Supply chain issues: How global shortages are affecting consumers nationwide – WCCO
(CBS Baltimore) – The series of steps that take a product to a customer is known as the supply chain. But for the moment, store shelves are partly empty, deliveries are delayed and prices are rising. Bottlenecks at many stages of the process prevent consumers from obtaining products. When the supply chain returns to normal is a puzzle. And the economy is paying the price.
A company’s supply chain can begin with suppliers of raw materials and other inputs. Once a product is manufactured, it travels along the network from the factory to a warehouse to a store and finally to the end customer. Various agents, brokers, salespeople, transportation companies and distribution centers can play a key role throughout the process to ensure that a product is produced and reaches its final destination.
READ MORE: Regina Hospital Family Birthing Center in Hastings to close after more than 67 years
Thanks to a variety of issues, exacerbated by the global COVID pandemic, the supply chain is not acting the way it should. Freighters carrying around half a million shipping containers loaded with cargo from various countries in Asia waiting to be unloaded at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Once unloaded, a shortage of truck drivers prevents these containers from leaving ports in a timely manner. Railway terminals, where trucks deliver goods for the next leg of the journey, are supported by containers awaiting further transport, which in turn also block incoming trains. If these goods somehow make it to a warehouse, labor shortages limit their processing on time.
And these are just a few of the problems.
A global shortage of microchips, exacerbated by Winter storms in Texas which affected domestic production, slows down the production of cars and various electronic devices. China, where many consumer goods for America are produced, suffers from a ongoing energy crisis this reduces manufacturing. And manufacturers in many other countries with lower vaccination rates have suffered closures and worker shortages brought on by the spread of the Delta variant.
READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Will You Get Another Relief Payment?
All of this happened as a shift in spending, brought on by COVID, drastically increased demand for the products. The situation is fluid and will likely remain so during the holiday season and the New Year.
CBS Local has the latest supply chain news from its markets across the country. We update this list frequently, so check back often for the latest news on the situation.
An in-depth look at the supply chain crisis:
An overview of the impact of supply chain issues on consumers across the country:
Supply chain issues lead to limited furnace supply