge in prices. A joint statement from North American food industry groups warned in November that the pallet shortage was having a significant impact on the industry and could lead to further shortages and rising costs. According to the Canadian Wood Pallets and Containers Association, wood pallets and packaging carry 90 percent of the goods purchased by Canadian consumers every day, including food and medical supplies. “Without wood packaging, supply chains come to a halt,” the group said.
Many clothing retailers have felt the impacts of production shutdowns in Vietnam over the summer due to COVID-19. Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Haynes warned analysts in August that he was having difficulty filling orders for dresses and stockings due to the shutdown of manufacturing in Vietnam. Nike has lost 10 weeks of production in the country, where nearly half of all its shoes are made, prompting the company to warn that holiday and spring production could be delayed.
And things might not get any easier. Reuters reported that Vietnam will fail in its clothing exports this year due to the pandemic and a labor shortage.
“The last three months of this year will be an extremely difficult time for the Vietnamese textile and clothing industry,” the government said in a statement.
Shades of blue
This year, the Dutch paint manufacturer Akzo Nobel NV found itself in a situation that its managing director Thierry Vanlancker called “complete chaos” – the company lacked the necessary ingredients to make certain shades of the color blue. “There is a base shade that is extremely difficult to achieve,” Vanlancker told Bloomberg in October. The company also had difficulty in sourcing the materials needed to manufacture metal cans. He expects the shortages to persist until mid-2022.
First, New York City bagel stores noticed that cream cheese was getting harder and harder to find. Then the holiday bakers struggled to find the ingredient. The cream cheese shortage of 2021 has gotten to the point where Kraft Heinz has decided to launch a marketing campaign offering $ 20 to thousands of customers unable to make cream cheese desserts this holiday season.
The shortage of cream cheese was due in part to high demand, supply chain issues, as well as a cyberattack on America’s largest cheese maker, according to Bloomberg.
This year, reports began to circulate about hot sauce shortages at Taco Bell stores. The company confirmed in a statement to Fox Business that “due to domestic transportation delays in most areas of the industry, we may be temporarily running out of certain items.” The chain also posted a note on its website, warning customers it could run out of items due to ingredient shortages and delivery delays.
Alicja Siekierska is a Senior Journalist at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on twitter @alicjawithaj.
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